No option to rotate a display in a vertical oriented shoot-em-up is a worrying sign. Nevertheless, the option is conspicuously absent in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. What it does boast, though — unusually for a niche Japanese release — is a top-to-bottom English language translation, which makes this a more tempting import for shoot-'em-up fans.
We admit to having no knowledge of the Manga on which the game is based, but its manifestation as a colourful bullet hell escapade is nonetheless appealing. This is a game as much for anime aficionados as it is hardcore gamers, littered with illustrations, fetching menus, and plenty of fan service. Clothes partly tear off when a character’s life bar diminishes: a translucent, semi-naked girl flashing over the action to inform you of danger; while elsewhere, risqué galleries are furnished by collecting in-game picture pieces.
Part-Touhou, part-Castle of Shikigami, Dragon Maid’s bullets come thick and slow. There are no visible hit-boxes, which leaves a certain amount of guesswork as to where your sprite’s vulnerability lies. It’s still fun to weave through endless flowering waves of orbs and triangles, although graphically it’s slightly simplistic, with its cel-shaded enemies oddly detached from the background scenery.
You have three female characters to tag between at will. If one takes too much damage, you can swap her out, leaving the unused two to slowly regenerate their health bars. Other novel mechanics include a back step that zips you to the bottom of the screen, and a powerful dash manoeuvre that’s integral to building combos and attack levels.
The dash can be tapped or charged up, sending you smashing into the nearest enemy at speed. Keep tapping the button and you whip from one adversary to another, increasing your combo chain and occasionally earning a period of increased firepower if you can sustain it. Sadly, there’s a feeling of imprecision about the manoeuvre, and the risk to reward ratio isn’t overly encouraging when you accidentally eat a bullet.
Each girl has a different shot type — spread, homing, and channelled fire — but they feel underpowered for too long in a game that only sports five brief stages. Combos build your ‘dragon meter’, which levels up your shot power — but there’s an issue with its slow speed of increase. Hold a decent chain and you can expect to level-up just before the end of stage one, but the visual feedback and power upgrade feels perfunctory and negligible until you achieve level three status, by which point you will be nearing the end of the game.
Improving your skill does speed this up somewhat, but it takes plenty of practice. For comparison, your average bullet hell affair will often see you at maximum power and carving up the screen toward the end of stage two. That just isn’t the case here, diminishing the kind of positive destructive feedback the genre is famous for.
Despite this, Dragon Maid has some solid plus points. It’s colourful, crammed with voice acting, text, and anime-grade humour that even pokes a little fun at Final Fantasy. Its weighty boss battles feature some very creative patterns that are fun to weave through, and the play mechanics are interesting. You can practice a stage and restart from the beginning of one when you die, but you don’t get any continues in the traditional sense. Your bomb stock of “Choro-gon Breath” — essentially a big dragon burning stuff — is certainly handy in the thick of it, since it’s fairly challenging on defaults, especially when one of your three characters is permanently dispatched.
While its prolonged boss fights are certainly the highlight, there’s something lacking in the overall balancing. Bullet hell, generally, is an unbroken onslaught; but whereas in a CAVE title each stage tends to have a unique personality, featuring different swarms, enemies and rhythms, Dragon Maid seems all rather samey.
Dragon Maid is a middling shoot-em-up affair: not bad, not exceptional. Its tag team concept is a sound one: it’s fun to juggle characters in an attempt to keep all your horses in the race, grabbing health items from mid-bosses and seeking out paths through the maelstrom. At the same time, its nuance and novel ideas are hamstrung by unremarkable stage action, and a few niggling missteps, which is a shame. There’s definitely enjoyment to be reaped from committing to a one-credit clear, learning bullet patterns, and eking out scoring routines. But when there are so many games in the field featuring greater urgency, flow, and an all-important sense of personality, this one is more for people with cash to spare, fans of ecchi paraphernalia, or a burning desire to consume everything bullet hell.
...Well...at least it's not a freakin' 1v1 fighting game. lol
As a big fan of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, I'll definitely have to check this one out! It's definitely my favorite modern anime so far! And the anime was made by Kyoto Animation, famous for anime like Lucky Star, Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, and others. They're just a 15-20 minute drive away from Nintendo HQ!
In fact, the second season for Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid very nearly didn't happen, because the director of the first season was killed in the KyoAni arson attack. But they soldiered on, and the second season was even better than the first!
I really recommend that the the writers for this site check it out; same goes for the readers! Also, check out the original manga, and it's spinoffs (both Kanna's Daily Life and Elma's Office Lady Diary, plus the upcoming spinoffs, Lucoa is my xx and Fafnir the Recluse).
