8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Mystery Dungeon game. It’s been a pretty fun ride getting to experience all of these games. It had to come to an end at some point though. This one definitely ends things on a high note. Not only is it the longest game in the series (or at least it took me the longest amount of time to complete) but it adds a bunch of new features that are pretty cool. This is definitely a game with a ton of replay value as well so it’s really a win-win when you think about it.

The game starts off with the main character getting transported into the Pokemon world. He used to be a human but he has lost all of his memories which is pretty unfortunate. He is attacked by some Beeheeyem and fortunately gets saved by Nuzleaf. Nuzleaf takes Terry (main character) home to his village where he meets up with Snaz (main partner) and they become quick friends. There are some bullies in the village but for the most part it’s a pretty nice place. Snaz hopes to one day become an Expedition member but kids aren’t allowed so he will keep training in the meantime. Terry does his best to fit in and has lots of adventures. Meanwhile in the main plot, someone or something has been turning Pokemon to stone. It is targeting all of the legendary and mythical Pokemon. Whoever this villain is, it’s definitely someone powerful. If the Pokemon don’t watch out they will all be conquered before they have a chance to fight back.

I definitely like the idea of someone trying to get all of the legendaries. We haven’t really seen a plot like that and it’s also a good chance for all of these Pokemon to appear. It’s definitely a cool premise and while I would have liked to have seen some of these fights on screen, I suppose that would have been difficult. Still, in terms of plot this is definitely pretty high tier and probably the game with the highest stakes. Explorers of Darkness has the best plot to me though with all of the time travel but this threat is more high tier. We even get to see the heavyweights like Mewtwo and Rayquaza. Who’d have thought that all of these guys would have had to team up? A movie based on this would be pretty cool.

The story is definitely a lot of fun. It gives you time to get introduced to all of the characters and make connections. Once the climax hits then you also get to have a lot of big battles and plot twists galore. The series also has fun flipping the script near the end as all of the games tend to have the same beginning and ending. This one throws a little wrinkle into that which I thought was pretty cool. It felt like the game was being pretty self aware there.

The gameplay is your classic dungeon exploration like the others. The goal is to reach the exit of each floor and this goes on until you end the dungeon. Each Pokemon has 4 attacks and you should use them carefully because it’s easy to run out of PP. As you go through the dungeon you’ll pick up items. A new addition here is a ring that lets you attach little items onto it in order to boost your stats or inflict status changes on the opponents. These are incredibly handy and it’ll be nearly impossible to beat some levels without it unless you do some hard grinding. There are a ton of mechanics in this game like the Alliance moves which allow you to use more than one attack at a time. I’d advise you to learn them all and fortunately the game does bring them up so you can’t really miss em.

Another new addition is if you die during a dungeon, you can rescue yourself by sending another team in. This may not be so handy at first but later on in the game you will have tons of Pokemon ready to help you out. As soon as I got my Level 50 Dragonite I was ready for business. You can only rescue yourself 5 times per dungeon though so don’t use it as an excuse to die all the time. Also, you can’t rescue yourself during a boss battle of course so play those very carefully. Leveling up in this game takes a super long time so the emphasis is really on using items. I beat this game in the 20s which is pretty unheard of for an RPG so don’t underestimate the power of items. They are extremely handy.

Another good tactic in this game is to hide behind your partner Pokemon. Let them take all of the risks while you take the rewards. Trust me, this is a tactic that will really take you far. You can use various commands to try and manipulate them but the easiest way is to walk close to an enemy and then hide behind your teammate which forces them into battle. As you battle your attacks will also gain level ups which makes them more powerful and more accurate. This is really handy if you tend to always use the same attack over and over.

Super Mystery Dungeon does a fine job of mixing elements from previous games together. I feel like they knew this was the last one because of how much this feels like the final entry. You take a quiz to determine your Pokemon like in the first games, but if you don’t like the selected one you can override the choice by just picking like in the recent 3DS title. I stayed with the results of the Exam for mine because it felt more fun that way. I ended up being Fennekin. You’ve also got your classic quest system although it has been greatly improved. It’s no longer endless so each mission feels a lot more real now. You also have all 720 Pokemon in the game so you’ve got a ton of quests since many of them want your help. There are also a lot of playable Pokemon, I unlocked around 50 of them and so I’m sure if you were to play it to 100% completion you would unlock a lot more. It’s really cool to play as everybody.

