There are plenty of Japanese games which fall into the stereotype of the “bizarre Japanese” realm. I’ve seen them all; button bashers to make a squid explode, fighting games involving school girl ninjas obsessed with their underwear, and life simulators which involve entering another dimension via a TV. Akiba’s Trip falls straight into the same category as all of these.
Players assume the role of a young man who is lured into applying for a new job (the payment being rare figurines, as in every otaku’s fantasy) with a company which turns out to be ran by evil vampires AKA “Synthisters”. The player is then turned into a Synthister but saved by drinking the blood of a Synthister hunter named Shizuku, turning the player into a strange hybrid with the intent of saving Japan’s electric town of Akihabara. The player is then informed that these monsters can be defeated by stripping them of their clothes, exposing their bare skin to daylight, vanquishing them forever.
Players are able to wander the streets of Akihabara, and partake in all the activities one might indulge themselves in, including; visiting maid cafés, buying figurines, trying on new clothes, eating in various restaurants, and loads more. The game has painstakingly recreated Akihabara on a street to street level. While some names of companies have changed for legal reasons, the logos remain the same and feel true to life. I felt incredibly nostalgic going to different areas I’ve been to in the real Akihabara…
Left; Me in front of Akihabara station, Right; Nanashi stood in the same spot
Akiba’s Trip is by no means a perfect game. Many game review websites have criticised it for being a tasteless brawler. But you have to take the game with a pinch of salt. This is by no means a hardcore RPG with immersive battles, it’s a quick, fun, adventure game which offers a huge fan service for people that love the wacky side of Japanese culture. The combat feels very fluid (there’s the occasional annoying camera positioning) and over the top, with the ability to chain “strip combos” allowing the player to strip multiple enemies in quick succession. Players can customise their avatar in a range of outfits and accessories, and can upgrade them back at their secret base, giving the game a bit of variety.
The audio is great as the passive sounds of Akihabara are captured brilliantly. The hustle and bustle of shoppers, and shop keepers shouting “いらっしゃいませ!” feels authentic. There are video billboards which display adverts for various products, shows and artists, one of which I actually watched in Akihabara known as the “Alice Project” which is a nice touch.
If you’re a fan of silliness, modern Japanese culture and want a bit of over the top fun, then this game is perfect for you. Just make sure no one is watching over your shoulder when you have it on, or they might wonder what the hell it is you’re playing…