When hakuouki, diabolik lovers, and touken ranbu are put into a blender, you get the hot mess called Sengoku Night Blood, Senbura for short. Senbura is a mobile game created by Otomate and Marvelous. Otomate decided that it’ll be a great idea to earn a quick buck or two by following the crowd and blending all their games which sold like hot cakes to the masses. Eitherway, the story of Senbura is of a girl, who I shall name MC, landing into the world of Shinga, which so happens to be made of VAMPRIES and WEREWOLVES. They also so happen to be hot warlords from the Sengoku Era who are trying to take over the country. More shit under the cut.
So I got into this game because of a couple of friends who got into the game, and I was pretty much dragged into this small pit of madness. the game had already got me interested when the people I followed on Twitter started playing it, I was kinda interested from the pretty art? Well, the game ended up being pretty much what I expected and I am not surprised. Get ready for some really bad slander on this game cuz it’s really uh, mediocre?
The story of senbura centres around you, the heroine landing in the Sengoku Era of a version of Japan called “Shinga”. Depending on the clan you first choose, MC will run into the selected clan and continue her adventures interacting with the bachelors from each clan. However, the common thing that happens in all the routes is the fact that the bachelors will discover MC’s blood is GLORIOUS and can power them up and transform them! This plot seems so fucking familiar I’m crying! In all routes, the random Tanuki called Imari will show up saying that the Himemiko summoned you here to find her, and your blood is similar to the himemiko’s blood. The plot is pretty slice of life just during a period drama and is mostly character driven. While it can get serious at times, it can just slow down to fluffy romance in the middle of a battlefield, and afterwards diabolik lovers cuz for some reason otomate cannot get over doing hot shits like bloodsucking! I first came in thinking that the plot was gonna be trashy and well, the overall plot is interesting, but everything else to add fluff and filler were all trashy.
Most of the story goes through in a straight VN style, as expected of Otomate, fully equipped with their usual VN options like skipping, a skip scene and a log to check what you’ve read. There’s auto mode too as well, for people who are lazy to tap their screen. However, the only thing you can set in the game is the rate of the text appearing in the text box, and cannot control the speed of skip and auto-mode. While the skip is alright to me, I find the auto-mode to be really slow for my reading speed. They even have to option to remove the dialogue box for clean screenshots. The VN options are technicalyl all there and aren’t lacking in anything much, and you can control the settings during the VN sections so I think it’s not bad.
The clans/armies available are Oda, Toyotomi, Uesugi, Takeda, Sanada and Date. Each clan is drawn by a different artist and has different characters available. The main stories all all fully voiced and depending on the clan you pick you can either get diabolik lovers or a shoujo manga. However, I’m not gonna spoil who’s who so uh I guess you can find out yourself? No worries though, because you can read the other clan stories, but you can get a free unlock depending on the first clan you choose and you just might get attached to the first clan you choose so choose wisely. ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ If you must know what happens throughout all the stories, maybe gather a friend or 2 to divide and conquer? ー( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ Just the overall plot is trashy and predictable so it’s not very difficult to understand other than the kanji they use because of the fact that they’re in the “sengoku” era.
Getting to know the characters in this game end up being grinds of giving them this strange “potion” thing. (I actually have no idea what it is, so I’m calling it potions.) You get some fluffy unvoiced scenes with the guy you’ve chosen to interact with, and while it’s interesting you will need some time to gather up the materials to give potions to activate these scenes. Getting to know the character want to know about will take a bit of a grind, as the main story is still being updated so certain characters will receive lesser development than the rest.
Other available stories are Card Stories, and awakening scenes. Awakening scenes are triggered after you 100% the stats of one card, and will be a voiced scene of the man suck you/mc’s blood. If you were expecting something else I’m disappointed. However, they have cut costs by making the awakening scenes for each dude the same no matter what rarity the card. If you awaken a 4* Nobunaga, the awakening scene will be the same as a 3* Nobunaga. This has it’s pros and cons, as it will get repetitive, but it’s good if the rng gods aren’t with you and are thirsty to see a *hot* scene with your man. Card Stories are unlocked once you reach a certain % with the card. Currently, only 5*, 4* and 2* have fully voiced card stories, while everything else is voiceless. These stories serve as more interactions with the dudes, so you can get to know them and try to find a bias somewhat.
The artists who drew for this game are Utsuba Kagerou, Hanamura Mai, that hakuouki copycat whose name I can’t be bothered to remember, miko, Kuroyuki and Teita. As Otomate chose these better artists to do the art, it turned out pretty nice except for the hakuouki copycat because I don’t like anything the copycat draws. Utsuba Kagerou and Hanamura Mai’s works are really pretty for such a trashy game, but I was more drawn to miko’s artist as I’ve been a fan of her art since Toki no Kizuna. Overall the art for the cards and bachelors are good, but sometimes I do question whether the art is really the artist’s as sometimes it just looks…off. And with Otomate’s record of copycat artists I really don’t know what to think.
