Review: Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s

The Vita's long lineup of Japanese games with an underwear fetish helped make it popular in the west, with the likes of Punch Line, Konosuba, Criminal Girls and Akiba's Trip all delving into some sort of fetish. With Pantsu Hunter, there's no need to wait years for the translation, as its a western effort at the mildly saucy visual novel/adventure from Ascension Dream.

The relatively simple aim is to relieve ladies of their underwear as part of a science experiment. Our "hero" in the guise of the hapless Kenji has a theory about love and knickers. Fortunately, we're only borrowing them from around their homes or the local hot baths by going through some 70s-farce style shenanigans over four chapters with a range of young ladies.  PSA - REMEMBER - stealing pants is still a crime!

With no manual saving, if you screw up then its back to the start. So take notes or make a chart of what helps you progress and what goes wrong. Each girl has a number of panties stashed in their location, and there good, true and many other endings to each segment. To help out, hold down the square button and you'll see all the action points in a scene.

Some interactions are obvious, others require multiple uses or this-item-on-that-object, all laced with 90s nostalgia from VHS machines to computer viruses and more. With  mildly erotic scenes, this isn't a deep game, with about four to five hours of play, with plenty of silly scenes that you might enjoy. Whatever your moral stance, it is gentle and a funny reminder of life if you've ever been a "good friend" to someone.

You can be too nice, too course, plain offensive and easily get booted back to the start. The sepia/pastel tone of the visuals adds a certain charm, and the music has that lounge lizard touch to it. The voice acting is perfect for the roles. while extra scenes reveal the inner pains and desires of the ladies, so if anything the game can teach bone-headed males to look beyond the surface.

Annoyingly, sometimes the text can be read out of order, or doesn't quite make sense. I guess the typeface could be a point larger on the Vita's screen, and there's still long loading times and hefty pauses, even though a recent patch has improved performance. The pace can really drag if you're trying to get back to where you were too, but with a little patience this is a nostalgic little trip through the perils of meeting and winning the hearts (or pants) of young ladies.

Score: 7/10
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Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Ascension Dream/Sometimes You
File size 669MB
Progress:  Found some pants
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