(3DS eShop)

Game Review

Sweet Memories Blackjack Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not fond memories

Sweet Memories Blackjack is a strange arrival on the 3DS eShop, with a Japanese concept and style that typically doesn’t make it outside of the Land of the Rising Sun. While card games are common on DSiWare, this 3DS exclusive follows a different approach that aims to bring a relationship dynamic to proceedings. This title may want to be our friend, but we’re not sure we want to return the favour.

So, how is a relationship and memories plot – a term we use in the loosest sense – applied in a card game? It’s within the Normal mode that this is prominent, as you play round after round of blackjack with Kasumi, a Japanese teenager in whom you’re apparently trying to revive long-lost memories and, ultimately, develop a stronger relationship. We can only assume that she’s obsessed with Blackjack because it’s the most simplistic card game where little skill is required. You try to get as close as you can to 21 before you Stand, and if your score is better than hers you win the bet.

Some tactics are needed in terms of deciding the size of the bet, whether to double up or sacrifice half the bet in a ‘surrender’, but it’s ultimately a game of random chance. Generally we found that we won more than half the time, though Kasumi stretched the bounds of good fortune on some occasions, sometimes scoring as many as three perfect 21s at in a row. After a few rounds, or within about five minutes, you’ll have explored practically all of the strategic variations Blackjack has to offer. At this point the grind begins.

The objective in the Normal mode is to go from a level one relationship with Kasumi up to a level three, at which point a ‘kissing game’ is prompted. We’ll be honest and say that we never got that far, as a few hours play and over 600 rounds later we were still at level one, making the end game, if that’s what it is, seem like an interminable distance away. The problem is that all you do is play round after round, trying to increase your coin haul to the mysterious level required for level two. Tedium kicks in very quickly, with the occasional sense that it’s slowing you down with runs of bad luck to extend playtime further. This title is crying out for a variety of card games to play to keep things interesting.

Sweet Memories Blackjack does try to offset the laborious grind with some stylistic touches. When you play you hold the 3DS on its side, with your opponent on the widescreen and controls on the touch screen. This does mean that this is possibly the first 3DS download title with no 3D effect at all; we assume that this wasn’t on DSiWare due to file size restrictions. That said, the images are stylish but simple, yet the elevator music is unlikely to have caused space issues.

What the title does offer, beyond the Kasumi relationship, is a score mode where you can compete in short matches against five other unlockable Japanese teenage girls and young adults. They all have their own characteristics, and this mode accounts for some of the achievements that you’re encouraged to chase, with the rewards being simple images to gawk at. There’s basic use of the system’s clock as well, as your opponents wear different outfits in different locations depending on the time of day. Kasumi goes from school to evening wear to, peculiarly, lying in her bed. Rest assured anxious parents, it’s all thoroughly decent, but it’s strange that you’re ultimately in the girl's bedroom to play a bit of Blackjack, after all.

Conclusion

Sweet Memories Blackjack is a peculiar title that aims to add extra interest to a simple card game with the motivation to develop a relationship with the lead character. While it does this without any significant problems, the actual concept is worse than mediocre, as you’re expected to play hundreds, potentially thousands of rounds of Blackjack to make any progress. That’s a bad idea, and no amount of earnest attempts at keeping you interested can save that fact. Our memories are anything but fond.

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User Comments (16)

C-Olimar

#1

C-Olimar said:

I expected as much... why do we get this instead of all the other crazy Japanese games, such as Captain Rainbow?

TheDreamingHawk

#3

TheDreamingHawk said:

Grr... Anime games not made by Indie/Japanese companies make me angry. CiRCLE is Chinese, but still, that is no excuse.

I do have a question, if you just want a casual, cheap Blackjack game, would this be OK? I'm looking for a simple game like this.

CommanderAudio

#4

CommanderAudio said:

Dang. I was looking foward to this. It looked like it could break the mould that's the bane of all card games on the Eshop. Being repetive.

