To unlock NEXT form, you must first have HDD form unlocked. To unlock HDD, you must use the Scouts to find hidden treasures in the dungeons. Some of these hidden treasures will be items, others will be giant golden rings. Collecting the giant golden rings will transport you to another dimension, the Blue Sphere Dimension, where you play a Blue Spheres minigame to earn a Chaos Sharicite. Collecting 7 Chaos Sharicites unlocks HDD. After unlocking HDD, you may begin unlocking NEXT form once you begin the Hyperdimension Neptunia G arc. Once again, you must use Scouts to find hidden treasures, which may be the giant golden rings. If you didn't collect all the Chaos Sharicites already, you will get the regular golden rings, otherwise you will get the flashing rainbow rings, which transport you to the Hidden Blue Sphere Palace, located in the Blue Sphere Dimension. From there, you may begin collecting Super Sharicites by clearing more difficult Blue Spheres minigames. After collecting 7 once again, you will be able to access NEXT form in combat. If you fail to unlock NEXT form this way, it will be automatically be unlocked on the Affimojas fight at the end of the arc, however you won't be able to fight the true last boss in space.
To activate NEXT form, your character must first already be in HDD, which requires one EXE drive bar. Then, a turn after transforming to HDD (you cannot transform to NEXT form on the same turn), you transform again. To reach NEXT form, you need an additional EXE drive bar, as well as 50 Credits. After pressing (and holding) the transform button, the player is required to yell loudly into their mic for 3 minutes straight. If you mess up, the transformation is cancelled, and you have to wait until next turn to try again. If your computer is not equipped with a mic, you cannot use NEXT form. When in NEXT form, stats are not increased, and Skills instead are buffed with greater range, greater power, and less cost. Each character also gets a special NEXT EXE Drive Skill, which requires 2 EXE bars and cancels transformation after use, requiring you to double transform again to reach NEXT form. These EXE Drives are devastatingly powerful, which quite makes up for it, but since it's difficult to reach NEXT form again, these moves should only be used when it's a certain kill. There is a bug in older versions of VII that causes characters in NEXT form to flash bright colors. This bug was quickly patched out, however.
Let's be honest. The NEXT form designs are... not great. The transition from the swimsuit based wear of the HDD forms to the weird spandex suits of the NEXT forms is a weird downgrade. Why do they go from normal clothes -> one-piece swimsuits -> full-body suits? Atleast be consistent in the direction you're going! Either skimpier or more clothed, don't change your mind midway! That's just the tip of the iceberg, though, really. Riddle me this: what in the actual fuck is that shit behind NEXT Purple? And holy hell those boots. It's a good thing she can fly already. CPU parts were ridiculous already, but this really takes the cake. And what is WITH NEXT Black's and NEXT White's fucking gauntlets? Can you imagine trying to perform basic daily tasks with those damn shits on? Just try grabbing a cup of coffee or something. It's not happening. Okay, okay, I get it. These are combat forms. Specialized in combat. So it makes sense that these giant fucking gauntlets are for punching shit, right? No? You're just gonna hold a dinky ass sword with it? ... okay... Now don't even get me fucking started on NEXT White's wings. Is Blanc a fucking angel now? Bullshit, not on my goddamn watch. Ain't no fuckin' way, with a mouth like hers, or mine. I'll bet the only reason why she has wings is because she's NEXT White. Really, how shallow. I know she's a goddess, but she's not that kind of goddess, okay. And what in everloving FUCK is with NEXT Green's HORN?! Is she a goddamn unicorn?! Though, NEXT Green's desgn is maybe kind of okay. The addition of the country logos to the NEXT outfits is a nice touch also.
There is also quite a bit of controversy regarding the requirements to activate NEXT form. Many users who didn't have a mic complained about the mic requirement, which was also complained about by mic owners. As such, in the remake, VIIR, the NEXT transformation only requires that you are already in HDD, and nothing else. The Chaos and Super Sharicites were also removed, and the NEXT forms are only unlocked in the event before the Affimojas fight.