“Before you ask, yes, this is a review of a Steam game where the main draw is its hentai-inspired art and sexual content. Is Sakura Dungeon a bit sexist and overtly sexual?. Definitely!”
Is it offensive, particularly to female players? The answer to all of these questions is a solid yes but for some reason I keep coming back because oddly enough, Sakura Dungeon is a fun and engaging title.
Winged Cloud, the developers behind Sakura Dungeon, started off developing visual novels and a few related titles in other genres. However, my experience with Winged Cloud made me doubt the chances of Sakura Dungeon being any good. Their previous efforts suffered from really bad writing, horrific dialogue structure, and sexual content that wouldn’t even excite a pre-adolescent kid.
“If you ever have to choose between playing the game in 3D or in 2D, always choose Double D’s!”
Despite this, Sakura Dungeon turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The story of the game involves a woman named Ceri stumbling into the fortress of the fox-spirt Yomi. Yomi was sealed away by a group of adventurers and with Ceri’s help Yomi is broken free. The latter then magically binds Ceri as her servant and asks Ceri venture into the castle’s dungeons to defeat the lord that has taken over the premises. Of course this means fighting and freeing the girls the enemy has kept in his dungeons.
Right from the get-go the story is miles better than any previous Winged Cloud game but it does seem hollow at times, like how Diablo II gives you a prologue and then tosses you into the world with nary a cutscene to follow. While it may not be as dense or profound as say Final Fantasy IX or Persona 4 it still has enough to keep you interested. Add in amazing characterization for all of the playable characters, which counts over 50, and you’ll be charmed and intrigued well enough to see through the story until the end.
“There are no voice overs. But honestly, is anyone really playing this just to listen to the voices?”
It just hurts a bit that there are no voice overs. Fortunately, most of the main characters have specific lines of dialogue that reflect their attitude and personalities.
The story is sufficient and the characters are engaging but Sakura Dungeon is a dungeon crawler first and foremost. In this aspect the game is absolutely amazing. It’s nowhere near as deep as Legend of Grimrock 2 or The Fall of the Dungeon Guardians but it has a system that is sound and stable.
You basically have six active party members, with three in the front line and three in the back. Those in the front get more XP and are the only ones capable of attacking but the support from the back line and ability to let them heal add to the game’s strategy.
You’ll also be able to recruit some of the girls you encounter. In a way, you can call it Pokemon with hot anime girls, freeing them from the dungeons instead of being a pervert and locking them in there, but it is so much more than that due to the intricate character progression system.
Overall, Sakura Dungeon is a fun and engaging game with hentai-inspired visuals and sexual content. It can be offensive to many but if you can look past that – or if that’s right up your alley – and focus solely on the gameplay you’ll be pleased to know that Sakura Dungeon is a worthy dungeon crawler.
For those interested, there is an uncensored patch that gives even more sexual content by completing stripping off the garments. Just saying.________________________________________________________________________________________