Within the world of fighting games, there’s a bit of a stricken dialectic when it comes to categorizing games that employ a combination of three features: complex and diverse system mechanics, frenetic movement, and visuals reminiscent of Japanese manga and anime. Depending on their perspective and familiarity with these games, most players opt to simply call them “anime fighters,” while others take offense to this moniker and offer the name “Airdashers” as a more inclusive alternative. It’s a debate that is highly subjective and will likely never be settled.
Unknown Games and M2 Co., Ltd., however, were more than happy to bill their 2D fighting game, Koihime Enbu, as an “anime fighter” as it hit Steam yesterday. Degica Games, who is known recently for re-releasing Code of Princess on Steam and for re-acquiring the license for the Umihara Kawase series, acts as Koihime Enbu’s publisher.
Previously released in Japanese arcades, as well as the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Koihime Enbu is a 2D fighting game based on BaseSon’s adult visual novel/strategy game series, Koihime Musō, which itself is loosely based on the classic Chinese epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. We say “loosely” because most of the novel’s main characters have been changed to 13 playable girls who, according to an official press release, can “kick some serious butt!”
As can be seen, the game’s visuals are likely far more saccharine that those you would find on a wartorn battlefield.
Koihime Enbu aims to draw in beginner and experienced fighting game players with its accessible, yet complex combat mechanics. Fast movement, exquisite combos, and devastating counter moves round out the experience of beating up a small girl wielding a very large spear with another small girl wielding a very large sword. Almost every attack in the game is punishable in some form or another; while this is par for the course for most fighting games, Koihime Enbu nonetheless invites players of all skill levels to recognize opportune moments for punishing, baiting, and tricking opponents, all while moving around at breakneck speeds.
Fighting game enthusiast MechaGS put Kohime Enbu’s focus into a succinct and accurate statement:
Koihime Enbu at its core is a traditional fighter with easy access for beginners to hone their skills and for those more accustomed to fighters to jump in and feel at home. The game pushes the idea of footsies and good neutral that will eventually help any player — no matter the skill level — to reach a reasonable standard quickly whilst keeping the game fun and a pleasure to return to. Those who dare to push past the traditional points of the game will find their calling in taking advantage of the opponent and crushing their offense to learning advanced combos and wall-bounce mix-ups. There’s something in there for everyone at every skill level. All you need to do is find that character you feel can push you forward.
MechaGS has also put together an extensive guide for anyone wishing to jump into the world of Koihime Enbu. It goes over all of the game’s basics, as well as any subsystems and mechanics that players need to know to become an effective combatant.
He’s also currently hosting a welcome stream for the game, if you are so inclined.
And if you want a visual taste of what Koihime Enbu has to offer at its highest level of play, here’s some footage of the game being played in Japan by some of its top players:
Lastly, the Steam version of Kohime Enbu offers a Replay Mode, as well as Ranked matchmaking and a local versus mode. It’s also incorporated into Steam’s Cloud, Achievement, and Card Trading networks.
Koihime Enbu is currently out on Steam right now. You can find your gateway to cute-on-cute medieval Chinese combat here.