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Review: Sadame

If there's one thing that every gamer likes, it probably ninjas or samurai, and a nice d-pad. With the new 3DS ARPG, Sadame, Mebius has made at least two of those likes available, along with plenty of customization and game play, and traditional Japanese aesthetic. However, is the game honorable, or does it commit seppuku before it even starts?

Title: Sadame (Review Copy Received)
Publisher: Rising Star Japan
Developer: Mebius
Platform: 3DS
Release Date: February 25, 2016
Players: 1
MSRP: $14.99

If Sadame has anything going for it, it's the art design. Decidedly Anime inspired, Sadame's pixel-art models look great on the 3DS screen. While no 3D functionality may be a deal breaker for some, I can forgive this because of the budget price-point.


Image provided by Rising Star Japan

Sadame's sound is also a standout feature. The sword swipes and breaking jars sound like I expect they would, and the music is fun to listen to and matches the game well. When it comes to the technical side of the game, Mebius hit the ball out of the park.


Images provided by Rising Star Japan

The plot of Sadame is rather basic, focusing on either a Samurai, Ninja, Monk, or Rogue who find themselves fighting demons in a feudal Japan. The game offers 23 levels, multiple difficulties, and a support system, which could keep players occupied for a long time.


Image provided by Rising Star Japan

However, Sadame quickly begins falling apart with its gameplay. First and foremost, Sadame's combat is mind-numbing. On the base difficulty, most enemies can be taken care of in 3 hits. Combos are non-existent for most of the game, leaving your move variety limited to your spells and Karma. Even then, most of these extra moves are slow to come across and don't pack much of a punch. While characters do have different moves, for the most part they are still sluggish outside of combos (which again are almost non-existent for a large part of the game). That's not to say the gameplay is unsalvageable. The customization allowed to you by the Go-Kyo XP system, Gems, Talismans, and equipment make every character you play as your own character.


Images provided by Rising Star Japan

However, no amount of character customization can fix Sadame's fundamentally bad combat mechanics. While on the default difficulty enemies are easily dispatched, severe difficulty spikes can ruin your experience. For example, for most of the time I played Sadame, I found most of my character's death not to be my own fault, but rather the fault of the game's unexpected spikes in difficulty.


Images provided by Rising Star Japan

One of the reasons Sadame has such huge difficulty spikes may be because of its AI. It tends to spam certain moves, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time can kill a player without an ability to react. This is because you are unable to attack while being attacked, leaving player incredibly vulnerable to strikes and almost effectively killing them as soon as they are caught in a corner.


Images provided by Rising Star Japan

However, the one thing that could have saved Sadame's game-play would have been a multi-player co-op mode. While most ARPGs have online, Sadame instead opts for an offline support system using your saves or users you have StreetPassed. While this can help you early on, by mid game, supports are almost unusable because they die almost instantly, leaving you with no help. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked to find out the support system was a leftover of a scrapped co-op mode, and it shows in the design of support character's half-baked AI.


Images provided by Rising Star Japan

I really wanted to like Sadame. The art design and sound drew me in, and the plot kept me going, but the gameplay yanked me out so quickly I felt like I was suffering whiplash. The repetitive combat, poor AI, difficulty spikes, and lack of co-op made what should have been a fun budget game on the 3DS into one of the most boring experiences/frustrating I ever had on the console. In fact, if I didn't have to review it, I would have ran so far away from this game that I wouldn't ever give it a second thought. Mebius obviously tried to make Sadame work, but it simply does not.

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Writer, Intern, Lifelong Gamer, Amiibo Hunter, Masterful Memester.