This game really takes all of the mechanics to their absolute best. While we do lose some items from previous games like the farming and building aspects, I can’t really say that they are missed. As long as we have the quests I feel pretty good about it personally. This game can be very difficult because of how low leveled your Pokemon are though. As I mentioned, obtaining EXP takes forever so you’re going to just want to plunge ahead. Use the items carefully and as the game goes on you’ll get a good feel for when to use each one. It’ll come to you. The game also does something fun with the final boss so don’t worry about losing there. Even if it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere, just keep fighting and you’ll be okay. Don’t make the mistake of quitting to try again later.

The graphics here are definitely real solid. It’s still going for that nice 3D approach and we get some fun cutscenes. A really cool visual is when we see two Pokemon firing off a giant energy blast together. It’s a fun team up and the attack is like a Kamehameha. The soundtrack is also fun. It brings back some classic tunes while adding in new ones. There aren’t really any standout themes but what we get is pretty fitting and flows pretty well together with the scenes. At this point some of the tunes will be pretty nostalgic if you’ve been following the series. The story is pretty long at around 17 hours and the post game is enormous since you have to try and find all of the Pokemon/Complete all of the quests. You won’t be completing this game very quickly that’s for sure.

Overall, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon is pretty great. It really ends the series off on a high note. Ultimately I would rank the series as follows: 1. Pokemon Explorers of Darkness 2. Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon 3. Pokemon Gates to Infinity 4. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon the original. This one really ranks up there and it’s just hard not to get sucked into it. There’s so much to do here and every part of the game really feels like a lot of time and money was put into it. You will definitely not be disappointed in the slightest. If you don’t have this game yet then I recommend changing that. It’s a really solid Pokemon RPG.

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 41m

Species 55/270
Connected 55
Rank Bronze

Pokemon Stats (Level)

Terry 23
Sylveon 26
Vulpix 24
Axew 23
Salamence 50
Azumarill 28
Azurill 26
Raichu 24
Keldeo 41
Wynaut 29
Primeape 31
Politoad 32
Bellossom 38
Maractus 28
Meloetta 43
Vivillon 30
Spinda 36
Buneary 27
Virizion 42
Cubone 26
Clefairy 28
Machamp 31
Druddigon 30
Binacle 23
Helioptile 27
Goodra 50
Ludicolo 28
Charizard 38
Seviper 35
Cherrim 30
Pansear 21
Smeargle 32
Smoochum 29
Flaffy 36
Furret 37
Fearow 32
Gabite 30
Drilbur 33
Bisharp 53
Sneasel 27
Whiscash 34
Alakazam 56
Tyranitar 55
Pachirisu 29
Munchlax 23
Marshtomp 27
Petilil 33
Dragonite 55
Emolga 33
Dunsparce 34
Bayleef 25

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game. This one actually ended up being the longest one yet so it definitely gave you time to be attached to the characters. It’s a great game and definitely one that I would recommend. While it is not quite able to top the last one, it really has no weaknesses. The mechanics are easy to pick up on and we get some pretty cool cinematics. Now there is only one Mystery Dungeon game left so I am definitely going to miss them when they’re gone.

The game starts off with Terry arriving from the human world and turning into a Pokemon. He meets up with Tepig who is trying to build a Pokemon guild so they can share paradise with him. “Paradise” is the name of the town that Tepig is creating but it’s been tough since Pokemon in this world don’t like each other which makes things pretty tricky. Terry agrees to help Tepig and initially they start by befriending local Pokemon and getting materials to build the house. We get more of a plot soon as a mysterious pair of Pokemon show up and explain that the world as we know it is about to end. The heroes will now have to buckle up and head out to protect the present, but doing so may involve destroying the future. Can Terry and Tepig really pull the trigger and make such a call?

