Beat Blades Haruka | Combat Screen
The combat menu of Beat Blades Haruka looks just like an RPG… for good reason.

When you initiate combat you will get a screen similar to the one above. If it is a story battle or a special enemy (like the one above), there will be exposition before that happens. But for the “trash mobs” (regular enemies) you will just go right into battle. The objective is to get their Barrier to 0 before yours drops to 0. The Battle leader, which you will choose once you have more than one party member, will be shown at the bottom with her stats. Her abilities are listed to the side and are exclusive to her. Each of the three Beat Blades have their own abilities with various benefits and disadvantages. Thankfully you can see the stats of the enemy before you choose to fight them, so you have a good idea of how well you will do, but there is some randomness in the dice rolling, so you still should be a bit cautious. One stat that will help avoid some of the RNG is Reflex. If your Reflex is higher than the enemy, you will have a much better chance of hitting them. I found this out the very hard way. Attack is generally something you will not really use often. It only hits for 1 Barrier, but it doesn’t cost any SP. So only use it if you are running low on SP and the enemy is on it’s last one or two Barriers, or if you are running low but want to try to initiate a Backup attack from one of your party members (that is only random though). The party members in the back will randomly join any attack of yours, but with a certain percent. Their attack strength is based on their Attack stat and also the skills you have chosen for them. Brutal Command is an automatic loss if you want to raise your Brutal stat and get your Beat Blades raped. Their stats do increase with the exception of Barrier and Love which will both drop.

Beat Blades Haruka | Ability Effects
It’s raining, but not men… it’s raining death.

The abilities are visually nice, as you can see above. But, more importantly, they each have different effects. That is really one of the major techniques that you will learn through your time in the game – which abilities to use and when. Haruka’s Spark Light Impact, for instance, may cost a ton of SP (at 20), but it will both damage an enemy and lock them in place for that round, making them unable to return attack. If you know an enemy is about to use a really devastating move on you, that ability is invaluable. Her 3 SP ability is your general use skill and the 10 SP ability is for tougher enemies and more damage. It is important to know how each of the three characters differ in their attack abilities so you can choose the best strategy to win with them.

Beat Blades Haruka | Boss Fight
Look at those stats. My Haruka here is a destroyer of worlds.

It’s especially important to get your strategy down for Castle Boss Fights. One reason for that is that they will usually have one ability that will just devastate your Barrier, and often also cause some debuff effect to one or more of your other stats. Another reason is that if you fail in that boss fight, you will get a Game Over and have to reload your game file and go back through the Castle Route. It’s not the same as losing to a minor enemy or even one of the special enemies with the rape scenes. So always practice with your chosen kunoichi before you take on a Castle. Not that you can put it off for too long, since there is the 99 day counter, and you won’t know how many castles you have to invade and destroy until after the first time you beat the game. I’ve mentioned Castle routes a couple times now, so I’ll finally address what they are.

Beat Blades Haruka | Castle Invasion
Your experience may differ, my Haruka is a master of deception.

When you decide to invade a Castle, you must choose one of three Routes. You will see a list for each route showing traps (blue), enemies (purple), treasure (gold), and always the floor boss at the end (red). Each floor will have its own boss which you must defeat to reach the next floor. On the lower floors, there will be three different choices, but on the last floor, you will have the same boss at the end of each route. Traps can spring up on a route and destroy either your Barrier or your SP by a flat amount that is not mitigated by Defense. Enemies will shave off both your Barrier and your SP in quantities relative to the difference between your level and theirs. Treasure will randomly show up at those spots (not always) and can raise up any of your stats, including Love. Where you see “Active Skills”, those are the 3 skills that I referenced before and you can train in order to make your character a better Castle invader. In this case, Haruka has all three. Concealment Technique ensures no enemies can see her, Six Senses Technique ensures that no trap will spring on her, and Eagle Eye Technique ensures that every time she reaches a treasure square she will receive the treasure there. So basically, she is invincible when on a route. And when you reach the boss at the end of each level, you can choose which girl to have fight them. So I just switched her out for Narika at the end of this level and had Narika beat the boss.

Beat Blades Haruka | Castle
This is one of the ominous castles that you must destroy, invisible to normal humans.

Once you reach the top floor of the Castle, you must defeat the sealing boss. This is always a story battle and that particular boss will have a back story as to why they are with the Noroi faction. But to progress the story, and to gain access to your other party members, you will have to defeat the current castle. No matter how many days pass, the story will not progress until you do, and enemy types on the map are determined by which castle is up, not by how many days have passed. So you can take some time to grind up those levels and stats before you take on the castle you are currently faced with, and the enemies you are fighting will not get drastically more difficult until the next phase. You can always go into a castle and see the stats of the bosses (floor and final boss) and decide that you aren’t ready to handle it yet, and retreat for now. It’s only game over if you actually fight and lose to the castle boss, or if you wasted too much time and reach 99 days.

Beat Blades Haruka | Daily Tally
Getting your Peace Points to 100 can be a bit difficult, and there isn’t really any major reward.

Once you are finished with your turns for the night, whether it was from defeating enemies on the map or from raiding the castle, you can then choose to Rest for the night. Then you will receive a screen similar to the one above. Characters will have a certain percentage of their Barrier restored (relative to their level and their max Barrier) at this point. Enemies is the number of enemies currently left on the map (new ones will spawn over night). Action points (up to the maximum of 8) will be restored in the manner I previously discussed and added onto any dice that you had remaining when you rested for the day. So you go through each day managing your character levels and stats and SP and Barrier, spend each night killing enemies in town or raiding a castle, and you progress the story by defeating each castle in order. Additionally, in accordance with your Love level with each of your girls, you will take part in special story scenes that will advance their relationships and also have subtle effects on the route through the game itself. And that is where I will end this portion of this fairly lengthy review, discussion of the possible routes and a final score.

*Warning, some minor spoilers in Part 3, but I will try to avoid details*

William Haderlie
Born in the 1970's, I've been an avid participant for much of video game history. A lifetime of being the sort of supergeek entrenched in the sciences and mathematics has not curbed my appreciation for the artistry of video games, cinema, and especially literature.