Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers Review

Onechanbara makes zombie-slaying women boring.

As you may have been able to figure out from the title, Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is more concerned with parading an endless stream of undead monsters and women in revealing clothing than delivering a meaty and thought-provoking experience. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. But Onechanbara is so mindless, the combat so repetitive, the levels so monotonous, that even the inherent joy of dicing legions of zombies into tiny cubes does not conjure even a tiny flash of excitement. You might think that an array of scantily clad heroines dismembering an endless horde of creatures would elicit some thrill, possibly on a primal level, but you would be mistaken. The excessive gore and extreme objectification in Onechanbara are not able to mask the simple gameplay for even a few minutes, which makes this a boring and repetitive hack-and-slash with no redeeming qualities.

What a precious prom photo.
What a precious prom photo.

A story is buried beneath the layers of zombie blood, but it is so inexpertly told that it's impossible to make out what is actually happening. Before each level, a wall of text against a darkened background will attempt to convey your motivations for chopping up hundreds of enemies, but it serves only to muddle what should be a basic quest fueled by bloodlust. Instead of using a conventional narrative to reveal the tale, the story segments resemble poorly composed poems with a choppy structure that makes it extremely difficult to understand the purpose of your journey. Obviously, people should not expect the story of a zombie-murder simulator to change their worldview, but these interludes in Onechanbara suck the personality from an already boring action game.

However, the action is the real source for your boredom. You will be able to plow through the vast majority of the game by lazily shaking the Wii Remote to unleash your sword strike. Without exaggeration, you can tear through wave after wave of enemies by walking around the levels and shaking your arm like a madman as you cut a legion of zombies into tiny bits. A couple of enemy types will require a more restrained approach, but the level of strategy needed to conquer even these higher-level foes is insultingly low. For example, mudmen require a more rhythmic method, forcing you to time three consecutive attacks to rip their hearts from their filthy bodies. Zombie cops will hold up their hands to block, making you wait a beat before you can cut them apart. And that is the extent of the resistance that you'll face from your apathetic attackers.

The levels are just as bland as the combat. You'll travel from sparse city streets to indistinct office buildings without any landmarks to make these locations memorable. When you complete the story mode (which takes not much longer than an hour), you'll unlock one of the four characters and have the option to play through the same set of levels with a different persona. These characters have slightly different attacks--Misery has an extendable sword and Saki can throw her foes--but your strategy will never vary. Even the option to upgrade your abilities at the end of each section does nothing to make this game more compelling. Putting more points into your strength or weapon reach has little effect on the action, so the combat feels identical from the moment you first start playing until you're finished and throw down the controller in disgust. There isn't any gameplay variety thrown in to mix things up, either. Every level has you walking around, chopping up zombies indiscriminately, until you mercifully reach the end.

That zombie cop sure is indifferent to his impending demise.
That zombie cop sure is indifferent to his impending demise.

You'll encounter bosses from time to time, but while these enemies offer more challenge than the standard swarm, the battles are still excruciatingly bland. There are four heroines total in the game, and the bosses are whichever three characters you are not controlling. They have the same attacks as you do and will employ the same strategy as well. Get ready for thrilling battles between two barely clothed women mindlessly swinging their oversized swords until one of them dies. Given that your counterpart will slash away with her sword as if the Wii is frantically shaking a controller of its own, you'll have to use defensive rolls to win these battles. There isn't much depth to these encounters, but having to employ a few defensive techniques in addition to rapidly swinging the remote makes them slightly more tolerable than the usual combat.

Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is a lousy game. It isn't aggravating or frustrating, it's just boring. The story is incomprehensible, the levels all feel the same, and the simplistic combat never evolves. With so much wanton dismemberment onscreen, it's hard to imagine that it could be so utterly bland, but Onechanbara is never able to make this exceedingly simple experience the least bit engaging. Even at a budget price, Onechanbara is not worth your money or time.

The Good
You can dismember zombies
The Bad
Combat is mindless and repetitive
Every level feels exactly the same
Story does not make any sense
Little difference between the playable characters
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Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers More Info

  • First Released Feb 10, 2009
    • Wii
    Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is a Wii exclusive featuring the return of Aya and Saki, the last hope against a killer zombie onslaught.
    Average Rating185 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    2D, Beat-'Em-Up, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Violence