Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a weird game to review, mostly because it’s a game of two rather distinct halves, one of which is a passable, simplistic dungeon crawler, and the other of which is, quite frankly, downright perverse. I’m no prude, but there are elements here that just seem utterly gratuitous, and wouldn’t have an adverse affect on the game if they simply weren’t there.
The story, in so far as it exists, tells the tale of a nameless rehabilitation officer (that’s you), who must guide the souls of seven young women to the top of a huge tower in hell, so that they may face their judgement. These girls weren’t sinners in life, as they all met their ends too soon, but they were undoubtedly naughty sorts who would have done something bad eventually. Given their proficiency with deadly magic and bladed weapons, they’re probably better off where they are.
As you lead them through the various levels of the tower, you’ll be met with both random encounters and scripted boss battles, while you search for keys to open the door to the next level. It never really gets any more complicated than that, although savagely unfair difficulty spikes that force you to grind levels throw up an illusion of real challenge. Combat is so basic that without such spikes, you’d breeze through every fight.
Every level has at least one “camp” where you can rest, buy healing and revival items, and “motivate” the girls. Now, here’s the thing. As you lead a bunch of wilful teenage delinquents through the dark corridors of Hell, you’d think survival would be motivation enough. Stay here, you die; come with me, you may well live (well, they’re already dead, but you get me). Not so in Criminal Girls 2: Party Favor. These girls need motivating by, among other things, being scrubbed, spanked, or electrocuted. Often in their underwear.
I get that there’s a market for this and that market will argue that it’s harmless and that censorship ruins art. And fair enough if that’s your bag, but this is outright creepy. Rubbing your fingers back and forth on a young girl chained to the ceiling while she whimpers and moans is just weird to me. Clearly I’m not the target audience. In particular, Yurine and Tsukasa are incredibly busty, which adds jiggle physics that at least make it all a bit comedic, but Mizuki looks about 12 years old and somewhere there has to be a line drawn.
It might be more forgiveable if there was a need for it, but there isn’t. Party Favors, as with other Criminal Girls titles, justifies it by allowing you to level the girls up using Motivation, but that’s tosh. It’s really just an excuse to tickle an animated teenage girl for a few minutes. Also, if the gameplay bookended by these moments was more exciting or varied, you could overlook it easier. Sadly, though, it’s not.
You simply run around a map to find a key, then take the key to the exit, then repeat, until you hit a difficulty wall and need to go and grind for ages. You can only take four girls into any fight, though you can swap them out at will, and victory is achieved with nothing more complicated than repeating the same exact moves over and over until one side is dead. There are magic attacks and physical attacks, or you can use healing magic and items, and each girl has her own devastating special move, but there’s no variation to the animations. There are no real tactical nuances, either, you can just spam attacks and items for the most part.
Character models in the dungeon are twee enough, but the environments are horribly dull, and during the static cutscenes it’s your standard Anime affair, complete with distracting bosoms, shy downtrodden expressions, and that one that says every single line with a stupid smile. The plot and dialogue are forgettable, too, which means Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors doesn’t add up to much more than bog standard dungeon crawler with added boobies, and there are way, way better examples out there if that’s what tickles your fancy.
Occasionally accidentally funny
Repetitive combat and savage difficulty spikes