Sengoku Night Blood is an ambitious mobile game, that is collaborated between Otomate, Marvelous and KADOKAWA. The mobile game is the starting point for a multi-media franchise, or so Otomate prolly hopes for.
I’m a little late to the party on reviewing this, mainly because something happened last month I couldn’t get around doing it, but hopefully my input on this game is still welcomed (even though some people may have already forgotten about this game). I’ll be quick about this review while putting my two cents on what I think about this game.
You wake up after having fallen into an alternate universe that is set in the Sengoku period, where everything is almost the same, theres Nobunaga and all the gang, except for the fact that vampires and werewolves (or as I call them, doggos) exist in this universe and that you hold a special type of blood that’s similar to a certain himemiko‘s blood (the same himemiko that brought your ass over here for no specific reason and you’re trying to track down with the help of a talking tanuki) which gives them strength. You pretty much give them steroids in the form of your blood. If you’ve been in the otome game for so long you’d by now know how Otomate has a raging boner over blood sucking, to the point that they think games can’t sell well enough without it.
Now you’re a walking blood bank that has no full control over the story, gets locked up in uguu cages or thrown around like a blood pack, where you are basically a spectator most of the time that also does the laundry and cook the guys some good food (e.g. dishes that shouldn’t have existed in 15th-17th century Japan, like curry or hamburg steak). Also you don’t have any eyes.
To put it bluntly, you’re kinda a self-insert. In fact, you don’t even appear in the event stories as far as I’ve seen (not even a single reference to the heroine). The only places the heroine/you show up is during romance/intimate stories with the guys or the main story, when there’s side stories for the chibi 2 star cards its only for the guys being dudes and hanging out without any mention of you/heroine.
Story & Army
Armies in Sengoku Blood Night is based upon the armies during the Sengoku period. Doggos and vampires are in separate armies, you’d never see an army with a mixture of doggos and vampires. The majority of the armies so far have doggos, but don’t worry! Doggos can suck blood too.
Each army is illustrated and designed by one specific artist, some of which you’d be familiar with in other Otomate games. Each army has different main stories, choosing to read one army means that you/heroine will be monopolized by that army in their main story. Makes it a bit troublesome to create an event story with the heroine in it when you’re basically held captured by all the armies at one point, so I guess thats why the heroine is kinda omitted from event stories.
You unlock stories through golden keys, which you’ll get from ranking up your player rank, or paying through crystals if you’re in a rush to read it all. Basically you can take the slow and free route or you can do the fast route and maybe even use real money to buy crystals to unlock stories (but who’d be desperate enough to pay for that shit). Main story is not exactly ‘finished’, over time there will be new chapters introduced into the game for each army so it may take a while until an army’s story reaches to an end.
Note: Main story is fully voiced, and I think side stories in 4* and 2* cards are fully voiced, 3* card stories are not voiced. Unsure about 5* card stories because I don’t have one 😆
Illustrated by Kagerou Usuba
Oda’s fearsome army. They’re vampires, of course, who find you/the heroine and pretty much uses her as a blood bank like everyone else upon finding out her blood is vampire/werewolf steroids. Nobunaga seems to be butting heads with Hideyoshi.
This army’s story is a bit somber and serious, however each character has a bit of a quirk. Mitsuhide and Ranmaru always after Nobunaga’s praise and maybe affection and Katsuie being a super emotional dude (especially when drinking).
Illustrated by Mai Hanamura
Totoyomi’s army is a bit of a mix bag with Hideyoshi being a bit of a goofball half the time. They are also vampires, and seem to butt heads against Oda’s army. They don’t really go crazy about your/the heroine’s blood but try to protect your blood from going into the hands of Oda’s amry.
Hideyoshi’s resolution to not letting you fall into the wrong hands is by pretending that the both of you are married and that you’re his wife (this is legit at the end of Chapter/Volume 1). Totoyomi’s Army’s main story is a bit light-hearted, maybe a bit goofy but has some serious parts.
Illustrated by Sakigumi Shiki
Uesugi’s army of loyal doggos. Most of them are kinda mean/apathetic about your predicament except for the only good boy doggo, Kagekatsu Uesugi who is surprisingly attached to you to the point that he’d choose protecting you than going to his dad, Kenshin Uesugi, to warn about incoming enemy troops.
