Released back for PSP in 2010, Criminal Girls now finds its way to PSVITA where it brings its unique flavor of RPG to the platform and a wider audience with PSVITA iteration: Criminal Girls: Invite Only.
Criminal Girls story revolves around a more organized iteration of Hell where you, the player, is placed in the shoes of a warden in charge of reforming a group of girls in what is called the Reformation Program which seeks to bring back these young souls to the mortal world. These girls are in hell for a reason and they don’t like you one bit. Thus serves as the foundation of your quest to reform this girls as they traverse the trials of Hell on their way to reformation. Four girls join you in the beginning and you must search for the others on your way up but things go nasty as you must contend with ever-growing Convicts on your way up.
The game’s story is pretty straightforward and if you’ve watched a lot of anime, you’d catch on easily. Otherwise if you’re after story, a bit of in-game reading is in order. Overall though, its easy to grasp and despite the sexual content which we’ll discuss later, the story’s pretty general patronage and actually really likable if you believe in the power of FRIENDSHIP!
Audio & Visuals
In-game visuals are presented in simple 2D format reminiscent of older-gen JRPGs. Most of the game uses 2D sprites for ingame and battles are mostly just sprites with enemies stuck to a single sprite image. It doesn’t serve much in terms of visual presentation but surprisingly its still fun to look and without lengthy animations, it makes the game quick and easy to get in a few games on the move.
The BGM and OST are really good and found them highly enjoyable. Criminal Girls doesn’t necessarily have a classic line up of tunes but what it does is proper use of BGMs to set the mood for each level and fight. One of the most noteworthy tracks is the one used when the mood drops and its really an emotionally slow loop of keys that go in tune with your current scenario. Each girls also have their own unique ending OST featuring JPOP music!
Gameplay revolves around simple RPG elements: you explore dungeons and fight monsters to get experience and level up your characters. The battle system is quite simple but doesn’t work as normal JRPGs. Character commands are issued one at a time and you can’t select what move they do. As your characters become more powerful, the wider their access to skills will be but this will be dependent on the next few things. After battle you also get CM which is the game’s currency and you need a lot of those. Leveling up your character basically just improves their stats and offers no other upfront benefits. As we’ve said, the girls still hate you and to change that you need to motivate them.
Motivating the girls expands their skill sets and offers you access to more devastating moves late-game. Doing so requires you to play the new touch-enabled mini-games for the PSVITA version of Criminal Girls. This can range from having you spanking the girls, electrical prodding all the way to tickling with feathers. These ero-scenes start off heavily censored but the mist that obscure the view thins after a few levels of motivation.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only is surprisingly enjoyable and the story is well put-together. Its actually disappointing how much the stories could’ve been more fleshed-out to offer more depth about the girls. But this is just me being wishful as the girls really tend to grow on you and is one of the game’s best characteristics is its focus on character growth.
You won’t get there easily though, the game is easy to grasp yes and the story progress quite straightforward but the amount of hours you will invest grinding is just immense. As you progress, the enemies get stronger and boss fights require some pre-planning and strategy which gives the game a unique depth to it despite its light exterior. You will spend a lot of hours with these girls and that’s what the game is all about. The power of friendship!
Ultimately, Criminal Girls: Invite Only is a solid RPG and is well put together. No lazy Japanese to English translation here. The dialogs are good and the story translation, cleanly written. Some will find the ero-scenes objectionable and even hard to play and most will agree its needlessly sexual but past that, Criminal Girls: Invite Only is a good game with lengthy content.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only is available only for PSVITA and Playstation TV. We give it our B2G Editor’s Choice Award… because I am currently grinding to level 99 right now.