While the plot does get pretty high tier as you would expect, it does have a longer opening act than the last title to allow you to get used to the village and the members. Since part of the plot deals with Pokemon not liking each other the game wants to really make sure you know what’s going on here before you get into the meat of the story. It’s a fun opening act though and part of why it’s solid is because Terry is solid. He talks quite a bit more than the other main characters from previous games which I think is definitely a good move. He feels like a natural leader and doesn’t rely on thought bubbles. One particularly impressive scene is when he takes down 3 bosses at once and later holds his own against another 5 before being saved. Terry is portrayed as a real fighter here and it was really a lot of fun to play as him.

The supporting cast is also pretty solid. Tepig’s a nice guy and he’s a lot more reasonable than your partner from the last game. Tepig at least always tries to do the right thing and doesn’t keep hounding on the other characters over mild matters. Emolga and Dunsparce have a good bond between them. I like that Emolga was always ready to step up for his friend and make the hard calls. If anything Dunsparce was just less impressive because he was a bit too gullible and obsessed with Virizion. Virizion was solid as one of the wise characters and while she didn’t really believe in friends, I couldn’t really blame her for that. She certainly did not have the best prior experiences with them. I also loved having her on the party because of how powerful she was.

Umbreon and Espeon are pretty solid. They are definitely very business oriented so they don’t mess around as much as the others. The Voice of Life made for a pretty interesting character. Just from the name you can tell that this guy has quite a lot of power. Unfortunately I have to give him a thumbs down here because at the end of the day he keeps saying that he has no choice and can’t really do anything about anything but you gotta be able to do more than that when you have cosmic powers. What’s the point if at the end of the day you’re not going to use them? Kyurem was definitely cool though. All of his scenes were definitely pretty hype and he had a menacing air about him. His goal also wasn’t all that bad. It was actually very reasonable which made him a compelling antagonist.

One subplot in the game that I don’t think was really needed though was Keldeo. The plot wouldn’t have really changed almost any part of the story so if you cut him out it all works out quite nicely. He tries to talk a bit tough by the end but nobody’s buying that. As for Kyurem’s position that I mentioned earlier, it’s basically that you shouldn’t change the future just because you don’t like it. The whole concept of the game is that we’re going to change the future because it turns out to be an apocalyptic one while Kyurem’s saying that it has to be preserved. I’ve always been for changing the timestream so I’m not objective in the slightest but I’m with the heroes here. If it’s a bad future then you’ve got to change it.

Additionally, it’s Kyurem’s view that we’re changing the future. Last I checked, the whole game takes place in the present so his argument loses a lot of steam. So long as we did not build a time machine or something it’s all fair game if you ask me. So in effect by trying to stop us he’s changing the future just as much. No future is certain unless you’re actively moving through time. Thanos for example has a stronger case since the Avengers got salty that they lost and started playing with time. That’s not what the heroes are doing here.

The gameplay is your traditional overhead turn based combat. It plays out a bit like a Fire Emblem game only you are moving through a dungeon. You recover health as you move and the goal is always to get to the final dungeon where you may or may not fight a boss. You have 4 different attacks and can have up to 3 partners with you. Be careful, your main partner will count as a second life so if one of you dies then the whole mission is a fail. Just something to watch out for because your partners tend to take really big risks for some reason.

Also, make sure you have a good amount of items before tackling the final boss. I had saved up a ton of them throughout the game so I was ready for it. Otherwise, you could be in for a pickle because the game saves after the first form of the final boss so if you’re not ready to fight the real one then you could end up being stuck in a loop. Hopefully there’s a way out of that but I didn’t intend on risking everything to find out. That’s why I always keep items in the bank for tricky situations like that. I was really glad I had the stash when I walked into the fight. One tip I have is to use the orbs you get during the levels. You get some that will put every Pokemon to sleep for example and they are incredibly handy.