Of course, Kenshin gets first dibs on drinking your blood (all army leaders drink your blood first in the main story). He is kinda distant about you and would rather focus on the war. This army’s main story is also serious.
Illustrated by miko
Takeda’s merry band of good boys. As you can see they’re also werewolves or whatever this alternate reality calls them and they are very loyal towards Shingen and his cause. Shingen is a big softy but also has a nondescript disease that makes him cough…. the dying kind of cough. However with the help of your blood he’s good as new, so no need to worry about it (hopefully).
This army also has a few quirks like no one realising Masatoyo was in the room listening the whole time as well as Masakage being the smallest werewolf boy and wants to eat a bunch of food to grow big. This army’s story is light-hearted, with a pinch of serious elements.
Illustrated by Kuroyuki
Yukimura’s band of young ninja boys (feat. his little brother, Nobuyuki). They’re just a bunch of happy-go-lucky kids, fighting the war and such, never dated a girl prolly, considering how Yukimura was hesitant to drink the heroines blood. They’re keeping you/the heroine safe and that’s possibly about it (I’ve only read chapter/volume 1 of each army so far).
This army’s story is very light-hearted along with a bit of comedy here and there.
Illustrated by Teita
Date’s army that consists of himself, his cousin(?)/relative and servant man. In this story you’re found by Date’s subordinates , almost got killed but then saved by Date but then you save his ass with your blood but in return you’re put into uguu jail under suspicion that you’re an enemy ninja/spy. After talking for a bit, Date’s subordinates are cleared of any suspicion about you, however Date is still suspicious and also tsundere where at one point he lets you out and gives you his homemade food but then puts you back in the uguu cage of love because mood swings.
This main story kinda feels like the ‘true story’, but then again that might be my bias. Its serious but has its cute/goofy moments (like Date being deredere).
Overall Thoughts & Critique
As I’ve said before, its an ambitious project. They had already announced an anime before the game released (if I remember correctly) that will come out this Autumn, they have planned character songs which also have Music Videos, there’s also a comic/manga going on and so on. Nothing bad about being ambitious, though in my opinion it’s kinda scary to see how confident Otomate and the other companies in this project are about this game succeeding. There’s always that big what if, like what if the game flopped? Would the anime still have a green light? Would they keep on trucking? Who knows.
I wouldn’t say it this game has flopped, most of the people I’m following on twitter have dropped it and there’s just a small handful that still play. I guess the reason why the player usage may have dropped was because there was a month of no new content in the form of new gameplay to fool around with, like an event. Only just now, after more than a month after it’s release, have they added an event for people to play and it’s quite good and maybe satisfying to play. I say this because once you awaken maybe 2 or 3 four star rarity cards you get too over powered and battles become really easy, like, boringly easy where there isn’t much challenge to it…. and that’s saying something because it plays like Touken Ranbu where the battles are automated.
The automated battles are good for when you’re too busy and want to get some grinding down in the background while you do other stuff. You have two speed modes: fast forward and skip. Skipping a battle is a bit risky seeing that you can’t “heal” dudes when they’re at the brink of death and can result in defeat in battle if you’re not careful. The heal option is limited to 3 times per battle and quite helpful when trying to power through a tough battle (which is made up of 2 or more enemy waves). However it kinda feels like there should be a temporary boost in stats when you heal someone, esp when you keep healing a character in a battle where everyone is wiped out except one and the enemy just keeps hitting your guy. I’m under the impression healing a guy in battle is “giving them blood”, so why not also add the other benefit of your special blood powers by making them stronger (even though it might be too OP in low level battles). It’s just a thought.
Another missed opportunity would be the battle sprites. If you’re gonna go for that Touken Ranbu feel, why not add a little more fanservice and create “damaged” sprites where their clothes are all ripped apart? I’m just sayin’. The only fan service it’s got going is the “blood sucking” scenes and illustrations, which can be pretty tamed compared to, let’s say, Diabolik Lovers.
Anyway that’s just some of my thoughts on the game, we’re just barely scratching the surface. To keep things simple I’ll break things down into different categories and do a quick rundown on my opinions on each component that makes up this game. Positives/Pros will have green boxes, Negatives/Cons will have red boxes. These can be nitpicks so I’m sorry if it becomes annoying.