I am the last person to complain about body types in video games, but, that one lady? hmm. That's even beyond my threshold.
@AstroTheGamosian I've been meaning to check out Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Nice to hear that it sounds great. I haven't watched many Kyoto Ani shows myself (I'm more of a shounen battle series guy), but I'll give it a go. I'm glad they're recovering after that terrible arson attack a few years back.
I’m only getting it to support the manga. So works for me.
I shouldn't be surprised that Switch gets pretty much all the anime games nowadays. This would be something I would spend money on if quality was good and there wasn't like a billion other games I need to buy this year.
Its not bad, but not the best, thats enough for me!
@Joeynator3000 You have problems with fighting games? Or problems with anime fighting games? ...I still haven't seen Phantom Breaker: Omnia's review and Melty Blood: Type Lumina's review... P4AU's review doesn't count for me.
@Chocobo_Shepherd So considering this is a game with actual dragon girls in a schmup style you find issue with realism only when it comes to a female character. Never seen that before...
@Vyacheslav333 They're probably referring the abundance of 3d arena fighters for anime game (Naruto, OP, Demon Slayer, MHA etc.) which while enjoyable do get fairly bland fairly quickly.
@BeautyandtheBeer If you're right, then I'm fine... But, we still don't have Phantom Breaker: Omnia review... We got P4AU review, because this game was popular and it's Persona game on Switch... Not mainline, but still it is a Persona game.
Decent anime! I enjoyed it. Not enough to get the game.
@Ade117 At first glance, people will just brush it off as dragon p**n, but while there is some fanservice involved (especially when it comes to Quetzalcoatl, a.k.a., Lucoa), it's actually a really funny and wholesome story. I really do recommend it.
I might look into it when it's on sale, the show is a blast. It's a lot more intelligent and heartfelt than it comes off as just at a quick glance.
@Chocobo_Shepherd She's not even the worst in the series. Imagine that same chest on the purple and pink character beneath her. I basically stopped reading the series when that character showed up.
Well at least it isn't another near porn game I guess. Very generic looking characters though.
Whens Nintendo going to cave & just put a p*** hub app on the switch 😂
@BeautyandtheBeer not an issue of realism, just beyond my taste, that's all.
When does it actually release? It says that North American version was reviewed, but it only mentions a Japanese release date.
@Joeynator3000 tbh, I would've preferred that myself instead XD.
@Chocobo_Shepherd Fair enough, I misinterpreted your comment, my apologies.
I'm not willing to pay more than $30 for a shump, even if its from an interesting anime.
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I must be the only person who likes lucoa for her personality and her bond with shota. I could careless about her huge jugs tbh, I actually like smaller ones and am a booty man lol.
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@Travisemo007 I actually like her because of how caring she could be, Not only that, she is just silly, I feel like I relate to her in some way, I just don't know what.
Are they talking about Ilulu? Kinda reminds me of Uzaki-chan wants to hang out, even tho she was of age people still said it was promoting odd stuff, like what? (Sorry if this is off topic, I will delete it if it is)
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@Snatcher Uzaki doesn't have the body of a 6 year old with watermelons stapled on.
@Joeynator3000 You make so many comments that make me wonder how you ever became a mod.
@Bret Thats true, but people were making a much bigger deal out of her compared to illulu, which I just don't understand, Like I'm not defending how she looks, because it looks odd (Even tho there is a reason)
But for like half a year people wouldn't shut up about how Uzaki looked like a kid. And I just need to mention, I think illulu is like 25 years old, I could be wrong tho.
Look and im sorry if my comment offends people, im not trying to get in a heated debate about it, because I don't think there is to much to be said.
@Snatcher lol, these people act like fanservice anime like this has never existed until now...anyways yeah just ignore them. I only got into the series because it's cute and funny, nothing else. I don't even like Lucoa or Ilulu or whatever her name is. lol
@Joeynator3000 Yeah, I'm just going to leave it here before I get ruined, anime is a hard topic sometimes LOL.
@Snatcher Eh, I've heard it all the time, I don't care...I love fanservice anime, hell, my cat is named after a 14 year-old witch-cat-girl....or whatever, from that kind of anime. lol
@Joeynator3000 Yeah, this comment section is not new whatsoever, I have heard it all before.
People complain, and does JP change a thing? No, it just is.
mediocrity but a lot of references fans would love seems to be the running theme for a lot of anime games, and i guess Boobies the Dragon and her Wonderful Friends is no exception
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Yeah, that character in the upper right is too much for me to get into the anime.
