Kill la Kill The Game: IF for PS4 and Nintendo Switch is an arena brawler featuring Kill la Kill characters but unlike most other anime licensed games, it gets a lot right so far. While the game arrives a few years after the anime’s peak popularity, the response to every reveal has been pretty great so far. It is going to be interesting to see how the final game does when it arrives next week on consoles and PC.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF promises an original story that can be experienced over two different sides, ranked and unranked online modes, a detailed gallery mode, and more. One of the highlights here compared to other anime games is the fact that all the English voice actors returned for the English voice option that is available alongside the original Japanese audio. Even music from the anime composed by Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Xenoblade Chronicles X) is included here in the story mode which is rare for a licensed game. The impressions below are from the Kill la Kill The Game: IF demo on PS4 and Nintendo Switch that is available now for free on both platforms. There is no PC demo.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF Demo contents
Both platforms have the same demo contents and in both cases, you can’t transfer progress to the full game and it doesn’t save any data. Kill la Kill The Game: IF Demo includes the first chapter of the first story mode that has some cut scenes and the tutorial. It is annoying that the tutorial is locked behind that here.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF Demo impressions
My impressions of the game itself based on the demo are surprisingly positive. I was very concerned about this game because APlus developed it alongside Arc System Works and APlus worked on the mediocre Little Witch Academia game from Bandai Namco Entertainment. Barring the story mode that was only available through a single chapter and tutorial here, combat is very nice. The playable characters feel unique and have their own traits to keep in mind during battles.
Combat is fairly simple on the surface but there is a lot of depth with the Bloody Valor mechanic that is like a rock paper scissors clash to boost your stats and eventually reach a one hit instant kill move. The Covers Challenge isn’t too much fun because arena fighters don’t really work well when there are too many enemies. This mode would have benefited from being a Warriors / Musou experience. Overall, this demo is a great showcase of the game and put away my worries with great cut scene direction, fun gameplay, and a localisation that actually treats the source material well.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF PS4 vs Switch visuals
Cel shaded visuals are always great when bringing anime characters to the video game medium because it not only looks great but it always scales well. Most games that use cel shading end up looking nice regardless of whether you’re playing them on low end or high end systems. Kill la Kill The Game: IF looks excellent on PS4 Pro but has a few low resolution environment textures. Some character models look a bit soft in some animations as well. The cutscenes however look superb both when in engine and pre rendered. On the Switch, docked mode looks mostly good but the overall image definitely has a soft feel. This is more apparent in handheld mode where the image quality definitely doesn’t look like a native 720p at all times. The actual story moments look great on switch regardless of mode though. PS4
Kill la Kill The Game: IF PS4 vs Switch performance
While the visuals weren’t much of a problem on Switch versus PS4, performance sadly is not great at all. Fighting games or brawlers should never have an unlocked frame rate. While the PS4 Pro plays great and has a mostly locked frame rate barring some cinematic cuts, the Switch version is never steady. I would’ve preferred a locked 30fps over the unlocked frame rate here which fluctuates quite a bit and can go much higher than 30fps. The other performance related issue here is with load times and how the character select screen can freeze a bit while it loads in the 3D model of a particular character you select. This reminded me of the same problem Soulcalibur VI had on Xbox One S. Hopefully these issues can be fixed for the final game post launch because the Switch version is not in a great place right now.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF PS4 vs Nintendo Switch what to buy
There are a few things to consider before finalizing where to buy Arc System Works’ Kill la Kill game when it comes to consoles. If you’re looking for a more active online playerbase, every fighter that is on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch has had a more active playerbase on PS4. Even ones that launched simultaneously like BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle have more a more active online community on PS4. If price is a concern, the digital price in India on PS4 via PSN is Rs. 4999 vs the $59.99 Nintendo Switch digital price. The game isn’t releasing here at retail so importing it will cost the same on either platform.
Barring the online concerns, there are image quality and performance problems with the Switch demo right now. Thankfully the developlers have opted for the user interface to remain at a higher resolution compared to the gameplay that sometimes feels like it varies depending on the action on screen. With those things considered, the PS4 version is definitely the way to go unless portability is super important to you.
If you value portability above all else, this is still better than Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch that never felt great in handheld mode and had very long load times. As a portable game, Kill la Kill The Game: IF is competent but don’t expect to play seriously with the performance issues that are pretty erratic. Having a locked 30fps frame rate would have been much better for game like this. One aspect of the Switch version that is great for portable play is the ability to play with a single Joy-Con each when you play against someone else locally on the same Switch. This is always a great addition to any fighter on the Switch.
We will have a full review for the game closer to release.
Kill la Kill The Game: IF releases on July 26 for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.