I already commented about this game, about its rather curious origin and well and i don’t want to repeat myself, but after having finished the game i think i can write a little bit more in detail about the game.
Our hero, Syd (that’s the official name, but you can name him, just like Link in the Zelda games) is in a big mess, you see, Syd is in love with Hazuki and Hazuki is in love with Syd and they have been friends since they were little kids, so.. no problem right?, wrong!. Hazuki is the daughter and heir of the doujo in wich our hero learn the swort art, and her father has decided that their doujo will join the Toushinkai tournament to show their prowess, and he has chosen the warrior Bilnas and her daughter to represent the doujo, if Bilnas win he will get the hand of Hazuki (She doesn’t know it)… so, yes, Syd is in a big mess. To try to stop this he decide to participate and win the tournament so they can happily marry. But the toushinkai is no normal tournament, its policies states that each warrior must be accompanied by a beautiful woman, his partner, woman warriors can participate by themselves. The reason for this policies is that if you lose, you lose more than the combat, the combatant and the partner will have to be separated during 1 year, she will also have to work during one year or pay a ridiculous sum of money and to finish, she will “date” the winner of the combat… yeah, those are some weird rules and the reason is because
it used to be a hentai game you are not only losing you honour and or life, you’re losing a lot more, so, only the mightiest warriors which are very sure of their abilities would join the tournament. Then, if Syd wants to participate, he will need a beautiful partner, and surely he founds one, the lovely Serena, his sister (like usual in these kind of stories, they are siblings but not by blood). After crawling through dungeons, beating all kind of monsters and warriors, Syd somehow makes it to the final and beat Bilnas (up to this point is about 30h of gameplay), then the two lovers can be reunited, get back to their village and eventually get married… and then everything take a loop for the worst. That’s all i’m going to say about the story, saying more would spoil the surprise to potential players ;).
The game will give you plenty of gaming time (about 50h). but this game is not like, let’s say Final Fantasy VII with a huge world and a bunch of different villages, cities, dungeons… here you have one city in which you choose the location you want to visit from a list, and 2 dungeons, a small one you will visit at the very start of the game and then you have the main one where you will go to train for the tournament and level up. Technically it’s a single dungeon, but each floor is like a whole different world (wood, ruins, pyramid, hell…). Even if the key moments during a good part of the game are the Toushinkai combat, you will spend most of you times at the dungeon fighting some random monsters and doing some sidequests so hopefully you will like it. The game progress is divided in days, some days are different but usually a days is as follow: we will wake up and stand up from bed, we will speak with Serena and then go to the town to get more information, buy items, etc… if there is something remarkable, it usually shows up in the map; and then we go into the dungeon where we will move through a 3D dungeon in a third person view were aside from the random monster a important event always happen to keep the story going. From time to time you have to take some decisions that will affect somewhat the story progression, but as you can figure up, the fighting is the soul of the game
The game system has its peculiarities that differentiate it from other games , but there is nothing totally revolutionary . Just after starting the game and beating a couple of monsters we meet Sakuya , the “Level Up Priestess” appears and it is a unique feature of this title, in that while we get experience points in the ordinary way, we can decide if we want to gain level immediately or be keeping that experience and level up when we want… for example, it’s very likely that if we stay at lower level , enemies will give us more experience ( seems very reasonable but the truth is that I haven’t payed too much attention at this point ) but more importantly, when we level up we regain full health and magic points , so it is quite sensible to level up just when we are at our limit, with barely any HP or MP point left (you can not level up in the middle of a fight ), the game is quite generous in this sense and we can recover completely at any save point ( there are usually 2 per floor) and even if we are at the worst possible condition (but still alive!) ,we can escape the dungeon at any time ( other than during a battle) and resume exploration after already recovered .
Sakuya herself will tell us a couple of peculiarities about our character, even though you can not use magic ( magic exists in this world , it’s just that Syd isn’t a magician ) , he has the Girls Gift ( Gift from now and on ) a skill for which the feelings of the girls become new skills , these skills can be very varied , maybe it’s a new attack, 20 extra points of HP or some magic enhanced attacks.