The main campaign should definitely last you a clean 15 hours at the least. Aside from that the game has a ton of content to explore. You can get materials and money to build up the town and make a lot of gardens. I didn’t really play around with this feature, but there’s a lot you can do here. Additionally there are a bunch of extra dungeons and Pokemon to recruit to your cause. You can also work on maxing your guild’s rank up. If you do all of this the game should really last you for quite a long time. Then we get to the graphics and soundtrack which are both quite solid. The soundtrack has some catchy tunes even if none of them are all stars. The graphics are particularly impressive with each of the characters having a 3D model now. That’s not something we’ve really seen a whole lot so it was pretty fun.

Overall, Gates to Infinity is definitely a great game. The gameplay is tight and naturally the graphics/soundtrack are good as well. You’ll have a lot of fun here and aside from a pretty solidly long story you’ve also got a whole lot of post game content to work with. I expect you’ll definitely be kept busy with this game for quite some time. I doubt the price would be too crazy nowadays and either way this game has enough content to really make it worth your while. We really need more Pokemon spinoffs to come out soon because they’ve been pretty dynamite. Pokemon lends itself well to the RPG format.

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 12m
Quests Completed 58
Rank: Silver
Gold Bars 21

Character Levels

Tepig 39
Terry 39
Pansear 25
Woobat 2
Venipede 16
Sandile 21
Yamask 24
Emolga 39
Dunsparce 6
Espeon 27
Umbreon 26
Hydreigon 64
Virizion 37
Keldeo 50

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Professor Layton game. This one’s been on my list to buy for a very long time so it’s nice to finally have it. It’s a nice conclusion to the series and I hope to see more games come out at some point. I’ll need to get the spinoff for the Switch soon. The Azran Legacy hits all the right notes that you’ve come to expect from the Layton series and it even added some platforming puzzles which was pretty cool. Throw in a lot of twists and turns and you’re in for a fun ride.

The heroes receive a letter from Sycamore asking for their help in solving the Azran legacy. The heroes need to find out what the ancient civilization left for the modern generation and if this is a good thing or not. Unfortunately there is a villain group known as Targent which is after the Azran legacy as well. Layton manages to save a girl named Aurora from their clutches. She has been in stasis for hundreds of years and is the Azran messenger although most of her memories are gone. Perhaps they will return as the heroes collect more of the Azran relics. If the heroes gain them all they will be able to open the door to the future. Time is not on their side though.

This game definitely goes more into fantasy/sci-fi territory than the previous ones. The Azran have technology that is quite advanced including lasers, robots, and the ability to keep people alive for hundreds of years. You can reasonably say that this is technology we will have in the future though. The Azran don’t seem like the nicest people out there even if they may have a lot of good points about how humans are still corrupt in the present. The Targent officials don’t paint the brightest picture of humanity. There are two main members of the group who function like Team Rocket. They’re not really a threat to Layton, but they always get up for another go at things.

The gameplay is the same as the other installments. You travel across different lands and gather information on the mystery. Typically people will only give you clues if you solve their mysteries. Once you do that then they become a lot more receptive to your cause. The puzzles come in all shapes and sizes and they’re pretty fair for the most part. On occasion you may see a puzzle that doesn’t make sense from the description, but it makes sense in hindsight after seeing the solution. Trial and error will get you far, but you’ve also got puzzle coins for the ones that really stump you. So long as you activate the coins you are given hints which make the puzzle a lot more manageable.

There are also a lot of minigames and other little features to have fun with. A new addition to this game is the newspaper which you can use to read about various events. The main game should take you around 15 hours or so to complete and the post game content of completing every puzzle will likely extend this to around 20 hours. It’s a pretty good deal for your buck and it could also take over 20 hours depending on how you’re able to handle the final puzzles. Some of them certainly get really difficult by the end.

As always the game doesn’t cheap out on the graphics. We get fully animated cutscenes which is a lot of fun and in general the graphics are quite clear. It all feels very polished which is always a good thing. The soundtrack brings a lot of the familiar tunes back. Although I would have liked some new themes too, these worked well enough for the scenes. It’s all got a very peaceful air to it.

Layton is a very solid protagonist as always. He’s a quick thinker and can usually stay one step ahead of the villains. He can also fight when necessary like when he got into a sword duel with the main villain. He was able to win despite having the inferior weapon. Layton also manages to stay as a gentleman no matter what is thrown at him and that’s absolutely crucial. You can’t break down when the going gets tough. Luke’s a good trainee to have as always. While he isn’t quite old enough to really help Layton out in all of the cases, he does what he can. He’s not the kind of kid to hesitate.

