Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is the follow-up to Akiba’s Trip – a 2011 PSP title developed by Acquire Corp, which sadly never got a release outside of its native Japan. The game is a fun brawler boasting light RPG elements, anime style visuals and a quirky sense of humour. It’s a blast to play, but much like Compile Heart’s Monster Monpiece it’s not something you would want to load up in public. As the subtitle suggests, Akiba’s Trip features more shedding of garments than a burlesque club or celebrity selfie. Somehow I suspect that Anita Sarkeesian and her feminist cronies won’t be amused.
The game is set in Akihabara, a geek utopia that caters to shoppers seeking manga stores, video game outlets and cafes serviced by cosplay maids. The nerdy district is presently in a pinch as the populace is being hounded by Synthisters (a vampire race that drains life force instead of blood.) Like most Nosferatu, Synthisters have an aversion to sunlight. Although they can tolerate a small amount of UV rays, they are toast should their entire body get exposed to light. With that in mind protagonist Nanashi and his merry band of Akiba Freedom Fighters set off to strip the evil undead down to their underwear. Administering garlic or brandishing a crucifix may also be effective, but who cares when forced nudity is more fun.
One area in which Akiba’s Trip shines is its faithful recreation of Akihabara. Players familiar with the area have commented that patrolling this virtual representation feels identical to walking through the actual place. Everything from the street layouts and buildings plastered with colourful advertising billboards is authentic. It’s even possible to visit genuine retailers such as K-Books and the Gundam Cafe. Sadly the Akihabara simulation is marred with some technical niggles. Firstly the map is fragmented into small zones that require brief loading screens to traverse. Shame that the developer didn’t opt for making one huge Grand Theft Auto style metropolis. Another issue I had was that pedestrians would frequently materialize out from thin air. Seems like the engine struggles to render NPCs, although I suppose they may be ghosts. That would explain the “undead” reference in the game’s title.
I would describe Akiba’s Trip as a fun button basher. The unchallenging combat consists of nothing more than targeting an opponent’s head, torso or legs until they sustain sufficient damage to disrobe. The action doesn’t get monotonous though, as the skirmishes don’t last long and are interspaced with amusing cut scenes. Anyone concerned about sexism need not fret as the enemies you assault come in both gender varieties. Aiding Nanashi in battle is a selection of beauties that include a quiet vampire, childhood friend, anti-social sister, pop idol and a busty businesswoman. Interacting with your companions increases their affection towards the perverted hero, which ultimately determines what ending you unlock.
My final rating for Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is a four out of five. Looks like we have a new entry for my gaming guilty pleasures list. To anyone concerned about the title’s subject matter I would suggest putting your worries aside and giving the game a go. The combat is so goofy that you cannot take it seriously and the stripping itself doesn’t feel sinister or sexual. Defeated Synthisters simply dissipate into the air whilst human opponents flee in embarrassment after being reduced to their birthday suit. The game isn’t a huge time investment either, as it can be completed in a few short hours. Despite registering a hat trick of completions, I still intend to replay the game to earn more trophies and use the attire I have sequestered to enhance Nanashi’s wardrobe. Ironically playing dress up is one of the main appeals in a game that revolves around stripping.