But the crux of this are the monster girls. In the game there are two distinct types of enemies :
and the Monsters Girls…
By all means, the two groups are enemies and will try to kill you, the difference is that you can catch the monster girls with some special cards ( pokeball style ) … in theory anyone can do that, capture monster girls, but the hero can also establish a special bond of trust with the monster girls allowing him to use their powers. It is similar to the gift , but better in most cases … there are some gifts that are equal to the abilities of the monster girls which seems silly , but it has its reason. In addition, monster girls can level up (1, 2 , max ) which enhances their skills and when they reach the highest level, every time we use the monster girls abilities a short cut scene animation (2 or 3 seconds) will play… each monster girl has a minimum of 2 skills, but some have up to 3; the two abilities that all monster girls have can only be used in combat and we have to opt for one of those skills before the fighting ( in the middle of a battle it can not be changed ), there is an active ability that we will choose voluntarily from a menu like a spell or special attack (ice Attack !) that will deplete our magic points… and a passive skill, which will activate by itself (for example, counter attack any fire attack received) only when needed (or randomly) and will not spend magic points , these skills are usually more simple (counter attack, cure poison, improve our defences against one type of element… ) but extremely useful. The third skill that only a few monster girls have normally allow us access to areas that would be otherwise impossible for us ( knock down walls , floating over water , jump … ) . Whichever way you look at it, the monster girls are more useful than the gifts .
The game use a combat system in which you never face actively more than 1 enemy even if there are 5 or 6, as you defeat one, the next one enter the scene, then again, you are also on you own too, so you can’t depend in another character saving your bacon. The game uses a turn-based system with action points (AP), each action ( protect yourself, use the sword, skills or objects) requires a number of points, so if we have 2AP ( each turn you get back all the points , according to your level you have more or less points ) you can use a normal attack and shield yourself (2 points ) or just use a gift that requires 2 points. There are several types of elemental attacks (fire, water , earth, light … ) and abnormal states such as sleep paralysis or inability to use gifts, monster girl skills or objects. It depends on the specifics of the enemy ( and some are VERY particular ), but as a general rule, the sword itself is quite useless and it’s usually better to use a a monster girl skill or a gift , of course there are plenty of abnormal states which will prevent you to use most of your options, because of that, more often than not it’s not matter of what is better to use and more like, what can i do with what i have left?… because of that is useful that some gifts and skills are very similar, if you can’t use the skills (which are usually better) you can fall back to the gifts and if that fails, well, you could use the sword but take my word and better use any object to remove any abnormal state and use the shield all the time (the more AP you use with shield, the more it will protect you)
The game is kind of plain technically, the exploration part (the dungeons) uses some very simple polygon models and even in a couple of floors you will see some slowdowns for no particular reason, everything else ( battles, talking characters , etc. ) are done in a 2D with nothing short of awesome and outstanding characters/enemies design, the downside is that aside of the the mini anime sequences of the monster girls’ attacks and the special effects of attacks (sparks, lightning, etc.), everything else is static … actually when you face an enemy the artwork suffers slight deformations to simulate a continuous movement, for example you will see some parts stretch and contract slightly simulating the breathing … and actually it looks good!, but the problem remains. About the sound, there is nothing to complain here, you have some catchy tunes (the whole soundtrack is really good) , many voice lines.
Particularly I liked the game much more than what I expected ( and I expected that I would like it ) , it’s clearly a case of game made more eager than means … but with enough means 😉 . The game is rated Cero D for over 17 years old and the first impression from the images might be for scantily clothed ladies and of course that’s a good reason , but actually, once you reach a certain point in the game some pretty strong stuff is going on that is implied or described (even if graphically nothing too gruesome is shown).
If you do not mind all the fanservice (there are some parts that can be avoided, but not all) and that the the plot of the game before improving becomes so much worse than it started, it is a rather good game, so far one of my favorite 3DS games.
PD: Sorry for the poor English and for taking so long!