When something becomes popular enough, it inevitably attracts imitators. Sometimes these imitators will smash so many different genres together to try and capitalize on the popularity of several other games. In the case of Waifu Impact, the developers took the principles that made Fortnite such a bewildering success and combined them with a healthy dose of fanservice to attract players, as well as a Genshin Impact-style presentation. There’s nothing wrong with taking what was popular in the past and serving it in a new way; Players sometimes need a little familiarity to settle into a new game. It does require a great deal of polish, however, and Waifu Impact just doesn’t have that polish. Worse than awkward and clunky gameplay, it’s just not fun.
Waifu Impact drops players on the glorious “Waifu Island”, a place visited in the dreams of many every night; A tropical paradise with cute girls running around shooting each other with water pistols. It’s the basic premise we saw in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash, but with stripped down features. Rather than different teams vying for control of the arena, it’s free-for-all against the AI-controlled enemies, all of whom look and play exactly the same. Instead of the barely contained chaos where the action comes at you from every angle – the things that make playing other arena shooters fun – this feels like a grind.
The Joy-Con doesn’t inherently lend itself to precision shooting, so each shot from your water gun takes a painful time to align. Even more so when you’re running around and dodging the terrifyingly accurate AI enemies. Each character feels like they’re moving through a pot of pudding, slowly stomping around to find the best angle of attack. This is clearly a game designed for mouse and keyboard and hasn’t made the transition to controllers well. The only saving grace is enemy hitboxes, which are so ridiculously large that accuracy isn’t really necessary to survive.
There are a total of eight different characters to choose from, each wielding a different type of water gun. Some have higher fire rates or deal more damage. There is a good variety here and players will find a character that suits their playstyle. However, all have the same sluggish movement speed that makes traveling around and exploring the island tedious. Characters themselves cannot be upgraded, but each kill unlocks new girl art, giving players a reason to play with each character.
For an exciting game, these images are fairly tame, offering a basic shot of the girl in a bikini once she’s hit 50 kills (the “nude mode” from the Steam version seems to have been completely removed on Switch, unsurprisingly). The only other collectibles in the game are the 25 stars that litter the island. For every five of these the player finds, a new character is unlocked.
Two additional characters can be unlocked by completing late-game challenges, but just getting the 25 stars is more of a chore than anything else. Exploring the island is tedious, with platform sections that feel clunky and untested. Each jump feels like a challenge, but not in the way the developers intended, not to mention the framerate issues we encountered in our playthrough.
Waifu Impact makes the mistake of assuming that the promise of fan service is enough to carry a game through its run, however brief. This game takes the Fortnite formula, dips the character controls in digital syrup, removes the multiplayer aspect that makes this game fun, and adds nothing of value. It feels more like a proof of concept, with no story or characterization to speak of. First of all, it’s just not fun to play. Even for the low price from the eShop, the joke is gone within half an hour
https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/switch-eshop/waifu-impact Waifu Impact Review (Switch eShop)