Pirates are always a sure way to make a game exciting. Who doesn’t love the idea of sailing the seas, plundering and pillaging along the way with a trusty crew at their side? There is just one thing that can make the pirate’s life even more appealing, and that is, of course, copious fan service. That’s the idea behind Seven Pirates H, which combines turn-based combat with physics-defying busts on Nintendo Switch.
Seven Pirates H isn’t exactly a new game; it was originally released as Genkai Tokki: Seven Pirates for the PlayStation Vita back in 2016, but only saw release in Japan at the time. Now, thanks to the good folks at Eastasiasoft, the Western world gets to enjoy this surprisingly fun and deep RPG on the Switch. As an older title ported to a modern console, the visuals aren’t going to blow anyone away, but they are stylised enough that they hold up well.
In Seven Pirates H, players control a crew of pirates led by Parute as they explore the Monsupi Sea in search of treasure. Early in her adventure, Parute is stranded on a strange island with only the strange and perverted Otton for company. Otton claims that he can increase Parute’s strength, speed, and endurance through the ancient art of “Booby Training,” a talent he picked up earlier and that seems to rely on him manually manipulating the subject’s breasts. Naturally.
The Booby Training mechanic is one of the main ways that characters advance in strength or speed, offering a unique system for building your pirate crew to suit your play style. Increasing the size of the character’s bust can increase their hit points or attack power while smaller or firmer breasts allow them to move faster or have a higher defence skill. Having certain combinations of stats can even unlock powerful special moves to unleash on enemies. Of course, this means manipulating their “assets” with either the sticks of the Joy-con controllers or, if you’re in handheld mode, with the Switch’s touchscreen.
This is almost certainly not the kind of game you want to play on public transport or where someone might walk in unexpectedly. However, there is more to Seven Pirates H than just fan service. The combat, while simple, has just about enough depth to it to keep things interesting for several hours, beyond which it begins to get tiresome. Players can eventually field a party of four characters, all of them with a mixture of stats and elemental affinities. They must choose between performing basic attacks, defending, or unleashing special attacks earned through equipment or by stat combinations.
Composing a party with the right elemental affinity to defend against the damage a boss throws at you is almost as important as making the right choice during combat. This is both to the game’s credit, as it requires a bit of strategy going into big fights by making sure that all your characters have the right stats for the job, and to its detriment. Provided you have the right party line-up ready, many fights are over before you begin, removing the tension from many encounters.
There is a wrinkle to the system that we found interesting. MP – which stands for Mura-mura Points here – is earned by either attacking or being attacked. Once 100 MP is reached, characters enter a state called Excited, which boosts attack, defence, and agility. Max out MP at 200 and characters become aroused. This results in even higher stat boosts and immunity to certain status ailments. However, characters can use all their MP to perform powerful Special Attacks which look flashy and deal high damage but leave them with no MP left and end the Aroused state.
Picking and choosing when and how to use special attacks is a fun bit of strategy to throw into an otherwise simple combat system. Everything is run on a familiar turn-based system and players can see the turn order at the bottom of the screen. It doesn’t throw many surprises at the player, but that isn’t always a bad thing depending on what you want to get out of the game. The Auto-Battle feature becomes a welcome reprieve when exploring dungeons for the second time to get crafting materials or complete missions.
While the fan service in this game might make some people cringe, there is a worthwhile story hiding away just beneath the surface here. Parute must assemble a new crew after crashing on a monster-infested island in the Monsupi Sea. This crew eventually consists of seven monster girls, including a kobold-girl, a slime-girl, and a demon-girl. There is even a kraken-girl in the mix for the tentacle enthusiasts out there. The story is heavy on comedy and light on drama, making this a fun romp even if you’ll be able to spot the ending coming at you a mile away. The story becomes primarily about the bonds these girls make with each other, which are explored through the side quests and plot missions.
To advance the plot, recruit more girls, and find crafting materials for new equipment, you’ll need to explore the dungeons that are in the islands littered across the world map. Each dungeon has one or two linear routes to take through the map, which is filled with monsters to fight. These monsters are visible so you don’t need to worry about random encounters slowing you down. The dungeon maps also have crafting materials that can be harvested by approaching the sparkling lights that are on the ground, encouraging a bit of exploration.
Still, these maps never become complicated to make your way around. Most can be completed in a single sitting without much difficulty. In the end a boss will appear, and these tend to have outrageously large health bars and can take a long time to get through, but they also introduce the Otton Cannon feature.
During a boss fight, the player can choose to charge up the Otton Gauge. Doing so in the original Vita required players to shake the console in a somewhat “suggestive” manner, but that isn’t present in the Switch version. Instead, players can either hold down the 'L' and 'R' buttons and rapidly press 'A' to charge the Otton Gauge, or, if playing in handheld mode, they can rub their character’s breasts on the touchscreen. Reach 100% charge and Otton, the perverted little support character that he is, will unleash a powerful blast that can take down even the most stubborn of enemies. Many bosses can only be defeated with a well-timed Otton Cannon so knowing when to charge it becomes a key to victory. It is silly and harmlessly crude, which fits in with the overall tone of the game.
Seven Pirates H is not a title that wishes to be taken seriously. While there is a decent story and fun characters behind the fan service, the shallow combat can become tiresome after a few hours. It is fun and a lot of the humour lands, but the actual gameplay can be a bit threadbare. While the headline Booby Training mechanic is an interesting way to customise your party, it doesn’t break up the monotony of the gameplay. This is a title that won't keep to occupied too long and is best enjoyed in in fits and starts, and very much within the privacy and comfort of one’s own home.