At a glance, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars might not make sense. One series is about console goddesses. The other’s about ninjas. Two different companies own the IPs. The only commonality might be a superficial one. That perhaps there could be a shared audience among people who enjoy Japanese games. But the thing about the game is that it works. It might not be as well done as something like Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. Its story might not be as great as the early Neptunia games. But for many reasons, it works.
Part of that comes from its foundation. Before we even get into how character interactions and story decisions might help, the developer factors in. While Neptunia as a series is tied to Idea Factory and Marvelous has Senran Kagura, Tamsoft is tied to both series. Senran Kagura Burst, Estival Versus, Deep Crimson… it is behind them all. (It even handled spin-offs like Bon Appetit and Peach Beach Splash, so the developer knows what its doing.) While Compile Heart tends to be in charge for Neptunia, the action-RPGs are Tamsoft’s domain as well.
This means that Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars has the right kind of feel. Some characters are speedier than others and feel great for combos. For example, both Purple Heart and Asuka fall into that category. Others pack heavier hits, like White Heart and Homura. (Not that they don’t have as satisfying combos, but when the final blow lands it really hits harder and has sufficient knockback.) Also Asuka, Homura, Miyabi, and Yumi feel the way they do in Senran Kagura games. While the inputs for certain special attacks look different, they’ll pack the same sort of punch. And, since it follows the Tamsoft tradition of taking two warriors into beat’em up battles at once, it feels even more familiar.
But what also works are the character relationships. Both the Neptunia and Senran Kagura series feature strong bonds between characters. They care about each other. They’re affectionate. They might tease, but the emotional connections come through. Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars’s got that. Even very briefly in the introduction, when the Compa and Honeypa ninjas are foes, it doesn’t feel like there’s any real animosity between them. (Especially between Asuka and Neptune.) Once Neptune, Blanc, Noire, and Vert head to Marveland (yes, after Marvelous) from Heartland (Compile Heart), Asuka even receives them. When the 4 Ninja Goddesses aid the Marveland Daimyo, the other ninjas welcome them too. It isn’t long before you’ve got two Senran Kagura ninjas in your ranks, and they fit.
It also helps that the story tends to lean more toward the Neptunia approach, rather than take things too seriously. Not that the Senran Kagura series doesn’t get silly sometimes. It absolutely can even in mainline entries. But we’ve got ninjas in Gamninjustri. When you go through the typical “chat with chibi characters” area, you’ll see ones representing Tamsoft and other companies. Immediately after Asuka and Homura join the 4 Ninja Goddesses in Heartland, one of the first things they do is… all take a bath together. Which leads to the fourth wall breaking as Neptune explains that this is “service,” as in fanservice, especially due to the voice acting. Neptune also has a great line about how these two universes colliding led to troubles. There’s that goofiness that makes it okay to have a game about two groups that normally wouldn’t be together getting together.
What this all means is that people who enjoyed the Senran Kagura series and Neptunia beat’em ups will probably enjoy Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars. It is a combination that works. Gameplay mechanics from other games remain. The Neptunia and Senran Kagura characters do feel different from each others. The story, while short and silly, can be fun and uses the characters rather well. Especially since the cast members from the two games get along well. It’s a pairing that makes sense.
Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is available for the PlayStation 4.