@Travisemo007 this comment is so corny it's ridiculous, just say you like the anime and go, no need to bring out the "I really need to justify my enjoyment of something on the internet so I am gonna play loose with moral arguments" playbook
thought we as anime fans had moved past trying to justify the "actually 100000" trope but i guess acknowledging a part of something sucks makes the entire thing suck to some people
@somebread I think they ended up editing it, because I don't remember all that they typed LOL.
@Snatcher lol, yeah, the comment ended after "exaggeration on real life" originally
..........I just realized that the images change every time you refresh, lol.
These headlines make me think I had a minor stroke.
Looks like a bit of Twitter found it's way into this article. Hopefully most of you guys stay away from Japan, the culture shock will kill you.
CHU CHU YEAH!
I love the anime, but I expected this to be pretty average. It always looked poor in gameplay trailers, and the worlds don't really have anything to do with the anime/manga. It's your average licensed game cash-grab. Okay enough to play, but nothing spectacular.
I like the anime but I'm not a fan of scrolling shooter (with some exception), I hope the next game in this series is metroidvania like lodoss deedlit in wonder labyrinth.
@AstroTheGamosian Yeah, I thought that Fafnir had a spin-off. If you're a big KyoAni fan like me then check out my Yui Hirasawa tattoo.
@somebread Abit too late to tell me that now lol. Also i was just defending the series. I felt it wasz necessary lol.
@Funneefox Seriously, tell me more. How is the community/moderation. This comment section is sickening really ("oh it's a different specie
that for some reason looks like a 12 year old girl")
Oh, was wondering when this anime would be getting games.
Wait! Castle of Shikigami 2 is on the Switch?!
I loved that game back on the PS2 and I'm not even really into the bullet hell type of SHMUP's (more of an Axelay/R-Type/Sine Mora EX kinda guy where things are bit more slow paced and there's more of a focus on stage design then just a bunch of bullets everywhere), but this game was my jam as kid!
Thanks for the heads-up! Gonna download that immediately ^_^
Edit: is there like a specific name for SHMUP's that have you flying from left to right and are more stage design focused instead of bullet hell focused?
@NinjaSyao usually just horizontal/side-scrolling shmup, idk if they've ever had a catchy name like TATE/CAVE style shmups do
Pretty happy with our whole “conversation” being deleted, honest, like for real.
@Ade117 I should make an addendum to my last response to you. Having just read Volume 11 last night for the first time, there is a special color chapter in the middle of it that doesn't hold anything back in the way of censorship.
Another dragon character, Ilulu, prominently displays her you-know-whats, complete with what Tumblr calls "female-presenting n****es." Whereas previous chapters censored them out (they would usually put Band-Aids over Ilulu's), this special color chapter doesn't hold back.
So if you find that kind of content offensive, watch out. Just thought I'd warn you. I don't know if it's only Volume 11 (I only have that volume, plus Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 6 of the main series, plus Volume 2 of Elma's Office Lady Diary), but most of the time, that stuff is censored.
It's still a great series, with a lot of hilarious and wholesome moments, but they really pushed the envelope in Volume 11 with this special color chapter. I'm honestly surprised they didn't shrink-wrap the volume and slap a warning tag on it, or something, due to that chapter alone.
@JustMonika Fafnir's (and Lucoa's) spinoffs have only been released in Japan so far. They have yet to come to the West, from the looks of it.
And I've always enjoyed KyoAni's work. I have yet to check out K-On!, but it's on my watch list. Nice tattoo, by the way.
@Snatcher Actually, in Volume 6, Ilulu passes herself off as 16 years old. Technically-speaking, all of the dragons are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, but they either all look like young adults, teenagers, or children. Only a couple of dragon characters look middle-aged or older (Kanna's and Tohru's fathers).
It's worth noting that, according to the Fandom wiki for the series, that Tohru, like Ilulu, also presents as a 16-year old, and Elma presents as an 18-year old, despite the both of them looking older. Whether that's accurate, I don't know, as I'm still in the process of acquiring all the volumes of the manga.
@AstroTheGamosian In-canon ages don't excuse a damn thing but legality. They're still drawn as children, save for the bowling ball chest ornaments.
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Forgot about this game, need to get it. Looks good.
@jcboyer515 The whole argument was the mod defending the usage of loli characters and someone disagreeing with him.
@MARl0 the article states on top that the reviewed version is the Japanese one, but it does have the english translation already. I remember that the official Twitter for the game stated that it would receive an western release, but without any details like dates or if it would receive an physical release.
@TomySakazaki They changed it at the top of the article. When I made my post, it said that the North American version was reviewed. They probably changed it because of my post.
@AstroTheGamosian I think she might be older, Its sorta spoiler ish, so read if you will. In the manga she was old enough to have a mating season
But I think it what you said, she passes herself off as 16.
