“Sakura Dungeon” tells the tale of a monster trapped in her/his/its dungeon until awoken by an adventuring knight. Taking on the form of a female fox, the monster forces the knight to help her escape the prison and set about reclaiming it for herself.
After plenty of initial bickering, the two eventually realize that they do need each other in order to stop an impending war between the monsters and humans, to reclaim the fox’s dungeon and to stop an alien invasion.
A lot of players will most likely notice the resemblance to “Dungeon Master Chris” while playing “Sakura Dungeon”. However, whilst the two are similar, “Sakura Dungeon” does improve on various aspects, especially how you move through the dungeons. The game can be split into several sections : The main dungeon area, your home town, and an alien spacecraft.
Both the main dungeon and alien spacecraft sections play the same, with only difference being the characters you face. As you get further and further the levels get trickier and the opponents harder. Eventually at the end of a set number of levels you get to meet that levels boss and (usually) a chance of capturing it and getting it to agree to join your crew.
Movement is pretty simple (just use the keyboard to move and turn and click on your weapon of choice – or to skip the current character) as is the combat: You have a range of weapons (and later spells) that can be used if you have sufficient energy to attack (and strip) your opponents. Once they are defeated you can continue with your current quest. Fighting is turn-based.
Quite often you come across side quests that grant extra goodies and often some extra allies – at a price, usually at the expense of the knights dignity. Locked crates can be unlocked to find various things, including different clothes for your much put-upon knight and partner.
Every fifth level or so, you are given the ability to teleport to your home village (without it. You have to manually backtrack through the dungeons), where upon you can visit a shop to buy useful items, possibly wander around your home village (and sometimes progress the story), but it’s mostly used to “recruit” potential new allies.
You don’t have any choice over the recruitment processes, and, especially for the earlier enemies. So it’s usually done through the art of persuasion. However, later on, the fox spirit has no problem indulging in a bit of torture to get someone to join. It’s quite amusing when she tries to torture a masochist.
Your allies can range from rabbits and other animals to witches and… chocolate boxes…Whilst the range of potential recruits is large, the earlier ones can’t keep up with the difficulty level, and so you will eventually be forced to leave them behind, rendering many useless (and pointless).
Another annoyance is that there are a couple of really irritating sections, the worst of which is one where you have to work out which traps go where for which level of the dungeon you want to be on…That section gets annoying very quickly.
Both the in-game and visual novel graphics are very nice, and whilst the sound and music is basic, it does the job, although the music can get repetitive. It should be noted that the Steam version needs the beta update – without it, the program will crash in a few places, especially if you try to open the box that holds a wedding dress.
Nevertheless, in overall, “Sakura Dungeon” is a fun +18 lewd first-person RPG dungeon crawler/visual novel game that will take a while to complete, but not without a few rough edges and a bit of steep price to boot.
+ Plenty to do and see, even if you only play the game through once
+ Graphics are nicely detailed, but with limited animation
+ Most of the characters are interesting with unique traits
+ The shop system is easy to use
+ Can occasionally wander outside the fox’s home base and meet other characters
+ Gameplay is simple and yet hard to master and provides a good challenge. It won’t be completed quickly
+ Story is good
+ Plenty of lewd content
– The fox spirit can be irritating at times
– Without the beta update, there are a few crashes (and the beta was never changed to a release version)
– Sound effects are basic
– The music can get a bit too repetitive
– Occasional level design irritations
– The price – it is a bit too expensive
Sound and music: 3/5
Replay value: 3/5
Sakura Dungeon was an interesting diversion from Winged Clouds usual staple of visual novels, and one that pays off pretty well. I mean, sure, the game may have a few design problems (especially regarding who is in your squad), and rough edges, but it is fun to play, with many interesting characters and a rather good lewd story-line. Unfortunately it can be now regarded as a bit over-priced, although if it’s ever in a sale, it would be well worth getting.
Title: Sakura Dungeon
Developer: Winged Cloud
Genre: Visual novel/Dungeon Crawler
Resolution: Desktop resolution
Release date: 2018-05-31
Difficulty: User defined
Spent time: +41 hours
Average grade internationally: 65% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating : +18
Price:16.76 Euro via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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