January 31, 2023
Don't Want to Read?An original fangame set in alternate-history feudal Japan using katana techniques to influence outcomes of Pokemon battles. New region, original art, exhaustively detailed backstory, and all the tech in a usual Pokemon game reduced to its medieval equivalent.
- New story, characters, region, pretty much everything except the Pokemon
- A lot of quality of life improvements from the HM-surrogate katana, including a single-dose party heal
- Simplistic, aesthetically pleasing map and town structure
- Cool features like rustling grass when rare Pokemon appear, sliding puzzles, and simplistic leaf-hunts that make you explore the towns
- Nothing personal, kid
- Cutscenes and flashbacks galore. Could be a plus, if you’re into that sort of thing
- Limited both by available Pokemon and TM/HM analogues. You’re probably not going to get your favorites
A Pokemon game that fetishizes Japanese culture, which sounds redundant but you really don’t know the half of it. New region, new teams (now samurai clans), an original, inventive story, and HMs replaced by your magic katana so you don’t have to junk up your movesets.
- Pokemon up to Gen 8
- New region (Aisho)
- Most battles start with some katana spell that frigs with stats or arena
- HMs replaced by your magic katana
- Physical / Special Split and Fairy type
- Painstakingly hand-crafted pixel art
- Speed-Up Toggle (Alt key)
- New battle animations (lifted from Reborn)
- Shadow Pokemon
- You can steal Shadow Pokemon from Slytherins
A brief but gorgeous labor of love made in a single month for a contest. I loved the aesthetics and the way they tried to make everything low-tech, replacing healing centers with hot springs, potions with traditional Japanese cuisine like you get from the mall, and computers with that big red bird. Also nice to not have to waste a move slot on Cut.
You’re the child of the Royal Samurai, finishing up your primer education at anime Hogwarts. While other romhack child protagonists were training pokemon, you studied the blade. The game begins with a torrent of lore about how you studied the blade and you’re all called Kenshis, and every blade is magic, and you get sorted into various samurai houses dependent on your child qualities, such as bravery, red-hairedness, or low animal cunning.
As the most special boy in all of feudal alternate Japan, you are not assigned a clan and your katana is dysfunctional. Rather than activating at the beginning of battle and afflicting the enemy with a status condition or screwing with their stats, as every other magic katana in the game does, your Katana of Light can only interact with environmental objects and teach Pokemon the true meaning of friendship.
This becomes the plot device, as the wicked Akui Clan (which means Evil in Japanese) are stealing Pokemon and imprisoning their hearts using, yes, a magic katana. The effects of the dissociation katana can only be reversed by your father’s rusty katana of light in conjunction with various shrines scattered throughout Aisho.
The big red bird in each town replaces the PC as well as the Fly HM. It looks like all the other Pokemon wandering around town, which you can’t catch or interact with. If you pay closer attention to the endless torrent of dialogue, you probably won’t have to google “where PC pokemon bushido”, which won’t return anything helpful anyway.
Another neat feature: your magic sword can store one charge of healing energy from the hot springs, which means half the backtracking to heal the team.
It is imperative you catch a flying type as early as possible. Whatever garbage bird you see first, that’s your new first stringer. I held out for a Togetic or Togekiss, which is my usual strat for romhacks that have Fairy-type, and I got thumped dozens of times in early game, to the point I thought the whole hack was unbalanced. Second playthrough I grabbed a Pikipek to handle my first enemy’s grass types, and it is now a burly Toucannon in the fullest bloom of life and my highest level Poke. No balance issues. I simply played myself.
The Togetic/Togekiss catastrophe was made worse by the fact that they don’t learn any decent flying moves by level up, and the only “scroll” (feudal TM ) you could get was Brave Bird, which they also can’t learn.
The storyline is meandering and the cutscenes are omnipresent, but that’s okay, there’s a speed-up button. The dialogue reads like an actual anime. Interpret that as you will. The gameplay stays pretty well balanced throughout, so long as you heed my warning about the flying types, and the final boss will require you to either grind or stock up on revives.
Overall, probably one of the most fun hacks I’ve played, certainly one of the most original. Highly recommended for deep weebs, kung fu enthusiasts, and anyone tired of the reskinned fanfic renditions of the original games. It’s like a Kurosawa movie about dogfighting.