Based on a 16 second trailer, I was pretty psyched to play Girls X Battle. I didn’t care that the translation in the description was a little vague. A game “combined with tactics and manually microing features”? Sure, I thought. I’ll figure out what that means later. “Sexy and violence combat,” here I come. All I needed to know was that it had tons of cool looking ladies with different personalities all ready to duke it out and fight. Once I heard the heavy metal cover of the Evangelion theme song, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” in the preview, it was a done deal. Sign me up.
Reader, I was misled. I should have known it sounded too good to be true.
Firstly, despite the suggestion of the preview, the description, and even the title, Girls X Battle isn’t about these girls at all. The protagonist is actually a high school boy trying to unlock clues about a mysterious battle card (while making friends and avoiding bullies). From what I was able to piece together from the convoluted plot, these cards are the girls themselves. So the titular girls are just collectibles, not actual characters. They’re more like game pieces or, creepier still, Pokémon. They all have unique looks and types, but they’re not people, even under the limited definitions of what constitutes humanity in a game.
I somehow suspended my revulsion enough to play a little further. Besides the creepy “girls as things” premise, the plot, as it connects to the fighting, makes no sense. Your battle girls, in chibi form, take on waves of enemies just so your character can walk from one school building to another. But the fighting (or the results) aren’t really talked about. You never see who is controlling the opponents or how this relates to the story. After a fight you collect xp and random treasures, like socks or clothes for your battle girls, but they don’t come up much in the conversations your protagonist has with other people.
This would all be less of an issue if the combat were fun or in some way interesting. But until certain conditions are met, combat is locked on “auto” mode, meaning each battle continues without any input from the player. There’s no thrill in the inevitable victory because I did nothing to contribute to it, save feeding my battle girls a juice from the campus vending machine between fights.
The unnecessary menus, the useless item collection, and the over-sexualized, not-quite-human women, all remind me of Fantasy War Tactics, a game that, you may recall, I detested. At least Fantasy War Tactics let me actually participate in the fights that make up the bulk of the gameplay. It’s a battle game that doesn’t let you fight, and a game about girls that isn’t actually about girls. It’s only even a game if you consider it a challenge to constantly avoid micro-transactions. Browsing through the Playstore reviews to see what possible justification nearly ten thousand people could offer for giving this game a 5 star rating, I learned the truth. Several 5 star reviews state that they were promised 66 diamonds, the in-game currency, for a 5 star rating.
Maybe in hindsight the use of the Evangelion theme song was trying to prime me for suffering. But instead of being sad about a young boy coerced to pilot a giant robot, I’m sad about the fact that I wasted precious moments of my youth playing this terrible game. Get as far away from Girls X Battle as you possibly can.
This RPG has a convoluted plot, stunted, almost nonexistent combat mechanics, and it relies on micro transactions. Plus, the titular girls aren’t even human beings. Hard pass.