Mobile games have come a long way… is what I probably would’ve said before indulging myself in yet another anime game title. However, “Danmachi” the Japanese abbreviation of this extremely long title is not the kind of game that elevates the world of mobile games in the slightest. And what’s worse here is it’s not even in the realm of mobiles but for the Switch, consoles and PC?!
Being a huge fan of all things’ anime, Danmachi is easily one of my close favourites among similar fantasy genres. From an uberly dense yet lovable main protagonist which reminds everyone of a red-eyed white rabbit to the vast and weirdly fashionable cast of female love candidates. There’s a lot to love within its universe and I’m not even talking about its girls yet but really more about its story and lore. So as I hop on the earliest hype train to Orario, I was taken aback at how shallow the gameplay is or how awkwardly paced the story goes.
Coming from a fan of its anime series, the story that revolves around Bell Cranel and Aiz Wallenstein is a bit of an awkward one. You have one chapter focusing on Bell’s adventure in and out of a dungeon yet mere moments later, you’ll be jumping towards Aiz’ chapter on a completely separate part of the world. This becomes a bit of a floaty retelling of a great anime that jumps left, right and centre far too often.
Pair it up with the shallow action-RPG gameplay of what would seem like a rehashed dungeon crawler experience, and we have ourselves a pretty good example of a game I can live without. But talking about its gameplay, aside from being shallow and overly simplistic, the game itself ends up taking as I would assume as inspiration from grid-based dungeon crawlers yet incorporating “action” in the wrong grammatical sentence.
On paper, there’s nothing wrong with this kind of approach, in fact, Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story did a pretty good job at this. But in practice, it doesn’t have the kind of charm in its overall dungeon design or the button-mashy but equally, addictive action experience to keep you playing. It also doesn’t help that the game is really more about the menu screens more than anything.
I could’ve at least enjoyed myself with this if it had some sort of building element that lets you improve your familia’s base of operations to unlock new abilities or gain access to certain vendors and enhancements. I mean even the recent Fairy Tail game had a base-building element to it despite the anime being more about destroying their guild every once in a while.
There is so much stuff that felt uninspired or just blatantly underwhelming that even finishing the game becomes a real struggle for me. Not to mention the kind of grind that needs to be put in within its first few chapters once the difficulty starts to spike and progressing its story becomes a real battle of attrition. But what’s worse here is that the controls can even feel a bit awkward or unresponsive which can really do you in if you try to dodge away from an attack but instead dash right into one. And not to put more fuel into the fire but it doesn’t feel right to fail a quest and restart without replenishing your entire stash of consumables.
Almost 600 words in and you probably know my thoughts already but visually, it’s a mobile game, plain and simple. And even modern mobile games can find that insulting, to be honest given how better their overall quality is in today’s gaming industry. I don’t expect AAA quality designs or jaw-dropping attention to detail but having more than just the bare minimum is enough to keep me satisfied but even that didn’t feel like it got it right. There are the unrefined character models that other than not having a lot of charm is also limited to the two playable characters.
But if I can find even the tiniest bit of saving grace here is that the game only really shines with its visual novel-like art direction and the occasional still images from Aiz’ mid-shower back to her topless front only being covered by her bare hand. Just try not to imagine during dialogue scenes that they look like they’re stuck in popsicle sticks being moved around or even that’ll ruin it for you.
The game isn’t fully complete without the dating elements though and it’s the one thing that makes the game title put into sense. And this is only made available after you finished the game and unlock the extra dungeons where you can earn dating points with the characters you’ve met within the game. However, this doesn’t fall too deep in the realms of adulthood and pretty much follow the same route as a Sword Art Online title at which you can have a fun and heated conversation without any fully naked bodies hitting the floor.
Danmachi is one game that didn’t feel like it wanted to step away from the realms of mobile gaming. There’s a lot of things that really failed to sink in to make it a game worth tackling and it’s for that reason that I find it as a game I can live without. Simply put, there’s a lot that got in the way to make it an enjoyable experience and the very aspect of its dating element doesn’t show up until after its story is set to a close. If you’re only after its dating elements, be prepared for a long and grindy road.
This review is based on the PS4 and Switch Versions of the game.
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Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? - Infinite Combate
Labyrinth City Orario, where gods live amongst humans and provide them with extraordinary powers. Experience the tale of Bell Cranel, a young boy striving to become a great adventurer, and Aiz Wallenstein, a first-class swordswoman, as their lives become intertwined and decide the fate of all Orario!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 34.99
Product In Stock: Available