Rising Star Games has brought the Japanese developed game Sadame to North America via the 3DS E-Shop. Sadame is a 2D Action RPG/Arcade Brawler hybrid that throws you in a fantasy version of past Japan as you fight hordes of demons and soldiers led by the fearsome general Nobunaga. You can choose to play as one of four unique characters. The Monk with fearsome weaponry and high impact spells can make quick waste of big foes. A Samurai who glides across the map with his twin blades deflecting attacks as he cuts down his enemies. The Rogue is the master of the long range, her bow allows her to attack enemies from afar while in close range she can imbue her polearm with powerful spells and pierce through enemies striking them on the way in and on the way out. Last but not least the Ninja who is great at flinging quick cheap spells and even quicker blades at anything that crosses his path.
There is a lot of customization to be found throughout the game. As you finish each level you will get loads of loot of varying strengths that are specialized for each of the four characters. You may find yourself with a sword that is perfect for your Samurai or a bow for your Rogue. Inventory is shared so it is encouraged to make a save for all four heroes so you can sort the spoils between them. It may prove to be a bit overwhelming to manage each character, thankfully you can hold up to 500 items so you won’t often find yourself running out of space but sometimes it will prove difficult to choose what to keep and what to sell. Weapons vary from what spells can be used while they are equipped can be augmented by different gems that drop and can only be equipped as you augment your character’s stats while they level. Expect to refer to the manual to figure out what works best for you.
The game seems perfectly suited for co-op but unfortunately one of its biggest weaknesses is that there isn’t any. Streetpass can fetch warriors for you to have as a computer controlled partner which might work for some, but given that this is a lesser known title it might prove troublesome to find someone who has the game. There is an alternative which allows you to borrow a character from another save file that you own, this is the preferred method because of the shared inventory system. However, this brings another problem if you haven’t been replaying every mission as each character they will quickly fall behind and die within a few hits forcing you to replay missions as different characters to keep everyone up to par. On top of that the AI of your partner is pretty terrible, either they end up getting trapped by a box or a wall in the level or they are charging headfirst into a group of enemies and getting massacred. It’s not that big of a deal on the default difficulty level since you can beat the level alone but it’s still disappointing.
The art and music of this game are exquisite. There are 20+ unique bosses to encounter within the game and each one looks intimidating and worthy. Some levels will have you cramped on a small boat as you survive waves of enemies while others will send you through forts and caves to explore and eliminate the enemy forces within. One of my favorite levels you must pass through a city that you were told was burned to the ground. You arrive and the city stands, the villagers seem normal and not aggressive. But as you begin moving through the city suddenly they start to attack you, yelling incoherently about a great fire deity and then demons begin to appear among their ranks. It only escalates from there.
Sadame, though confusing at times, is a fun game. The difficulty ramps up towards the end and it’s unfortunate you’ll end up having to do most of this alone due to the AI. Once you beat the game you can unlock new difficulty levels and everything carries over from one playthrough to the next. Although I would not recommend Sadame to people who are not familiar with action RPGs, I find there is enough within this game to justify the price tag and if you are a fan of the genre I recommend you grab yourself a copy.
Score: 7 = A good game with a few small problems.