■ Battles are automated so you can have it play itself while you do more important stuff
■ Battles can be a bit of a chore having your ass handed to you if your cards are too weak but once you have two awakened 4 star rarity cards it becomes stupidly easy and doesn’t provide a nice middle ground where it’s doable but gives you some sort of challenge
■ The events counterbalance the feeling of being OP by throwing you random rare bosses for you to chip away their HP bars and can actually decimate your team if you’re not careful which is quite satisfying in a way (these events would’ve been appreciated on the third week of being released)
■ Skills that are activated in battle can be helpful (like the multiple damage attack skill), but sometimes it’s hard to know what the skill does when it’s activated such as the buff up skills that when activated it’s hard to know what exactly it’s buffing up unless you’ve already remembered what the colors of the buff effect graphic stands for
■ They don’t really use the “blood boosting powers” to its full potential in the gameplay other than healing, could’ve done something neat like a temporary mode where their sprite in the battle changes into their “awakened” state and gets added stat boosts.
■ The “essence making” segment where you give different colored essences to a card to boosts its stats is a bit hair pulling if you don’t know the trick to it. You’re supposed to only give 100 of a single colored essence, however the max you can give is 900 or something but in the end giving it more than 100 or even 900 wouldn’t give you more ‘affection’/fill out your affection map, it’ll give you the same amount a 100 would give you (more or less). Also apparently the essence becomes more potent depending on the color you choose, depending on what color the character likes…?
■ On launch, the game doesn’t really tell you what the colored circles represent on a card, apparently they’re attributes (blue, red, green) and depending on the color they’re more strong or weak against an enemy with a stronger or weaker attribute. Not sure if they added that to the tutorial now, the only way I found out was through a tweet from the official twitter and even I can’t remember which one is strong against the other.
■ Daily quests/battles makes it rain essence items all day. You could drown in the amount of essences you can farm by using your strongest team to plow through the enemies
■ Freemium gachas (gachas that uses currency that is easy to gain than premium currency) is pretty generous in giving 2* cards which are mini-episodes of the guys hanging out together without you, as well as 3* cards so I guess that’s a positive (some games dont even have freemium gachas)
■ Premium gachas can be unforgiving when you want to get a 5* card. I’ve tried my hand at the premium gacha a bunch of times now and I’ve yet to get my first 5* card. Of course there’s campaign gachas that’ll help your chances in getting a 5* but some of them are either “paid gems only” gachas or ticket gachas which I don’t know where to get those tickets, so jokes on me ahaha
■ On the bright side, you’re guaranteed at least one 4* card or above in a 10 roll
■ May take some time for you to gather enough gems/crystals though… can be a little be frustrating to see your hard earned gems giving you only one 4* you already have in a 10 roll scout (it’s happened to me a few times)
■ I can’t complain, it has a really nice track of background music that it almost feels like a console game, it’s got that nice otomate quality of BGM feel to it. I guess it might depend on the listener on how good it is.
■ You’ve got some of the best artists that have done work for Otomate (note the keyword here is “some” because…)
■ Even though you’ve got the best artists, there will be times where there are cards that are going to be done by a stand-in artist to replicate the art style of the original character designer so they can either cut down on costs or time which may result in cards or graphics that may look off or not completely duplicate the style
↳ Kagerou’s style is pretty difficult to reproduce imo, so its easy to spot which one isn’t done by her
This kinda of practice is done by a lot of mobile games to keep the flow of new content while not making the original artist exhausted or bombarded with many tasks
■ GUI/Menu designs are nicely designed, not too simple while also adding some style to it, though text may be small for certain people. I don’t mind the design of menus too much, as long as it doesn’t hurt my eyes or my senses it’s alright
■ If you stare at a CG for too long you may notice some anatomy mistakes, which may differ from artist to artist but that’s not surprising seeing that anatomy mistakes happen often
■ The heroine got no goddamn eyes, you go out of your way to design her clothes and hair but you don’t give her eyes? C’mon, give me scientific proof that says people can self insert themselves into a character as long as they don’t have eyes.
