PlayStation 5 ／ PlayStation 4 ／ Nintendo Switch ／Steam
I got my hands on a pretty samurai, cute ninjas, and Oda Nobunaga. Samurai Maiden is a beautiful hack-and-slash game with a slightly modern twist on our favorite era in Japanese history, the Sengoku era. I was gifted a review copy of the game for the PS5, so let’s dive into Samurai Maiden, where love blossoms amid a battlefield!
Samurai Maiden was developed by SHADE Inc (Bullet Girls Phantasia & Kandagawa Jet Girls) and published by D3Publisher, which has published many niche titles and otomes. Having played Senran Kagura, I was super excited to play the main female lead in a game. However, I wasn’t prepared for what was coming with Samurai Maiden. Entirely female, including two guest characters and, of course, Oda Nobunaga. The Sengoku period is one of the most well-known periods in Japanese history. With tons of movies, anime, and musou games, I was curious to see how Samurai Maiden would work in this period.
A young woman from the 21st century with sharp swordsmanship skills finds herself in Honnō-Ji during the Sengoku period! Together with a trio of newfound ninja friends, she races through the Underworld beneath Honnō-Ji, confronted by enraged corpses at every turn! Nothing can stop this all-female powerhouse team as the young woman-turned-samurai slashes up enemies. In contrast, the ninja wipes them out with their fierce ninjutsu! – Samurai Maiden’s website
With beautifully designed characters, unique designs, and personalities, Tsumugi, the Maiden of Harmony, is tasked with saving the tumultuous Sengoku period even though she arrived at one of the most significant turning points in Japanese history. After being somewhat abandoned by Nobunaga (which is expected), Tsumugi comes under the protection of three different and talented shinobi (kunoichi perhaps?) who all wield unique abilities to help her on her trek through the Underworld to put a stop to the demon lord again.
Right away, Tsumugi’s design and Iyo, Hagane, and Komimi uniquely fit their personalities/ character tropes well ( Bubbly, Oneesan, Tsundere). Honestly, the characters’ designs are very well done, it stands out compared to the environment, enemies, and more. The art/designs outside the characters are decent, not entirely straightforward, but complex.
However, I noticed that the assets reused were vital regarding the enemies. There were color changes, with new weapons and maybe a few new features to the enemies, but after a few chapters, it was very noticeable. As you descend into the Underworld, the enemies start to change. The gameplay starts simple, but once you start gaining affection from your teammates, you unlock more complex abilities and moves. Tsumugi is the game’s leading and only playable character that does damage. What does that mean? You can’t play as Iyo, Hagane, or Komimi. You can switch between the girls, use their specials, have them use items to heal, get through obstacles, throw things, and that’s it. They don’t assist in fighting with Tsumugi. They stand around waiting for you to call on them to use their unique skills and will follow you until you pass through an obstacle. Besides that, it’s up to Tsumugi to do all the heavy lifting.
Within Samurai Maiden, you can enhance your weapon to do more damage to enemies; you can improve all of the girl’s weapons. But be warned that the points used to enhance weapons can be used between the girls and to purchase outfits for the girls, which can become pretty expensive.
One cool feature I noticed about Samurai Maiden is that if you’re getting wrecked in the game, you will see damage to the character’s clothes and scuff marks on their body; this also applies to environmental effects. If you fall in the water Tsumugi and your teammate will also be wet. If Tsumugi gets burned, you will see parts of her uniform singed. Nothing lewd or over the top, I promise.
Overall, Samurai Maiden is no Senran Kagura, and I believe they are similar in some aspects but still uniquely different. The game is more wholesome, with a cliché story and increasingly improving gameplay with more affection unlocked.
There were a couple of things that I could have done without, the phrase “I’m just a normal Gen Z Girl” had me cringing, and that’s saying a lot. I also really appreciate the character interactions, the affection to love between the girls eventually, and the use of selfies with the girls to make the game unique and wholesome!
I will admit it does start slow in the beginning, but as you continue to make your way deeper into the Underworld, things pick up so don’t put it down just yet! Are you looking for a hack-and-slash uniquely different and wholesome than Senran Kagura? If so, you have to give Samurai Maiden a try!
Samurai Maiden Review
I'm just a girl in the world~
Action packed, girls sword fighting against the demon lord? ! And wholesome love?