Sakura Dungeon is a first-person dungeon crawler RPG developed by Winged Cloud for Steam. It is part of a long line of similarly themed and similarly titled games also released for Steam.
In Sakura Dungeon, you play as Yomi, a dungeon master, who’s had your dungeon stolen. Your goal is to recruit monster girls to fight for you to help reclaim your dungeon. Once you recruit party members, you can then explore dungeons, collect loot, do side quests, and fight in random encounters.
As far as dungeon crawler RPGs go, this one is fairly standard. The RPG mechanics are pretty barebones; with a typical 6 party member, and 2 row turn-based combat system. You gain skills, experience, and level up. You have what are essentially health and skill points, too. Dungeon designs are in a similar place. Everything is laid out in a fairly straightforward fashion. There are minor changes in mechanics as you go deeper into the dungeon, like holes in the floor or having to find an item to continue, but nothing is out of the ordinary.
This is the biggest problem with the game, that it just doesn’t stand out. In fact, the majority of the gameplay can be skipped entirely, due to the surprisingly effective auto-battle mechanic. The game plays itself far too well, making grinding no issue at all, but also making gameplay feel pointless and unrewarding. The only times this can change is during some boss fights, which can require attention in a few instances. The game never really felt challenging, however.
Now, it is pretty obvious by now that most people will likely instead be buying this game purely because of the fan-service. To get it out of the way now: I am not into this kind of thing at all, myself. However, for those that are, there is a lot here. In fact, the game’s story is basically entirely written for the sole purpose of fan-service. So, to anyone who isn’t into that kind of thing, there is nothing to enjoy about the story and a lot of dialogue to be skipped. But people who do like this kind of thing, there is plenty here.
The characters are very cliche, and are obviously written to be pandering, too. The only one that I had any actual problem with was the main character. For some reason, the player character Yomi is extremely inconsistent, and tends to say particularly perverted things out of the blue. She’ll then act entirely different in other situations, by being overly nice or randomly mean. It’s really awkward to see the player character make so little sense, even in the context of a game like this.
In addition, as you collect monster girls, you are rewarded throughout the game with closeup shots of the girls in suggestive poses. these pictures can then be viewed at any time from the main menu. Similarly, there is also a Sprite Gallery that can be unlocked, which allows you to dress any girl in any of the clothing you have gotten for that character as well, which can be very little clothing at all.
The art and music for the game is pretty good, and the characters are actually drawn pretty well. Similarly, the variety in dungeon designs is actually quite nice to see. It definitely adds an element of polish to the game that I wasn’t quite expecting from something like this. The only downside to the art at all, if you can call it that, is the jarring movement in the dungeons. Rather than moving in 3D space when dungeon crawling, you move from background screen to background screen, without any transition. It can be quite jarring and makes the game feel less complete, even if that was a stylistic choice or engine limitation.
In the end, Sakura Dungeon is a game aimed at the crowd who enjoys fan-service games. It’s got gameplay, but that’s not the main focus at all. The real focus here is the girls that you can collect, interact with, and look at. If that’s not your thing (like me), then you probably shouldn’t play Sakura Dungeon. But if that is your thing, then there is a solid 20-30 hours worth here for you to enjoy, and plenty of extras.
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