Emmy is a lot of fun and has really helped the group’s dynamic in this trilogy. She’s always upbeat and ready for a good puzzle. She has a bit of a rivalry going with Luke as she likes to mess with him quite a bit. As Layton’s official assistant she is also quite adept at puzzles and her martial arts are second to none. Then you’ve got Sycamore who is a puzzle genius like Layton. The guy is rich and resourceful so he is quite helpful in this game as well. He seems to have a solid honor code and is always ready to put the mission on hold to save people in trouble. He may have shown up out of nowhere, but is very important to the game’s plot.

Aurora has been in stasis for a long time so she doesn’t know a whole lot about human culture. Fortunately the game doesn’t play that up to a crazy extent so she’s not a bad character. I felt bad for her near the end when everyone just watches as someone gets ready to stab her. Couldn’t someone have manned up to stop this from happening? If I were Aurora I’d be pretty sore at this whole chain of events. She took the situation well and didn’t take things personally…even if perhaps she should have. Then we have the main villain Bronev. He’s a fun villain leader although his screen time is incredibly short despite being the head honcho. I think adding in some more scenes would have helped to make him more memorable. It’s hard to have any sympathy for him even when he gets his origin story though. His actions make 0 sense and so I’m glad that Layton shut him down even if he wasn’t as merciless as he could have been. I’d have had Layton end with his first line and not say the last few.

The game is a mystery so we have a few twists and turns. There are 2 main ones. One of them you’ll likely have figured out from the opening level depending on how you’ve been watching the patterns. You may not guess the exact twist, but it’s one that the series has already used 2-3 times so you’re almost expecting it. The second twist was a lot more unexpected though and worked pretty well. The game really put Layton through the ringer having to deal with all of this. The twist does hurt the second character a lot though. The first character was never truly changed so that’s one thing, but for this character it’s a 180. It’s just hard to come back from something like that and it’s probably why the character got written out. (And because the series ended)

Overall, Layton and the Azran Legacy is a very solid installment in the series which can hold its own against the others. My favorite is still the time travel adventure but after that most of them are pretty neck and neck. One thing I’ve liked about the prequel trilogy is how all of the games tie into each other pretty well. The Azran were referenced quite early on in the prior games. Emmy also adds a lot to the dynamic so it’s hard to go back to just Luke and Layton in the present timeline games. Layton can fight, but usually chooses not to so having someone like Emmy who isn’t afraid to throw down definitely helps the group quite a bit. If you haven’t played this game yet then you can change that. The games work well as stand alone adventures so you don’t need to play the previous 5 games to understand this one although it would certainly help you know the characters more.

Overall 8/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Beyblade Evolution Review


This may possibly be the weakest Beyblade title and the series hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders before. I thought that the series was on an upwards trend after playing the last game, but this one brings the series down once more. It takes away all of the strengths of Metal Masters and goes back into a control scheme that is even more obnoxious than blowing into the DS like the first title. Sorry guys but this is one game that you should stay far, far away from.

Beyblade Evolution doesn’t really have a story which doesn’t help matters. Effectively you are playing as a new kid who doesn’t know the first thing about the game, but wants to compete in the World Championship. He’s clearly not a main character who thinks things through all that well, but I suppose you have to admire his enthusiasm at the very least. You go around fighting people and playing minigames until the tournament starts. Win or lose you are sent back to level 1 to replay the entire game again…….

The game uses a day system which is one of my least favorite gameplay styles. Several games I’ve played have used this including Armored Core, Megaman Zero, Pikmin, and Yugioh GX Duel Academy. It’s never once worked out as a positive. I get that it is a bit more realistic this way, but it forces you to hurry through the game and you can’t enjoy it as much. While I’m not the biggest fan of Majora’s Mask, at least it doesn’t trap you in the days the way that the others do. Beyblade Evolution has 50 days. Each action you take aside from accessing the main menu counts as a day. You want to go to the shop to buy some parts? That’ll take up a whole day. Wanna play a minigame to earn money? Another day gone. There are only 50 days in the game so you’ll very quickly find yourself at the very end.