ThomasBW84Admin

#5

ThomasBW84 said:

@TheDreamingHawk If all you want to play is Blackjack, then it's perfectly functional, but it's very, very repetitive. I'd explore, as I'm sure there are better value options with multiple card games included. In my view, Blackjack alone isn't justifiable for a purchase.

Geonjaha

#6

Geonjaha said:

Haha. Very much expected."it’s all thoroughly decent" - Well, it stretches the limit to the maximum unsuprisingly considering its a Japaneese style game about winning over school girls...

BenAV

#7

BenAV said:

This game had my curiosity, but I didn't buy just because of the fact that it's only blackjack, as that would clearly get pretty boring pretty quickly.
Looks like I made the right choice.

Nightsider

#9

Nightsider said:

Knowing about NintendoLife reviews, they probably wanted to hate this game instead of trying to enjoy it. IT'S BLACK JACK a simple card game that added a few gimmicks in there to make the experience somewhat unique. Did it work? No. But a 3 out of 10? Really?

RaylaxStaff

#10

Raylax said:

I was half-expecting this to effectively be Sexy Poker 3D. At least it doesn't seem to be quite that tragic, but I'll still pass on this. If we're gonna get Japanese or anime style games that don't normally see release over here, I'd rather we get the good ones :p

Bankai

#12

Bankai said:

Nightsider - Nintendolife was far too generous to this game. It's horrible.

Barbiegurl777

#13

Barbiegurl777 said:

Despite this getting a bad review I'm still looking forward to downloading this when it hit's the US e-shop & the price for it look's alright.

Still want to play it! :)

The graphic's look good & plus while following a storyline I'll also be learning blackjack at the same time. Sound's like a fun game in the e-shop. :)

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

sillygostly

#14

sillygostly said:

It's by no means great, but I enjoy playing it during boring lectures because I don't need to use any buttons and I never really draw any attention to myself while playing it.

Sure, you'll need to play a LOT of rounds (around 2500-3000) to unlock the "love confession" and "kiss" cutscenes (which frankly, are nothing to write home about), and I am not sure if there are any other cutscenes available in-game but I enjoyed it for what it is. It's basically single-player Blackjack with unlockable pictures of cute anime girls (which is ironic considering that this game was developed in China). If you're concerned about value, stick with one of the Clubhouse Games Express (aka All Time Classics) DSiWare titles. I'm sure at least one of them includes Blackjack, and the Clubhouse Games series includes download play as well as 4 other games.

Considering the amount of content included in the game, 3/10 is a fair score. It's by no means a BAD game. It's just lacking content and will become quite boring really quickly if you're not a fan of Blackjack.

jlenoconel

#15

jlenoconel said:

This isn't a terrible game, but its not really worth the price you pay for it. Had it been 2 dollars it would have been much better.

ramstrong

#16

ramstrong said:

I think the score is wrong. A 3 is worse than a 4, and 4 means the program is buggy. If the the program managed to do it without any significant problems, whose only flaw is tremendously boring, then a 6 is a more accurate score. A 6 may still have a fatal flaw, but no bugs.

Castle Conqueror has higher score, and that program hung up on me TWICE. I had to let the battery run down each time. That's a bug. A 4. I should not have to put up with that. As it is, I never played the game again.

Speaking of boring, I find Paper Airplane is very limited and boring. It scored an 8!

FWIW, I don't find it boring. It's Blackjack. What do you expect? "Potentially thousands" Eh, did you read the achievements? It stated 3000. BTW, to reach Level 2, you need 1000 game, 80000 points. I finished the kissing scene in just slightly under 3000 games.

Turns out there is a trick to it. You can boost your winning chances with this knowledge,

True, there is only one good picture in there, but to each their own. I managed to unlock all achievement, although I had to cheat on 20 win streak. The rest, I managed to unlock without cheating. I wonder if there's a trick to it that I missed. There are tricks to other achievements.

I'm glad I bought this, as I enjoyed this game very much. I suppose it's niche. But how about giving a "boring" game another chance?

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