Just a question:
Is the primary reason that in the comments upset because even though the characters are older (but still passing off as minors according to @Snatcher's comment) they're being drawn like children? (albeit with excessive cleavage.)
(mainly trying to discern whether the problem is with the implied fan service aspect or the fact that the characters resemble children)
@ThatWarriorsFan Well, I read some were she was 24, but I think dragon wise there thousands.
Yeah but peoples problem is that they look like kids.
"Tons of fanservice" should be in both the pro and con category, to be completely fair.
@MARl0 Hadn’t had time to look in here, but I caught it and contacted the editor to update it yesterday. You were right though, good spot and thank you for mentioning it.
The Castle of Shikigami reference is actually more to do with the dash attack, which resembles certain attacks in that game, and the feel of it (enemy destruction, bonus hoovering). Dragon Maid is more clearly bullet hell, and bullet heavier during boss fights unless you drop the difficulty settings (which makes it too easy, honestly).
For reference: Vertical shmup (aka YOKO), horizontal shmup (aka TATE), bullet hell/danmaku, are all phrases that should help you discern what’s what.
Thanks for the info, that'll help me in the future. I need to do some searching for some good shmup's, only have like 2 at the moment.
@ThatWarriorsFan People (me included) aren't happy that the creators are using the '912 432 years old dragon' to justify drawing sexualized teenage-looking characters.
@lolwhatno @Snatcher Thanks for the clarification, was curious as I don't play or follow these types of games and therefore don't have a sufficiently educated opinion on them.
@ThatWarriorsFan Yeah that's fair, it's respectable to accept that you do not have enough info about a topic / don't have a concrete opinion yet.
Have a great day m8.
@lolwhatno I do want to mention, I like the show, but I don't agree with everything it does at all, a lot of it is pretty iffy, really iffy.
Why I was defending, was because I didn't think it was fair that people get called a perv or a ped just for liking a show, liking a show doesn't mean they agree with everything in it, because like I said, a lot of the things in the show I think, are iffy or creepy, and if you look back at the artist history, eeeeeeeh, I wouldn't suggest you look it up.
Because I understand why you don't like it, I understand why a lot of people don't, just don't think its fair to assume they agree with everything in the show, because I know I don't, I read it for a lot of its other characters.
Sorry for this ramble, In short, I agree with you, and what you think about the show.
@Snatcher Don't worry, I too thought that guy calling the other a ped was
a bitreally over the top.
And yeah, you bring a fair point of view, someone who watches something doesn't necessarly agree with all of it. Even though it has limits (that differ from person to person) IMO, for example I stay far and wide away from anything with sexualized characters that are under 18 (don't ant to give them a cent, don't know to see any industry see this type of stuff as profitable).
I say it differs from person to person because I personally don't watch anime with half-naked characters, for example one piece. It has a huge fan base, that tolerates/enjoy this type of stuff.
Have a great day my guy/gal!
P.s: Are you still in the lands between?
@lolwhatno Yeas, I'm very happy you understood where I was coming from, as I get what you mean, every person will have a limit to whats tolerable, its all different (:
Planning on picking Elden ring back up tomorrow, so I will have another update thanks for asking (:
@Snatcher (just re-read what I typed and I don't know how tf I made so many errors lol! sorry)
Excited to read more of your thoughts (no pressure, it's by no means a must). Thanks again for sharing them and have a great day!
@lolwhatno (I wont say anything if you wont.) You too, have a great day!
It doesn't sound that bad but also sounds like a bit of a missed opportunity if they gave the gameplay and visual.flair a touch more care. One for the bargain basement I think
Why are you guys expensive I'm already paying a membership that's costing me 15 a year and to play my beloved games like N64 classics I have to pay extra just to have access to those games. Now expansion memberships are going for anywhere from 50-80 dollars a year. You guys are making a killing in all the sales you got with other classic games. Why should I pay extra for classic games that haven't been out in like 10 years or more!! Highway robbery if you ask me. I get the demand for games is up there but what makes you think you guys at Nintendo have a standing chance with consoles like ps5 or the xbox. I'm considering just getting a pc and pirate all these games cause that's the world we living in. I shouldnt have to pay 50 dollars per year to play a mario 64 game or zelda 64 game for all that sell those separately instead of charging us a yearly subscription just to play those games. Y'all doing too much. Lets do the math...I want to play zelda orcina of time I have to pay 50 dollars a year to play this game....so you telling me a 50 dollar game from 1999 is now costing more than through a subscription is fair?!?! No it's not I'm paying three times over the retail price (even in past and present) for a game thay doesn't cost hundreds of dollars you guys are charging for years again highway robbery
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