Azur Lane: Crosswave
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Azur Lane is still a pretty popular mobile game, full of cute anime boat girls and a bullet-hell gameplay loop. Azur Lane: Crosswave brought the characters and all of the fanservice that comes with them to a 3D experience on PlayStation 4. In our review, we mentioned that it was a solid love letter to its origins while bringing something new to the table. Now the same game has been ported to the Nintendo Switch, with a little extra content thrown in.
Azur Lane: Crosswave takes the popular mobile game and fully realizes it as a 3D action game. The player can control their ships in a 3D space, gliding across the water as they shoot waves of enemies while dodging bullets. In between battles players will upgrade their ships, watch them chat, and enjoy the simple but quirky story. All of this stays incredibly faithful to the mobile game but removes the gacha, which can be the selling or breaking point for players.
The gameplay loop of Azur Lane: Crosswave is simple but enjoyable. A few ships are taken into battle and the player will control one while the others are controlled by AI. Players can change characters to play as on the fly, adding depth and variety to the battles. The action has some variety to it, but most missions play out the same. The ships are dropped into the ocean, fight some generic enemies, then take on a boss. Players will spam primary attacks while firing specials that are spaced out by cooldowns. If you’ve played Azur Lane, all of this will already be familiar to you. Azur Lane: Crosswave is exactly what you would imagine a 3D Azur Lane game to be. It’s a casual affair that is great for those who want Shoot-em-up action without the high difficulty and precision needed in bullet hell games.
With over 30 different playable characters from five different factions, there are plenty of characters to choose from. The lack of gacha makes acquiring characters feel natural. To unlock a character, a player simply needs to acquire a certain amount of in-game currency. If players are really only interested in getting a few specific waifus, they will be able to earn them easily. For completionists, Azur Lane: Crosswave will be a bit of a grind. The missions don’t reward a lot of currency and it can take some time to unlock a character. Still, the many modes and characters make that grind just a bit easier if players are interested in experimenting with the customization and cast.
While I was disappointed with the port for Megadimension Neptunia VII, this one is handled much better. The frame rate holds up just as well on the Switch as it does on the PlayStation 4. If you want to experience this game on the go, you won’t have to compromise much. The 3D character models do look noticeable worse on the Switch. Everything looks a little more chunky, including the bland water-filled stages that players will fight in over and over again. This doesn’t really change whether the Switch is docked or in handheld mode.
The visual novel segments look great though, and the Switch does have some advantages over the PlayStation 4. There are a lot of dialogue-heavy scenes, most of which being told through pictures and text. On the Switch, this story-presentation works much better. Reading tons of dialogue on a TV isn’t ideal, so playing in handheld mode is ideal.
Fans of the Azur Lane franchise will likely enjoy all of the fanservice that it throws at them. Those who aren’t fans likely aren’t the target demographic. There are plenty of opportunities to get to know the characters here, but the story isn’t too impressive. Still, the lack of gacha does make this decent game to check out, especially if someone is interested in the franchise. Otherwise, this game is a pass, even if the Switch is the best way to play Azur Lane: Crosswave.
Azur Lane: Crosswave
Azur Lane: Crosswave is a neat way to get into the franchise, but doesn't offer much more than fanservice.