As part of the 10th anniversary of the Danganronpa series, developer Spike Chunsoft decided to port the three mainline Danganronpa games to mobile devices. While Spike Chunsoft had already dabbled with the series on mobile devices back in 2015, this time a full port of Danganronpa v3 Anniversary Edition with optimized controls for touch screens and displays was made available, and this review will discuss how this game performs in the mobile port.
As many may know, Danganronpa v3 is a visual novel mixed with an action shooting game style originally released on the PlayStation Vita, but is currently available on various platforms. 16 Ultimate students have been trapped in a school by a killing teddy bear known as Monokuma.
The only way to get out is…by killing someone (any method goes) and getting away with it. Once someone is killed, the investigation begins, and Monokuma takes the survivors to a Class Trial, where if they fail to identify the culprit, the culprit “graduates” and escapes the school, while everyone else perishes to a painful and deadly punishment.
▍Trapped With 16 Students, What Could Go Wrong?
Before we proceed any further, I should mention that this review will contain spoilers from the Chapter 1 case, as the spoiler-free demo scenario that was available on both PS4 and PC is not available for play.
In Danganronpa V3, you play as Kaede Akamatsu, whose Ultimate Talent is the Ultimate Pianist. As you meet other characters, you get to know why or how they got labeled with their Ultimate Talents. Each character has an absolutely unique personality, from cult-lover Ultimate Artist to the horny Ultimate Inventor.
During Free Time Events, which happen in limited quantity during each of the Chapters, you can also learn more about each character’s past, and even give them gifts from the MonoMono Machine. Your experiences with them are recorded in the Report Card.
▍Class Trials Optimized For Mobile!
Class Trials is where the game really shows its UI design and aesthetic of Danganronpa V3. You will face off in a heated argument with all alive students. But not just that, but you’ll also have to solve plenty of puzzle minigames, such as Hangman’s Gambit, where you complete an anagram, and even Psyche Taxi, where you collect letter cubes and then answer a multi-choice question at the end.
One of the big key features that were hyped at the time for the anniversary collections on mobile was the optimizations that the developers have done to make sure you can play Danganronpa v3 on the go without utilizing an external device.
A peculiar change that I certainly did not expect was the complete rehaul of the Downshift and Upsight Skills. In the original PC/PS4 release, they either increased or decreased the speed of your reticle, but since that reticle is absent from the mobile release, the skill was changed to increase the amount of time you get from shooting down white noise.
▍Graphical Imperfection And Awkward Controls On Mobile
Danganronpa v3 is certainly the most detailed of the trilogy, especially when it comes to the Class Trial debates, where the text twists and turns in all sorts of shapes, with the font even changing its color and shape throughout the debate.
However, some of the effects were not optimized on mobile properly, leading to some issues such as texture clipping and popping, and font effects not appearing as they should. Text also often goes off the bounds, and there are also instances where the audio for the characters and the in-game sound effects cut off completely…which all in all makes it a mess to play. The loading times are also very long, which further brings the “lack of optimization” issue to light.
Furthermore, the controls on mobile are quite awkward, specially when you must use the new Lie mechanic to move forward in the story. In the original, you had to hold down your reticle until the bullet changed into a lie, and then release it. But on mobile, that instead is replaced by a button that needs to be pressed down until the same effect is achieved.
▍Is Danganronpa V3 Anniversary Edition Mobile Worth Your Time?
Once again, Danganronpa v3 is a game that is absolutely worth playing, from the UI design and its twists and turns that definitely make the player engaged. However…if I were to describe the mobile release, I would say it arrived too late for the party and was incredibly rushed.
Perhaps if it comes out in the promised May 2021 release window, it would’ve been certainly a way to play Danganronpa on the go, but now that we got the collection as Danganronpa Decadence on the Nintendo Switch since December of last year, I feel that players have way more options when it comes to playing the series on the go now, especially since they were all originally PSP/PS Vita titles.
Danganronpa v3 is now available on a multitude of platforms, and if you don’t mind the lack of the Character Gallery, I would suggest grabbing it on your console of choice. And if you really want a good experience on the go, my suggestion would be getting the Decadence collection, which gives you not just V3 but also the prequel titles 1 and 2 for one affordable price.
Danganronpa v3: Killing Harmony’s mobile edition, unfortunately, gets a 3.5 out of 5.