Game Review: Neptunia Virtual Stars (PlayStation 4)


Neptunia celebrates its 10th Anniversary in a style, with a new spin-off entry into the franchise that sees the CPU’s transported to a virtual world filled with Vtubers. It sounds like it could be a fun experience, but is it? Let’s take a look and find out!

neptunia-virtual-stars-game-icon Title: Neptunia Virtual Stars
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Compile Heart
Platform: PlayStation 4
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (6GB)

Our View:

Developed by Compile Heart, and published by Idea Factory International, Neptunia Virtual Stars, otherwise known as VVVTune in Japan, is an action RPG styled third person shooter that celebrates both the 10th Anniversary of the Neptunia (Hyperdimension Neptunia) franchise and the ever-growing popularity of the V-tuber through a new spin-off title.


During its decade of video-game releases the Neptunia franchise has been no stranger to offering different genres of play style, with the series mainline games being turn based RPG and it’s spin-offs offering something different with each new instalment. Neptunia Virtual Stars meanwhile offers a mixture of both action RPG with third-person-shooter mechanics and then enhances it with the inclusion of rhythm based mechanics. It all sounds rather confusing, but in actuality it’s pretty simple.

Genre’s aside Neptunia Virtual Stars offers newcomers to the franchise a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the colourful madness that will unfold upon them. Lore found in the previous games is not required, and notable characters from the ever-increasing roster of characters, including the CPU candidates, are also absent, which means that players can just focus on the story within this singular title.


That story sees the CPU’s of Gameindustri, who are of course Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert, transported to the world Virtualand, a digital world that strives on the energy of content creators, after its guardian requests the aid from other dimensions. This aid is requested due to Virtualand, and more specifically Planet Emote, being under attack from an enemy known as Antis. These Antis are stealing the energy generated from content creators and in turn sealing those creators away, and if order is not restored the planet could be destroyed.

Amusingly our goddesses are not the only characters summoned to Planet Emote, as budding Vtubers Me and You, who make up the group MEWTRAL, are also summoned to the world. Unlike the goddesses Me and You are more familiar with Virtualand, Planet Emote and the prospect of being a successful Vtuber, as such they team up with the goddesses to help save Planet Emote from destruction. As you’d expect the story of saving Planet Emote unfolds over the course of multiple chapters, and with each passing chapter further exposition is revealed that hints at more than what is on the surface.


This story is presented through the usual combination of visual-novel styled dialogue, cinematic cut scenes and dialogue spoken during regular combat. Interestingly unlike previous Neptunia games the visual-novel styled presentation uses full 3D character models as opposed to 2D artwork. It’s a distinctive change from the norm and while at times it does add some personal flair to the characters, as full bodies will move and facial expressions change, it does not feel as immersive as the 2D character artwork due to characters popping in and out or odd hairstyle movement that sometimes bugs out in place. It’s a minor complaint, but when every other game uses 2D artwork it’s a big change to make.

From a gameplay perspective then Neptunia Virtual Stars offers a third-person perspective with interchangeable action-RPG and shooter mechanics. Players have full access to six characters, with additional characters made playable with downloadable content, and depending on the character selected will depend on the play style offered. Controlling a CPU Goddess will see the game play as a third-person-shooter, with each goddess have a distinctive firing style, while selecting one of the Vtubers will see the play style changed to an action-RPG with hack and slash mechanics. Changing between the different characters, and play styles, is relatively straight forward (although it does feel like it takes one too many button presses), but it does allow you to adjust to the pace of the battle and proceed in your preferred way.


Each character also has their own experience level that can be increased by defeating enemies and by increasing their level it will increase the base stats of the character. Just like other Neptunia games players can also equip items to the characters that will further enhance their abilities. These enhancements can alter the attack, defence and HP levels and further adds to the balance of gameplay. If your character has strong attack, but low amounts of HP, you can simply adjust the items equipped to resolve this. I initially found this feature to be a little confusing, as it is different to simply equipping equipment and accessories with stat bonuses, but once accustomed it become a useful tool to surviving in the harsher areas of Virtualand.

Speaking of areas Virtualand, much like the areas of 4 Goddesses Online, are separated into different lands that can be warped to from the hub world of Planet Emote. This hub world acts as your base of operations whereby you can interact with others, purchase items and transfer to the different lands on the planet. These lands themselves offer players large areas to explore with multiple paths leading to different items to pick up and enemies to defeat. As an example the first area is an electronic metropolis with adverts and vtubers everywhere, but as you progress you’ll find yourself in all sorts of different environments with each wielding different types of areas; one of which includes a sweets and treats – much to Neptune’s delight.


Each land, or area, can freely be visited but generally each new area explored is linked to a new chapter, but venturing back to explore for different items and missing vtubers is recommended. Finding, and restoring, lost vtubers by defeating sub-bosses in each world can awarded bonuses and perks in battle; of which can be equipped as part of stat increases. Each area also has a unique boss to defeat, but unlike your traditional action-RPG boss battles are played out to the rhtym of the song.

Initially upon starting the boss fight I was (again) confused at what the best course of action should be. Simply attacking the boss with everything you have does work, but for greater benefits it best to understand the mechanics of the fight. In this case each boss fight is played to different songs, with new songs being awarded through item boxes and regular progresses, and these songs have both boss benefits and player benefits.

Attacking the enemy during a player benefit section will deal greater damage and chances of breaks, but attacking during a boss benefit could see attacks missed or repercussions for your actions. That’s not all, as by filling up a gauge you can activate an overtime mode that would potentially see your characters do even more damage and finish off with a stronger attack.


It’s a distinctively unique way of defeating a boss, and it does take some getting used to, but it does keep you on your toes and makes the boss fights more engaging as well as entertaining. Sadly these can only be achieved if you full understand the workings of mechanics.

My first few boss fights, as much fun as they were with vocaloid styled music blaring out, felt like I had no control or idea on what I was doing or how. The influx of tutorials, even several hours into the game (which is pretty normal for a Neptunia game), shows the amount of learning and understanding that has to be done in order to get the full benefit out of the gameplay experiences being offered. The boss battles are not the only rhythm element as players can also enter into beat tik mode from the hub world which begins rhythm styled gameplay.  Obtaining high scores will increase you vtuber rank in the game. It’s all a bit random, but it is keeping within the spirit of this vtuber world that Neptunia Virtual Stars sets itself within.


Neptunia Virtual Stars is, at its core, a third-person styled action RPG with a stand-a-lone story that sees Neptunia and friends summoned to Planet Emote to help save it from destruction. It’s a simple enough story that slowly expands through a unique combination of gameplay, boss fights and rhythm based fun. While it does have the fun and charm of other Neptunia titles it does suffer from feeling sluggish and simple (gameplay wise).

First time Neptunia fans will find something they can enjoy without having to understand the lore of those before it, while long time players can enjoy a new quirky story with a different style of gameplay. It’s fun, but it’s far from perfect.

Score: review-stars-3

Neptunia Virtual Stars is now available for the PlayStation 4, both as a phsyical and digital release, and for Windows PC as a digital download.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has produced content for ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

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