Sakura Spirit Review

Introduction

Sakura Spirit is a visual novel in the giant Sakura franchise that is made by Winged Cloud. The game was released on PC in July 2014, and publisher Gamuzumi published it to Nintendo Switch in June 2022.

*Disclaimer: A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This does not have an affect on the review, as my thoughts are mine and mine alone.

Review

Takahiro is a judo student who is poised to fight in the grand tournament and win the championship title and continue his life in that sports rally. But he’s not entirely sure if he’s ready. As he takes a trip up to a shrine that his friend’s sister talks about, he finds said shrine and greets transported to a whole other world, with pretty ladies and spirits galore! How did he get here? How does he get back? Is this real? He’s honestly not sure for the longest time, but the answer is yes, it is real.

The story revolves around Takahiro hanging out with two sets of people as he tries to understand the world better, all while trying to figure out how to get back to his own world. You have the fox spirits Machiko and Maeko, and the village guards women, Narumi and Moyo. Honestly nothing really happens between the two of the groups. A lot of flirting and talking about how the differences of the worlds work, you learn about some of the characters’ back stories, but each group literally have the exact two same characters. The one who’s a total prude until they’re drunk or get to know the main character a little bit, then they open up, and the one who’s immediately going “wanna see me naked?”. This at least led to some funny innuendos and dirty jokes that made me giggle.

Throughout the 3-4 hour read, Takahiro talks so much about this judo tournament he’s going to be in and I expected to see some growth of his skills, or learn how experienced he was in it. The most you get is that he can sort of read people’s movements to move out of the way, or that he says stuff like “it’s been 3 days, and I’ve been practicing my judo when I can.” There was never a time where he was put in a serious moment that made him question his skills or reflect on what he did wrong. I wanted to be able to see how he grows, but there was absolutely nothing of the sort.

The story didn’t even feel like it progressed in a meaningful way. Takahiro is so damned determined to get back to his world, but he does literally nothing to help the situation. When one group says they’re going to start to really look into helping him, he goes and hangs out with the other group instead of trying to figure stuff out for himself, unless he’s dragged along. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t care about literally anybody he left behind, just the stupid tournament. Oh but at least he helped the world conquer the divide between humans and spirits! Hooray!

For visual novels, the big emphasis is usually multiple endings, and being able to make choices throughout the game. Unfortunately this game had none of that. There was only one ending and one dialogue choice that happened at the end of the game, and it only changed up a small portion of the game. Nothing significant in any means. It’s more a matter of who you get to see half nude. I was disappointed to say the least.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Pretty Artwork
  • Likable Characters, If Not Cliché

Cons:

  • Terrible Motivation
  • No Dialogue Choices
  • Dull Story

Summary

I was very disappointed in this entry to the Sakura series. Usually I can enjoy myself with one of these Visual Novels but this one was dull, with a terrible story, boring main character, and no real choices that let you change up the story. It’s hard to recommend this entry in the series, and that honestly makes me a little sad. But they can’t all be hits I guess.

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Winged Cloud
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Gamuzumi
Publisher Socials: Twitter

Sakura Spirit | Trailer (Nintendo Switch)

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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