The game features a 15 interesting characters who you can choose to spend time with to get to know better, and unlock skills, and while not every character will be to everyone's liking, the cast is memorable, and again for lack of a better term, interesting. Once a murder has taken place, the story moves forward at a much faster pace, with clues that must be gathered to unmask the killer, and to stay alive yourself. Gathering clues won't be enough though; you must present your case in an open debate style court session, see through lies, and ultimately reveal what exactly happened to the victim, and by whose machinations.
Beating the game will unlock several rewards, namely an extra game mode as a sort of what-if scenario, where despite the unusual circumstances, there are no murders, and you can upgrade your relationship with your classmates more or less without restriction or fear of punishment. There are also a number of unlockables, including cut scenes, music and a list of items for the hardcore completionists.
Danganronpa was originally released in Japan some years ago as a PSP title, and its upgrade to the Vita for the US release is not without benefits. A number of mechanical upgrades were implemented, including touch controls, and the game overall looks good, if with a strange style. Characters are presented in 2D, while the backdrop is in a strange 2.5D, which can make for some frustrating camera controls. The game has incredibly catchy music, and features voice acting in both Japanese and English.
This game is much more than a simple romp on you handheld. It is an insane, self aware, clever and convoluted experience. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Single Player Appeal: 90/100
Multiplayer Appeal: NA
Value: $40 (100/100)
Grade: 190/200: 95%