Sadame (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 14.03.2016

Review for Sadame on Nintendo 3DS

Rising Star Games have done very well over the last few years when deciding which games to bring westward; they've learnt the sort of niche titles their audience crave. This latest is clearly inspired by classic top-down scrolling action games of the 16-bit era. The story of the game sees four characters travel across feudal Japan, slaughtering Oni, Ninja and Samurai along four acts and numerous stages in pursuit of the iconic go-to Japanese bad guy, Oda Nobunaga. Japanese history buffs will enjoy the boss fights along the way, with each stage being overseen by giant demonic versions of prominent characters from the Sengoku period, like Ieyasu taking the form of a flying, demonic, energy ball-spitting Tiger.

Harkening back to arcade classic Gauntlet, Sadame gives the option of four different character classes to play as. The Ninja throws shuriken and spins a weapon attached to a chain, the Rogue combines a bow for long range with a Niigata for when those enemies get too close, the Samurai is a powerhouse with his paired swords and the Monk uses a long bo staff along with mantras and spirit energy.

The characters are all worth experimenting with and each feel quite individual, with their own fighting styles and special abilities. The sprites of the characters - and of the enemies - are great, presented well with some sharp and well-designed sprites that look like they've jumped straight out of the 90s. The boss battles, in particular, have some truly fantastical and unique designs. That is just about where the positives for this game end, however.

The difficulty level is ridiculously sporadic. The standard enemies and stages are far too easy to tear through in very little time, and they're even easier depending on the loot found. Those craving more of a challenge will unlock a higher difficulty setting upon completion, but this, sadly, just seems to buff each of the enemy's HP and damage output without making any real changes to the stages. Enemy AI is appalling, and all projectiles, from player or enemies, go straight through anything in their path, allowing for abuse of line of sight and obstacles in the environment to make the enemies even easier. The difficulty can then spike suddenly - a small area can be covered with projectile-throwing enemies or whirling Samurai, which instantly drain the health bars. Worse yet, some bosses towards the end of the game can be absurdly frustrating, almost to the point of throwing the 3DS.

Screenshot for Sadame on Nintendo 3DS

There's a surprising amount of depth to the character customisation; between levels, each character has a chance to set up spells and abilities, equip new gear, and make choices in numerous talent trees. A surprising amount of content does not equate to quality, though, as each aspect just feels like a confusing mess. The talent-trees are simple and clear but would require monumental amounts of invested time to really make the most of, and the skills and abilities are fun but rarely of much use, as the casting times leave the character defenceless.

Then there is the gear. The stats on the gear are insane; there are resistances to various types of elemental damage and debuffs, there are elemental effects to add to the weapons, there is knockback chance, knockback strength, and many, many more. There is no way to really make a feasible build with the gear, as the amount of options and variations are simply ludicrous. The equipment options come quickly too, as a ton of items are dropped on every stage, and they are stored in a shared pool across all characters. This, of course, means that the items dropped are often useless to the current character. It encourages playing through with each of the four classes, but the gameplay itself contradicts that encouragement.

The combat becomes dull and repetitive very quickly, with each character only having a single combo to rely on. This combo can be expanded on as they level up, but the subsequent moves are often rarely viable, and there's no variation - it's always the same three to eight attacks in the same sequence. It's criminal that such a core aspect of this type of game has had so little effort put into it, and it completely impacts the entire experience.

Screenshot for Sadame on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

There are some elements of Sadame that are done well, but they are completely overwhelmed by the fundamental aspects just being so poor. Monotonous combat, inconsistent difficulty levels, and terrible AI all make for a truly frustrating and disappointing experience. Rising Star have delivered some real gems in the past, but sadly, this isn't one of them. While briefly enjoyable in the short term, it's hard to find a reason to return.

Also known as

Ishi Sengokuden Sadame

Developer

Mebius

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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