Since the game has 6 different artists doing the art, the MC is always drawn according to the artist’s style which can be pretty jarring at times as her look would change a bit depending who you’re hanging out with. I’ve put 2 CGs here to show the differences with the different artists drawing the CGs. Which actually brings me to the point that most of the CGs in the game are a clan’s artist drawing the guy and the MC, and then they slap a random background behind it, and that can be really jarring at some times. While some art styles go well with the backgrounds, some may not and it gets really awkward, especially for Kuroyuki’s and Teita’s art style which is pretty obvious. Sub characters in the game are drawn by some unnamed random artist and are recycled in every plot so an old side character grandpa could be an attendant in one story, and a shopkeeper in another.
The gameplay is a blatant ripoff of Touken Ranbu, from arranging 6 ikemens to go with you in battle to fighting a bunch of common enemies who look similar in design. This game doesn’t even want to deny the fact they ripped off Touken Ranbu. Oh well guess it was a wise decision since TKRB still seems to be hyping and loved by Japanese girls for some reason. Literally you go into a fight, beat up some Yakumas (the common enemy) on auto, and the fight ends and your bois get the exp and potion powders. There isn’t much difference except the extra functions you get during battles. I thank the heavens for adding a skip and fast forward option in this darned game, if not the speed of battles would have been so slow I would have quit earlier. The fast foward function lets you speed up the speed of the battle, and the skip function lets you fly through the whole thing, and you get the spoils as long your team is strong enough to stay through the entire fight.
The only thing different about this game is the fact that you can use “healing points” (your blood) to heal injured ikemens so they can continue on with the battle. This really has no use if you party is really op, but if you’re taking a weak team out to the battle it might be quite useful. AoE attack cards in this are way to op in pvp and there is no point once you hit them which is highly depressing. The battles are kinda easy to the point because you can bring a scrub team into the battle and still win as long you have a friend assist which has an AoE skill, and keep healing that dude. The only thing you get from battles are the powders for the potions, and 2* bonus drops which have hardcore low drop rates which seem impossible to get unless there’s a campaign going on which raises the drop rates.
Overall the battle system in this game is a copy and there isn’t really much to talk about it other than the fact that it’d be mundane if weren’t for the skip, and stupidly easy with the right cards.
I swear I never complain about game interfaces but this game has by far the worst interface to me and it has pissed me off horrendously. While most mobages probably have a siderbar or a bottom-bar for you to navigate through the different pages, this doesn’t have any. Instead, to access the different screens for stories, battles, interactions, etc, I have to return to the main screen. What is this?! I don’t understand why they couldn’t just program extra side/bottom bar to make it more convenient for everyone? I don’t want to keep having to press the stupid home button just to go from the battle screen to the interaction screen when I could have done that in one tap? Why? The only good thing about the menu is setting up for a battle, where they let you go to edit your teams before you start the battle. that’s more convenient. But it doesn’t overwrite the fact that the entire game menu is a fucking mess in my eyes.
Gosh darn it. This game has barely any opportunities for f2p players to get any gems since they haven’t started making new events for the game. It’s really frustrating to see that once you burn through all the main battles, you’re only left with whatever you didn’t clear and stories to read to get those gems. Goals and Stories only give you 1 gem, an guess what, a single pull from the gacha in this game costs 15 gems! Glorious! I’m running outta gems to farm! Holy shit! The daily quests don’t help either when they’re just a cycle of a series of quests that refreshes their goals. I’ve spend gems on about 4 pulls or so, and it’s getting hard for me to farm out more gems since I’ve cleared all main battles, and saving up my story keys for future story updates for my favourite clans.
The limited gachas actually don’t help either, since Otomate wanted a quick buck so they decided to release limited gachas with limited!! cards!! Thirsty girls are now already pouring money to get their husbands! What a quick marketing ploy! There’s not enough gem flow for f2ps to draw for their husbands, since many people who first started would have spent their first round of gems all on buffing their teams to be stronger. So now all the girls are probably pouring their cash into the game in hoping for getting their husbands, which is depressing and disappointed, but expected of Otomate to pull this shit.
-will update this when the events start, just wanted to get the post out for the main review first-
Would I recommend this game to anyone? No. But if you’re bored and have nothing to do but read recycled plots I guess you could play it. The plot is good for a free game but will take some grinding read everything available. Not much effort is actually really needed with the amount of functions to make everything fast to play. However, this game is genuinely trashy so unless you you have some strong reason (like favourite seiyuu?) keeping you in this game, it will get boring really fast. It’s just one of Otomate’s ploys to make more money fast instead of putting in effort to make new, high quality otome games. It’s also kinda depressing that Otomate literally just slaps a seiyuu on to their most common character trope, making the game really boring. The seiyuus stuck with Otoamte (e.g korikubo/toriumi) are slapped to their most popular otomate character, and there’ isn’t much variety in the voice. ;w; The game also hired a lot of seiyuus so I’m only tagging the ones I really remember well, I’m sorry;
That said, with the amount of mobage increasing and companies investing on the mobile market which is booming like hell right now, these games are accessible and free to play, so I can just pick one up and review it like this. It’s sad really, that companies have decided to give up writing good and high quality plots for commercial games, and pouring their efforts into mobage to get a quick buck out of it. Very depressing indeed. Most companies are trying to hitch on the girls by making quick trashy idol games, but these games somehow manage to touch most people’s hearts and it succeeds.
I apologise that this ended up being a pretty quick review and rant corner since I was rushing the review quite a bit to get it off my back. I will update the events section once an event is released, and hope to churn out another game review soon!