■ The designs for the enemies remind me of something a middle school boy would doodle at the back of their book
■ Pretty safe and pedestrian, kinda has those Otomate tropes in there, it’s nothing too offensive and can be a bit fun to read, nice twist for a fan of the Sengoku period, then again Hakuoki was a nice twist on the Shinsengumi…. hey, wait a minute… I’m seeing a pattern here… Hakuoki and Sengoku Night Blood both have blood sucking, features historical figures as either vampires or ‘turned into onis/demons’, both are set in a time where swords and fighting resolved everything, both will prolly produce a long everlasting franchise….. I see, I get it now… so that must be the recipe to success…. HISTORICAL SEXY VAMPIRES IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL CASH COW
■ Sometimes the heroine is written slightly inconsistently depending on which Army main story you’re reading, though her overall feeling in the main stories is just “she exists” that’s. Would’ve been neat if the heroine was given backstory, maybe play around with the game being in Sengoku period and the heroine is a huge history buff and when she falls into this alternate reality she’d be super intense/excited about being there but also confused as to why is Nobunaga Oda a vampire freak…. but alas, who cares about giving heroines personalities.
■ However it felt like the heroine was a bit more assertive in Date’s Army main story, where she finally realises that they only care about her special blood and is trying to find a way to escape Date’s uguu cage of love and try to, I’m assuming, find the himemiko. Like I’ve said before, I only read one volume/chapter of each army so I’m not sure what happens in volume/chapter 2 and onward of Date’s main story, I’m hoping she ain’t gonna forgive and forget so easily about Date wanting to keep her in the jail cell
■ The affection stories are pretty cute and helps you understand characters better, considering the main stories kinda focus more on the leader of each army, and the heroine seems to get a little bit of the limelight too
■ The 2* card stories where it’s just only the guys is pretty neat too, and depending on the subject matter can be pretty fun to read. For example, there’s a side story with Nobunaga and his troops and he asks them what kind of reward they want and they all answered that they wanted his praise and it’s basically all of the Oda Army bursting into tears at Nobunaga’s kind words to them. It was great.
■ With about 28 characters its prolly hard not to find your type/favorite boy. They’re all written nicely, though I guess depending on who you are and whats your taste some characters may be a hit or a miss. I particularly like Katsuie (character design-wise and personality wise, he’s all muscle no brain but very cute/loyal and very sensitive). It’s mainly based on your perception on whether they’re good characters or not, like I haven’t read all the affection stories with every single guy so maybe there’s a few gems I haven’t discovered yet
■ Heroine is either a hit or a miss, I’d really liked if they made her her own character instead of a blank slate we’re supposed to project ourselves onto, like how can we project ourselves onto her when we can’t shape her with decisions in the first place 😆 Otomate please wake up, there are some heroines in mobile games that have personality AND are relatable, c’mon.
It’s an all right mobile game, it really needed that event to spice things up in terms of gameplay and give a reason to players to keep playing. If you’re interested in trying it out go ahead, you can prolly get through this game without spending a single dime on microtransactions. After all, hard work leads to satisfying rewards and if you pay to win then I guess that’s up to you, it’s your money (just try not to bankrupt yourself).
Unlocking new stories seems easier than paying for routes like in other mobile games that are heavily story centered, however it’s not like you’re gonna get a happy ending with the guy you choose seeing that the main stories only focus on the leader and the army. The only action you can get is through the affection stories and awakening scenes where you get a blood sucking CG and a changed illustration of your card.
Overall the mobile game isn’t bad, your mileage may vary depending on whether you can enjoy mobile games like or have played Touken Ranbu and liked playing it (bear in mind: gameplays between this and tourabu are a bit different) and you like collecting cards of your favorite boy, you may want to try it. However if you’d rather like to focus on story but want just the character route then you’d prolly won’t play, because romance in this game is like breadcrumbs: its fairly distributed all over the place but it won’t satisfy you like a full loaf of bread.
Anyways, I really wish Otomate can partner up with Marvelous again so they could make a console game that’s gameplay heavy and directed towards a female audience, maybe throw in some romance, who knows. Maybe make a version of Senran Kagura where its just all dudes getting their clothes ripped and a bunch of fan service. Just kidding… haha… ha…
As always, thank you for reading! Sorry about not making this short and sweet, I got carried away again.