Kunio-Kun Sangokushi Dayo!! Zeiin Shūgō | Review | Switch - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, January 7, 2022

Kunio-Kun Sangokushi Dayo!! Zeiin Shūgō | Review | Switch

The Switch is home to a number of great beat ‘em ups. Not only that, but the Kunio-Kun series is well represented on the system, with a large number of classic titles available to purchase. For late 2021, a new Kunio-Kun game has entered the fray with Kunio-Kun Sangokushi Dayo! Zeiin Shūgō. At the time of writing, the game is ONLY available in Japan. You’re probably wondering if this is worth picking up despite this. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we are here to talk about.

Kunio-Kun Sagokushi is a beat ‘em up set in the world/aesthetic of the Chinese historical fiction of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Kunio-kun and two of his buddies take on the roles of three main characters from the story. Honestly, I don’t know much about the story, but I did watch the John Woo’s Red Cliff (part one and two), which is an adaptation of the story. If you’re interested at all, I recommend checking it out (but be sure to watch the two part version rather than the bastardized, truncated version that released in North American theaters back in 2009). At any rate, the entire game is based around this ancient Chinese aesthetic and looks and feels really good.

Gameplay & Modes
Gameplay here is pretty much what you would expect from a Kunio-kun beat ‘em up. You can punch, kick and pick up/throw weapons and items at enemies. Anyone that has played any of these games in the past will feel right at home. 
There are two main modes in the game - a Story Mode and a more traditional arcade mode billed as Omake (Bonus) Mode. To touch on the latter here briefly, this mode allows you and other players to play through up to ten levels with numerous baddies and bosses. While this is a fun mode, the main draw in Kunio-Kun Sangokushi is the Story Mode. 

Story Mode
With the Story Mode, you play as Kunio-Kun who teams up with two friends with a task to help people and bring general order to the region. There is a large overworld map that you traverse with multiple paths and mission objectives. Red checks on the map indicate missions that will help progress the story, while blue ones indicate side missions. If you are ever confused about where to go next for the main mission, the upper right hand corner of the screen gives you a hint on what to do next. Of course, everything here is in Japanese. Not only that, but with the story being originally Chinese, even if you understand Japanese, some of the names might be a bit lost on you. There is quite a bit of dialog to go through here as well, but I honestly think you can still find some fun here in this mode without knowing what’s going on. It would obviously help to be able to read what’s on screen, but it’s not necessary. 
The Story Mode also features a leveling system, shops and abilities that can be assigned and used in battle. The leveling system is pretty important here. Upon first starting out, you will notice that your attacks are fairly weak. After some very light grinding, you can gain levels and, in turn, gain points that can be assigned to various attributes, such as your punch and kick power, weapon ability and more. It’s super important to play around with these as they will give you the best opportunity to progress more easily in the game. Moreover, visiting shops are not only important for picking up temporary boosts or health items, but also for picking up special abilities and gear that will help you on your way. 
The map is pretty expansive here and there are a number of locations to visit. The game is also divided up into multiple chapters that are sectioned off based on your level. On top of that, there are multiple difficulty levels, too, so depending on how into the game you get, you can easily sink a lot of time into into the game. 

Local and online multiplayer options are present in Kunio-Kun Sangokushi. This is available for both the Story Mode and Bonus Mode. Oddly enough, at the time of this writing, online is not available in the Bonus Mode. It’s only available in the Story Mode where you can play with one other friend or random person online. I’ve tried to both connect to existing rooms and even host my own room to play with randoms, but nobody else must have been playing at the time. If you’re looking to play this game online with randoms, keep that in mind. If you have a friend who also picks this up, well, you’ll be in luck. 

Visuals & Audio
Visually, Kunio-Kun Sangokushi is a treat. The game is a mix of old school 2D sprites for the characters and modern-looking 3D environments. Things actually look quite nice, from open fields, forests, bustling towns, seaside villages, farms and more. Sound is also a plus in the overall package as the game is filled with catchy tunes and sound effects that harken back to Kunio-Kun games from the past, albeit with an ancient Chinese theme. 

While the visuals and audio are very good a vast majority of the time, there are instances of occasional slowdown. It was really hard to replicate this, though, so your mileage may vary on that front. Additionally, the gameplay is also a very strong point of the game, however, there are some portions of the game in story mode that requires you to perform some precision platforming. It’s doable, but it could sometimes be difficult to judge depth and or distances to make accurate jumps. 

Kunio-Kun Sangokushi is a pretty solid game. There is definitely a lot of Japanese to wade through in this one, especially in the Story Mode. Even with that said, you could probably have a decent time with the game without knowing what’s being said and just enjoy the leveling system, gaining abilities and having fun with the general gameplay. Multiplayer is an option here, but I feel like the main reason this game exists is as an avenue to put them through the Story Mode. If you’re a fan of River City Ransom (and the like), this is definitely a game you should at least consider picking up. But let’s turn things over to you. Did you pick up Kunio-Kun Sangokushi? What do you think about the visuals and modes here? Sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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