Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

The Danganronpa series is known for being a disturbing, somewhat intense series of visual novels (and one shooter). It?s all about teens thrown together in a post-apocalyptic world who then turn on each other in increasingly vicious ways as they strive to survive.

So, naturally, the latest game in the series, Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp, is a board game that puts all the characters from the series into skimpy swimsuits and sticks them in highly repetitive turn-based battles and forgettable interactions with other characters. Also, it basically requires you to spend a bunch of real money on in-game purchases if you want to accomplish anything. As you can probably tell from the tone of the last few sentences, I?m not a fan.

It?s not that I have any inherent objections to the board game-ification of Danganronpa. I?m a huge fan of the series, but I won?t pretend it?s some holy, unalterable text. For example, while the board game idea is a little out of nowhere, it?s not the worst idea ever. There?s precedent for sticking video game characters into board games, whether we?re talking Mario Party or Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy characters in a Japanese version of Monopoly, to say nothing of the many licensed board games that borrow from video game universes. So I?m not going to pretend that Danganronpa is a bridge too far for such games.

Likewise, I?m not going to object too much to the skimpy swimsuits aspect of the game, either. It?s undeniably creepy and fanservice-y, but there?s always been that subtext in the games, so bringing it out in the open isn?t coming from out of nowhere. Further, the swimsuits aren?t as prominent in the game as you might expect ? they feature in some long, dull cutscenes here and there, but it?s not like they?re the overarching focus of the game.

Rather, my main issue with Danganronpa S is purely with how boring the game is. You simply pick a character, have them go all over a huge board getting into the same turn-based battles and triggering the same encounters over and over again, and don?t really get any of the real Danganronpa experience ? save for the Monokubs shouting at you every ten turns or so. You do all you can for fifty-two turns, then the game ends, and that?s about it.

In theory, of course, you?re building up characters to try out the Despair Tower mode ? but honestly, I have no idea why you?d want to, since that?s just seemingly endless turn-based battles and nothing else. At least the board game portion of the game is broken up with the cutscenes (which, again, are painfully dull).

In the end, all it leads to is grinding for grinding?s sake, as you try to level up your character as much as possible. You can skip through that if you want to ? but that?s where the in-game transactions come into effect. Basically your options are spend a tonne of cash to make your characters get better at a pointless battle mode, or sink dozens of hours to grind your characters into something decent?so they can be better at a pointless battle mode.

Really, there?s no incentive either way, as far as I?m concerned. As much as I?ve always liked the Danganronpa series, I can?t imagine wanting to sink endless amounts of time or money into such an empty, boring game. And given we?re talking about a series for which the word ?boring” should never apply, that should tell you how much of a failure this game is.

Spike Chunsoft provided us with a Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer CampSwitch code for review purposes.

Grade: D