By Steve Baltimore / July 2nd, 2016
|Release Date||June 3rd, 2016|
*Note: I played the 18+ version of this game for the review. You can patch the Steam version to include the 18+ content with a free patch.*
When I first saw Sakura Dungeon I was immediately interested in checking out this title. I’ve been a fan of Winged Cloud’s work since I first played their visual novel Sakura Spirits. This time around, instead of a standard visual novel they have created a dungeon crawler with the wonderful art style they are known for. I had previously played Demon Master Chris, so I was looking forward to seeing how this game stacked up.
The graphics are a mixed bag. While I find the character designs to be very nice and detailed, the dungeons themselves are really plain and standard. Though if you are playing this you’re probably putting more stock in what the actual girls look like rather than the dungeons anyways. The girls have various outfits and skin colors, but their body shapes are all basically the same. Yeah, it’s DD’s or nothing here, folks. I would have liked to have seen a little more variety, myself. The H scene CGs are nicely done and very high quality.
The music in the game is pretty good. Lots of medieval style adventure tunes with an Eastern flair are there to meet you with each new area of the dungeon. The odd thing is there are no voices whatsoever to be found. The only sounds in combat are those of the swords clashing and effects from the magic being used. While I don’t think this is a huge deal, I feel this would’ve been a lot better with at least some battle grunts thrown in here and there.
The story begins as a young knight named Ceri is sent by her guild to clean out the local dungeon. She thought this would be an easy task, however she was defeated in no time by the former dungeon lord Yomi. She had been sleeping for hundreds of years and was unaware her dungeon had been taken away from her. After the two exchange words for a bit Ceri agrees to help Yomi retake her dungeon. The two of them will need to enlist the help of some of the monster girls dwelling in the dungeon to complete this task. They will discover a new war between humans and monsters is fast approaching.
The overall story narrative is very simple and straightforward, which isn’t a bad thing, but I felt they could have thrown a bit more polish in this area. The game really shines in the character interaction department. These girls have many great scenes where they exchange playful banter or do some very naughty things to each other. What I thought was really great is depending on which girls are in your party when certain events are triggered, the dialogue will be completely different. This gives the game a ton of replay value.
The gameplay is that of your typical turn-based dungeon crawler. You traverse the dungeon in a first-person perspective. Enemies are random and for the most part do not appear on the map, however there are battle symbols located on the map that show where scripted battles will take place. Like any other game in this genre each of the girls has a set of skills they can use in combat. You will find scrolls throughout the dungeon to give them even more skills. You can have up to 6 skills at one time, and if you find something better then you can replace one of your current skills at any time. Skills will consume CP as they are used and this will regenerate each round, so if you run short on using the skill you want, just defend and save up.
Combat flows like most other turn-based systems out there. You will need to plan your attacks based on the enemies’ resistances and weaknesses. This starts off pretty simple for the first half of the game, then the monsters gain multiple resistances, forcing you to use things like poison and paralyze. If you receive or deal a critical hit there will most likely be some clothing torn off. In the 18+ version I reviewed they can be stripped to wearing nothing at all. When this happens, you or your opponent will be penalized with ½ the HP recovery rate in and out of battle and it will cost you 2 CP a turn instead of 1. You will have to use a mend potion mid-dungeon to fix this and that can be costly if it happens often.
By far the best part of the combat is the variety it offers based on which monster girls you capture and use in battle. Catching them is a pretty easy affair. There is a capture skill which Ceri starts with but it can be taught to others with a scroll, and all you have to do is make sure to use that skill for the last hit on an opponent. You cannot capture girls with a higher level than yourself, so you may have to grind up a level or so to clean out each floor as different girls show up. There are around 50 or so girls to capture in total.
When you’re not in the dungeon the local town’s tavern acts as a world hub. From here you can shop, gain access to new outfits you found in the dungeon, and explore the town to see if any new events have triggered. These events show up as you explore more of the dungeon and acquire certain monster girls into your party. These scenes are mostly yuri sex scenes between the girls in the 18+ version, and I’m guessing they are just really hard ecchi in the Steam release. They are very entertaining and these girls can get into some real situations. Let’s just leave it at that.
I really enjoyed my time with Sakura Dungeon. The combat is fun and fast-paced, it has great artwork, the H scenes are nicely done, and it’s an absolute blast to catch all the different monster girls. The game features full controller support, which I love since I like to output my laptop to my TV and play with a controller. I spent around 25 hours with this one, and when you complete the main game there are a few bonus levels to test your skills in as well. If you like sexy dungeon crawlers I think you’ll have a good time with Sakura Dungeon. Despite its few flaws it’s well worth the $19.99 price tag.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Dungeon CrawlerMonster GirlsSakura Dungeonsekai projectwinged cloud