This title seems to be built on the assumption that you’ll want to play through the game multiple times because there isn’t enough time to do everything otherwise. There is little reward for beating opponents either since you don’t get any money or parts. It’ll help you unlock more people to fight, but why would you want to do that? The most efficient way to play through the game seems to be doing the minigames. Some of them are quite easy so you can S rank them on hard and get about 3800 points. With these points you can buy superior parts and build yourself a pretty great Beyblade. Keep on doing this until day 47. Use the next two days to clean out both shops. (Why are there 2 shops? To make sure you waste 2 days buying parts instead of one.) You’ll have to hope that RNG is on your side though as the shops cycle through inventory quite frequently so if you pick the wrong day to go in they will only have weak points and you’ll have to waste another day to go in and get what you want.

There isn’t an easy way to see what parts you do have though. Your best bet is to go into the sell window and look at your parts that way which is a lot of extra clicks. There isn’t even an inventory option to see how many total parts you have out of the full collection. There’s a lot of quality of life updates that just aren’t present in this game. When you think you have a good Beyblade, head to the tournament and hope that the force is on your side. Be careful…skill doesn’t play much of a role here.

I was surprised to see that you cannot move your Beyblade. Basically you launch the Beyblade by flipping your 3DS backwards (which is really bad for the screen so I’d recommend holding the screen in place but it will mess up your launch) and then you watch it fight the opponent. I couldn’t move it in the slightest with the stylus, D Pad, or by moving the 3DS. You just have to watch it roll around. The only support you can give it is by shooting energy into the Beyblade by aiming with the motion controls. After that you can watch grimly as the A.I. jumps off the track and you lose by default. In the big tournaments you need 4 points to win the match. Winning through survival is one point so you have to win 4 times while if the opponent knocks you out of the ring they get 3 points in an instant. It’s really not very balanced if you ask me.

There’s no fun to be had with the gameplay. I want to be able to move my Beyblade and feel like I’m actually doing something. Otherwise I may as well be watching two A.I.s going at it because that’s really what’s happening. Half the time sending energy to your Beyblade doesn’t even help much since they just spin out of control. I didn’t think the gameplay could get worse than the first DS one I played, but it definitely happened. I’ll even take the microphone gimmick over the motion controls. I already didn’t like motion controls in the Wii, I can guarantee you that they are even worse on the 3DS. The 3DS wasn’t made for motion, I don’t see why a game was developed with that as the intent.

Ah well, the graphics aren’t bad I suppose. The character designs are nice enough and we get some decent backdrops. There aren’t a lot of areas to see though as it’s the same locations over and over with the same re-used character models. All of the tournament cutscenes start out the same way. The amount of recycled footage is pretty staggering to say the least. As for the soundtrack, it’s fairly generic. There isn’t a lot of variety to be found here.

In terms of replay value the game is pretty light. You’ll be ready to leave as soon as the 1-2 hour playthrough to day 50 is over. After that you can keep on playing to either get a better ending or get all of the parts. Those are the only things left to do anyway and for the latter you’ll never know if you have anything because the game never gives you a place to check how many parts are in the game. With the shop constantly changing inventory it’s also hard to keep track of how many are left. It’s a bit of a tough predicament.

Overall, Beyblade Evolution is a game that I’d advise against purchasing. It’s just not very good. It’s barely even a game and more like you are just watching a demonstration among the computers who are fighting to see who is the best. That’s not very entertaining if you ask me. I now own all of the main Beyblade games from the modern era and I can see why they haven’t made any in a while. The series doesn’t seem to understand how to make the series fun which is surprising because it should be pretty clear. Look at the Gamecube Beyblade game as an example of how to do one of these titles. Now that was a masterpiece!

