Nun Attack has soul. A deep soul. A religious soul.
If I were judging Nun Attack on style alone, I'd give it pretty high marks for its commitment to the 'nuns fighting demons in hellish locations' bit.
Alas, there's also the uncomfortable matter of the gameplay to address. It's here that Nun Attack falls down somewhat, suffering from imprecise controls and a reliance on grind over skill.
But did I mention I liked the bit with the nuns?
The premise is the best bit, so pay attention: in Nun Attack you control a team of good nuns who are out to stop a renegade nun by defeating her legion of demons.
How do they accomplish this? Prayer? Devotion to God? Missionary work?
Nope: guns. Lots and lots of guns. Also the tangible (and apparently available on demand) Will of God.
You battle through dozens of levels on an overworld map, each containing multiple single-screen stages that can only be reached by traversing a small area filled with projectiles.
When in the single-screen areas you fight loads of skeletons, demons, wolf men, and other grizzly foes, while at the end of each level you fight a door that serves as a portal to Hell. You finish up with a big boss fight.
The nuns look great: full of their own (admittedly stereotypical) personalities, from the femme fatale that is Rosy, or the adorably cynical Mandy. The enemies you fight look menacing enough to be a threat, but just comical enough to raise a smile.
The tone expertly balances the sexy, the comic, the serious, the simple, and the sophisticated. It's delightful - which makes the weak gameplay all the more disappointing.
Got soul, not a soldier
Nun Attack is grind, pure and simple, and not an enjoyable one. There's an RPG-lite feel to the battling, thanks to the stat-building elements in the upgradeable weaponry and the unlockable special powers that can drastically alter a battle - such as resurrecting all fallen members or healing the whole group.
When you engage baddies you tap, hold, and drag a line from the nun you wish to use to the enemy you want to attack. You can trigger a more minor (and rechargeable) ability, unique to each nun, but other than that your involvement in fighting is minimal.
Where an equally grind-heavy game like Dragon Quest gets this right is in its smooth flowing menus and snappy battling. Nun Attack has neither.
Controlling each nun is fiddly business, and it's all too easy to have the squad clump together until you can't accurately choose which of the nuns you want to use. In addition, each single-screen section can take minutes, and if you wipe out you have to start the whole stage again.
This last point isn't an issue until you get to the major roadblocks that are the bosses. They change up their attacks, which adds a lot of variety to the gameplay, but they're also extremely powerful, so you don't get many chances to react.
You'll either need a set of special powers or the high-end weapon upgrades to defeat them, and all of this costs in-game money, which is given out very slowly. It's so slow that you can easily imagine this working as a freemium title, where you pay for the currency in micro-transactions.
Oh, wait - it is a freemium title on Android. Only now it's on your Vita, so you get to pay for it up-front too.
For such an exciting and well thought-out game in its presentation, Nun Attack is depressingly dull to play. Clumsy controls and an emphasis on repeating older levels mar a game that otherwise had a lot of potential.