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Sakura Dungeon (VN-hybrid game review)




Warning: This is review is based on the Steam version of the game, without the 18+ content unlocked. The free uncensored patch unlocks two dozens of CG, including straight-up hentai scenes and adds more nudity to the "clothing damage" system. The "clean" version, however, is still very heavy on sexual themes and can be considered "complete" when it goes to the story.

Among the dedicated fans of visual novels the infamous Sakura games by Winged Cloud are one of the most despised and ridiculed elements of the Western VN market. But, as much as we might not like it, it is also a very popular and in many ways seriously influential series, one that played an important role in popularization of visual novels in the West (and, most likely, did a lot to cement the very poor perception of the genre in the PC gaming community). After the surprising success of Sakura Spirit in mid-2014, with its viral spread all over the Internet and nearly 500k copies sold on Steam, Sakura franchise spawned a huge number of titles – mostly very lazy, relatively short VNs filled with tons of fanservice, uninspired writing and poorly-executed popcultural references. At the same time, the company behind it became unquestionably successful, with decent sale numbers throughout the years and a thriving base of Patreon supporters. 

            The ecchi formula established by Winged Cloud, throwing nudity and mild sexual themes at the player at every possibility while never going into actual pornography, proved once again that in the VN world “sex sells”, even without actual sex or any other merits that the game could offer outside of pleasant visuals. A bit later, the company expanded into the world of actual eroge, adding hentai scenes to their brand of trashy, shallow VNs with paper-thin plots and stylisation. There were, however, two times when Sakura series tried to offer a little bit more than that. The first one was Sakura Fantasy, a yuri VN in which obvious effort at crafting a better story and giving slightly more meaning to the sexual content was appreciated by the players – however, what was meant to be an episodic game, forever stopped at the first chapter. Maybe the production costs associated with actually giving a f*** proved too high? At this point, no one truly knows. The second attempt at innovation on Winged Cloud’s part produced probably the most interesting (and definitely highest-rated) game in the series – the yuri-themed VN/dungeon crawler hybrid called Sakura Dungeon, that I will be taking a closer look on today.

Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com


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Anyway as always great review, Sakura Dungeon is certainly the best winged cloud game, I had a rather fun time with it and I'll eventually finish it... one day.


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7 minutes ago, Dergonu said:

I think you put this in the con list by mistake. This is clearly meant to be in the pro list! (/ω\)

I would argue that even fanservice is susceptible to diminishing returns when it jumps at you at every turn... :vinty:

Maybe unless you play the game in short bursts, without ever letting its barrage of samey-looking boobs and porn scenes to become tedious. In that case, it probably has an exceptionally high fap/dollar ratio. For me personally, even if I ever looked for fap material in VNs, Wanaca's art wouldn't be my first choice. ;p

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The 18+ version is actually one of my favorite OELVNs, because it was one of the few eroges where the h-scenes were short and entertaining. The biggest negatives i had with it were that the alternate outfits are garbage and that the amount of unique characters made monster-hunting worthless in the second half.

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33 minutes ago, onorub said:

(...) because it was one of the few eroges where the h-scenes were short and entertaining.

SO TRUE! And the variety is also so good. wwwwwwwww

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It was definitely their best "anything", they ever made. A the same time, it didn't really receive any love and ended up neglected pretty quickly, which just shows how much they care about their products.

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