[First impressions] Action Taimanin

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As you may or may not know, I’m quite fond of the Taimanin series. I mean, what’s not to like about a franchise revolving around ass-kicking ninja girls in skin tight outfits getting entangled in all sorts of misadventures that more often than not result in them having their shit pushed in, both literally and figuratively? Wanton anal tyranny aside, though, I do genuinely enjoy the Taimanin universe, and Lilith games in general. They provide me with a dark, sadomasochistic, ahegao-filled happy place in a barren wasteland of endless love comedies and milquetoast romances, and as such, I do deeply appreciate their existence.

With Action Taimanin, the all-ages hack & slash gacha game now out on both PC and mobile platforms, one cannot help but ask a very obvious, but nonetheless important question: can you still enjoy a Taimanin title without its signature blend of cum-spraying, womb-busting, virgin-slaying deluge of debauchery? Let’s find out.

First off, I think it’s important to clarify what this game is and isn’t. For starters, it’s not a proper Taimanin visual novel. Sure, the story is told in a VN-like format, but there’s honestly very little of it at the time of writing, and it’s not exactly the highlight of the game, even by Taimanin/nukige standards. You can pretty much blast through it in one sitting. The current build of the PC version gives you five chapters in total, which can easily be summed up as “Bad Guy wants to do Evil Shit so the Taimanins track him down and kill him dead. Except he’s not really dead. To be continued in Chapter 6! Bye now!” There’s bits of comedy relief here and there, and the new girl, Su Jinlei, is very cute and I want to plant tender kisses on her tummy… however, my insatiable desire to fill Su’s womb with a gallon’s worth of man-seed is hardly reason enough for me to call Action Taimanin’s plot worthwhile… at least at the moment. The PLOT, on the other hand… is quite acceptable. It’s Horny with a capital H, and it doesn’t seem like it’s censored, either; I mean, Oboro has the entirety of her naked ass on display in most cutscenes, so I doubt there’s much, if any, censorship going on. The moon is full and the jigglies doth jiggle, just as Mother Nature intended.

Honestly, I’ve seen these girls choke on such an inordinate amount of jizz over the years that the fact they actually do proper Taimanin work in this game without the usual “getting captured and violently sexed up” scenario feels almost out-of-character for them. I mean, I’m used to seeing them do dumb, careless shit like willingly accepting a contract to “temporarily” become Turbo-Whores just so they can infiltrate a brothel, and then getting inadvertently turned into obedient, mind-broken fuck-puppies that gargle cocks like it was the goddamn Cock-Gargling Olympics. So in that sense, Action Taimanin is pretty tame, scandalous outfits and full moons notwithstanding.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room: the in-game gacha, aka the randomized lootbox system fueled by the game’s real-money currency. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: it’s pure gambling, and as such, completely luck-based. But I’m sure everyone already knows this. You can actually get free gacha tickets by simply playing the game, but even then, nothing is guaranteed, and if you don’t get the weapon or Supporter you want… well, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Hell, I picked Yukikaze as my main character and had to watch as the majority of my lootboxes threw a bunch of Asagi/Sakura-exclusive weapons at me. I did eventually manage to get some proper weapons and Supporters from some of my free tickets, but I do wonder how viable the game is if you never get lucky with your pulls. Maybe you can get by even with shitty weapons if you keep upgrading them diligently enough, but I never tried. The real-money currency is also used to purchase additional playable characters and individual costumes, but there’s no gacha involved with those.

It’s worth noting that said currency can actually be acquired without paying money by completing a variety of tasks in-game. I mean, it’s a slow process and the game doesn’t exactly hand them out in droves, but even as a free player, I’ve managed to accumulate enough to be able to buy a whole new playable character and even a couple of costumes. Oh, and with enough materials, you can also unlock special training facilities that allow you to automatically level up your weapons and characters without having to do anything. You just pop your weapons and Taimanin in there, and in 2-3 hours you’ll get your free XP/Skill points. What’s more, the timer runs even when you’re not playing the game, which is pretty helpful in circumventing some of the grind.

So, about the actual gameplay. You go through level after level beating up enemies, there’s a boss at the end, you kill the boss, and that’s it. Once you complete every level on the easiest difficulty, you can then unlock harder difficulties for some replay value and greater rewards. With this being a phone game, the levels are woefully claustrophobic, usually consisting of only one or two small areas, meaning the majority of them can be finished in a matter of minutes. If you’re doing the easiest difficulty, it won’t even take a minute. Similarly, enemies aren’t particularly smart or interesting and only exist as damage sponges to be slaughtered by spamming all your special abilities. Like I said, this is very much a casual mobile game at its core; the kind that even drowsy salarymen can play on the train while on their way to work.

Having said that, the core gameplay loop is simple but fun: you have your regular attacks, your special moves (called Skills) that can be executed via a variety of button combinations, your Supporter abilities (magic spells with cooldowns, essentially) and finally, your personal Limit Break, which does a fuckton of damage but can only be unleashed after you’ve collected enough purple orbs from defeated enemies. Due to the teeny-tiny size of the levels and the relative simplicity of the combat, Action Taimanin is less about exploration or complex, strategic combos, and more about leveling up your character, making them stronger and seeing how fast you can beat some of the harder levels with your newfound powers and increased stats. There’s a reason the game has a separate Time Attack mode. Still, pulling off special moves and decimating foes with your unique Taimanin powers is strangely satisfying, and the visuals/animations are cool enough that I found myself repeatedly coming back to the game.

In terms of game mechanics, I like how Supporters and Skills are tied together. Supporters are basically NPC Taimanin girls that can be “equipped” onto your character in order to grant them a variety of passive and active abilities. Said abilities come in all shapes and forms: some will grant you extra damage against a certain type of foe, others will let you heal yourself or increase the damage of your criticals, and so on. Each Supporter also has its own color (red, blue or green), and depending on the color combination of your three equipped Supporters, some of your Skills can be altered or made stronger. To give an example, I have a Red/Green/Blue Supporter setup, which gives one of my favorite Skills a faster cooldown rate while also increasing its damage and adding an extra attack to the end of it. Different Skills come with different color combo requirements, and it’s up to you to find the setup that works best for you.

Overall, I’ll admit that I did get a decent amount of fun out of leveling up my cute brown ninja girl, beating up enemies and speedrunning entire chapters with my shiny new upgraded abilities. But if you’re looking for the variety, depth and complexity of, say, a Devil May Cry game, you won’t find it here. Also, I do think you kinda have to be a fan of the Taimanin series to get the most out of the game, since part of AT’s charm comes from the fact that you get to play as beloved characters like Yukikaze, Rinko and so on. This is the type of game that’s best played in very short bursts; you boot it up, play for a few minutes and then go about your day. It’s a flashy and moderately enjoyable time-waster with cute girls, but don’t expect much more than that.

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