Neptune and the other three goddesses from Gamesindustri are back in a brand new action RPG to celebrate Hyperdimension Neptunia’s 10th anniversary. This time around the characters are transported to Virtualand where they are asked to help save all of the nearby worlds from the nasty villains, called Antis. The story aims to parody sites like YouTube and Twitter, it’s silly and convoluted at times but entertaining in its own way.
What makes Neptunia Virtual Stars unique is that the four goddesses will get to join up with V-tubers from our own world. In case you weren’t aware (and this author definitely wasn’t) V-tubers are basically YouTubers who appear online using a computer generated avatar, usually in the form of a cute anime-style girl. There are a lot of different V-tubers that you’ll get to see, although many of them don’t get any role in the story but will just be shown during loading screens or on TVs playing in the background of dungeons.
When exploring each dungeon you’ll get to freely switch control between the four goddesses as well as four V-tubers, even in the midst of battle. All of them handle a little differently, with the Gamesindustri ladies having guns to mow down the enemies, whereas the V-tubers are more hack-and-slash.
Getting up close to enemies feels quite clunky and pulling off combos and special attacks doesn’t feel as satisfying as it should do. The long range attacks you get with the Goddesses are easier to use but they make combat feel a little too easy. The game also feels overly generous with drop rates from enemies, leaving you swimming in healing items which you can use at any time with no cooldown. Even in boss fights, health crystals will regularly drop so you rarely feel in any danger.
There are plenty of side-quest related activities for you to engage in; whether that’s requests from citizens, rescuing V-tubers, or rhythm-based mini-games to indulge in. The problem is that many of these activities feel repetitive and boring, and the rewards you get feel a little pointless. You’re already given plenty of money and healing items so there is very limited incentive to do any of them.
While Neptune and her friends are just as enthusiastic and charming as ever, both the gameplay and story feels a little stale. It’s great that the developer has managed to seamlessly blend together real V-tubers with the ladies from Gamesindustri, but it’s a real shame that there’s nothing else that lifts this game above average.