Overall 3/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword Review


It’s time to look at another one of the MyNintendoReward games that I got recently. With this, the only one that I haven’t completed yet is the Legend of Zelda one which admittedly could be a while. It’s been a fun ride and these small games have been a nice break from the big ones. To say that this game is short would be an understatement, but since it was only 2-3 dollars that really isn’t bad. Naturally it isn’t quite as spectacular as Freedom Planet, but it’s a very unique game with a gimmick that works quite well.

The plot is fairly basic as the princess is kidnapped by some villains. The poor Kappa is the only one who remembers her getting kidnapped, but he isn’t a fighter so he waits until someone can back him up. Hundreds of years pass and no one is worthy, but finally a samurai shows up. The Kappa gives him petal powers which allow him to slice and dice the zombies. Finally, a hero has emerged. Still, will this kid really be able to stand up to the evil armies that are before him?

The gameplay is a reaction game which is the first of its kind that I’ve played. I don’t even know of any others. Basically you are in a 3D environment surrounded by enemies in each level. You have to wait for them to attack you and then you either dodge to the left/right or backwards. After you dodge you rush in and land a counter blow. If you time the dodge right you will get to strike back twice. However, if you attempt a second strike but didn’t dodge quickly enough then your sword will take damage instead. Mess up too many times and your sword will quickly become worthless. Sharpening the sword is pricey so if you aren’t sure about going for the 2nd strike just be satisfied with 1. The more you fight the enemies the more you will master the timing.

You can also buy kunai which you can use to preemptively attack with or a frog that distracts the enemy while you strike. The best items in the game are the rice balls and revive though since they can help back you up against the stronger enemies. There is also a gold cloth that works the same way as in Saint Seiya and it will give you absolute protection against any attack. It won’t last forever though so use it wisely. Each level typically consists of around 5 enemies, but the boss level on each land is comprised of 6-8 rooms with the same amount of enemies so bring a lot of health items for those.

The final boss is definitely very tough and the game jumps a few levels there. The game is never easy but that’s likely the only part where you will have serious trouble. I had to do some minor grinding to quickly stock up on enough gold to buy the maximum amount of every item. Even then I just barely won. If this doesn’t work out for you, try to complete a bunch of the side missions in town to increase the amount of health items that you can hold. This game is pretty fair in how it rewards repetition so as long as you keep playing you will definitely be able to vanquish the boss sooner or later.

The graphics aren’t the best, but they’re not bad. I just don’t care much for the main character’s design as it has the crushed nose look which hasn’t aged well. The villains look reasonable even if none of them are all that memorable. I do like the petal effects whenever you hit an opponent. I can’t really recall the soundtrack all that well either so you’re mainly in this for the gameplay. Of course, at the end of the day that’s the reason you’re playing any game right? The gameplay holds up quite well and makes the 3 hours fly by. I ended up playing the whole game in one sitting except for the final boss where I had to put the game down for a bit.

There isn’t much in the way of replay value though. You can beat the challenges as I mentioned, but that’s about it and it won’t take you very long at all. You also unlock some survival modes in the main menu which can be handy. They’re pretty simple tasks like beat 30-100 enemies and shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for you. Maybe the 100 one depending on how strong they allow your sword to be. Pro tip, upgrade your sword as soon as possible whenever you get the chance. It makes slicing through the armies a whole lot quicker and in general it is just more convenient. It’s a permanent upgrade so it’s better than buying something that will just go away. Don’t be afraid to lose either, whenever you fail the Kappa appears to help you earn some gold.

Make sure to go into town and save from time to time as well. I couldn’t figure out how to save the first time around so I made it to the castle and then ended up losing my progress. It won’t delete your data unless you attempt to go to the main menu, but that’s still not something you want to risk. Going into town is always handy in general as well. If you land a good combo without getting hit you can sell the combo to the local shop for some money as well. It’s a good way of rewarding your dodging skills.

Overall, Sakura Samurai was a pretty fun game. It’s definitely short, but at a rate of an hour per dollar that’s not bad at all. I’d recommend checking it out even if just to test your reflexes. Are they as sharp as you think they are? If so then this game will be a breeze, but if not then you could be in for some trouble. Now it’s going to be time to finally check out the critically acclaimed Sonic Mania. I’m ready for those fast paced levels!

Overall 7/10