Jordan over at SwitchWatchTV has been challenged with the aged old question: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Oh. That’s not an aged old question? You mean to tell me that this is a game title?! Oh. Okay. Umm… so Jordan over at SwitchWatchTV has been playing through Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? He has some insight and thoughts about the game in his very detailed review! Check out the video below or continue downward to read it here on SwitchWatch.co.uk. Let’s go!
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Well, this is a fantastic title! I knew nothing about this game or this series, but the instant I heard the name about half a year ago, I knew that it had to by mine. And so here it is. Let’s find out what it’s all about.
Now I’m not going to sit here and BS my way through this review pretending I know all about this series. From my research, it started out as a novel for teenagers and morphed into manga and anime series as all things do in Japan. It’s called Is it Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? But it is often shortened to DanMachi. I guess they didn’t think my acronym was snappy enough.
This is a world of adventure. Bell, our young hero is new to the dungeon diving gig as we begin the story. His granddad told him of the glory to be had while exploring the dangers below, especially of the potential pick-ups while rescuing damsels in distress. He’s a naive young fellow recently brought in by a goddess into her clan of sorts. Look, firstly, while the plot is very easy to follow once you’re in it, the world, its workings, and the terminology are quite the mystery to those uninitiated. The lore is something you’ll have to gradually sponge from the game.
So our red-eyed, snowy haired protagonist is on a mission one day when he runs into a bit of trouble himself. A monster far too strong for his current level is about to run him through, until the cool, collected swordswoman, Ais, saves his life, and he is totally smitten.
What I enjoyed about the story telling here is that chapters are played out from different perspectives. You’ll see each of the character’s viewpoint within the same time period until the chapter ends where the stories conveniently converge before moving on to the next chapter.
I’m sure that fans of the series will enjoy the story here. Perhaps it’s a retelling of events already told in other media. I’m honestly not sure. But as someone who’s knowledge of the series is literally equal to that of a manatee, I actually became fascinated by the concepts and lore found in this universe. It seems right up my alley.
In terms of gameplay, well, if you’ve been watching the trailers leading up to the release, you’d be forgiven for being completely clueless as to what it’s actually all about. Don’t worry, though. I was too. Even when I popped it into my Switch for the first time, I was somewhat anxious to find out for sure. You look at the screenshots and the trailers, and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this was a visual novel. All the PR seems ashamed of the fact that this game is a fairly basic but enjoyable dungeon crawler.
The game is split between the story sections, the town sections, and the dungeons themselves. There’s very little in terms of the town areas. It’s all menu-driven. No exploration, basically like the Etrian Odyssey kind of old-school style. It’s minimal. You can head to your home to improve your stats, head to the market to buy or beef up equipment, chat with some characters, and select which missions you want, either side quests or to advance the story.
The story is quite a big focus, the before and after sections of the dungeon crawling are ripe with long dialogue scenes between characters and there’s often a drop of fan service in there too. Whether it be a completely random shower scene with strategically placed bubbles or just someone trying on a bunny outfit during a shopping trip, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon has you covered in that area. It’s not over-the-top hilarity in the sense of something like Omega Labyrinth Life, but on the other hand, it’s probably not the kind of game you want to play on the bus to work.
In fact, my mother-in-law did walk in on me right at the perfect time during one of the shower scenes, which was quite painful for everyone involved. That woman just has the best timing in the world.
But once you’re in the dungeon you can relax about who may be watching over your shoulder. It’s a basic dungeon rusher, in real-time rather than turn-based. Its not a mystery dungeon game or anything, which I’m slightly disappointed with, but that’s my own fault. I’m not holding the game against my initial expectations.
You move around with full analogue control with a basic hack-n-slash attack, plus a more wide reaching powerful attack that leaves you vulnerable for a second or too afterward. You have magic as well. As you walk around the dungeon, either looking for the next floor or objective, shadow monsters will regularly pop up in your path. The action is mindless, though. You attack, retreat while the enemy has their go, and then hack once more. There’s very little depth here aside from gauging the time before enemies attack or their attack signals. It reminded me of the Pokemon Rumble games, which is not exactly a flattering comparison. But you know what, I was initially disappointed with how simple it is, but then I laid back, turned my brain off for a while, and started to quite enjoy it.
The attack, dodge roll, attack again nature appealed to my enjoyment of the equally mindless Dynasty Warriors series. It has a pick up and play feel to it too, due to the short nature of missions involved.
Missions can range from reaching a certain floor, finding an item, killing a defined amount of enemies. And all of these can potentially have a time limits involved. There’s enough variety here, and you don’t always start from the first floor. The game shifts you around even early on as the more experienced Ais can take on more dangerous enemies.
It’s pretty easy at the beginning, the general missions will be mostly a cakewalk, but the boss battles took me by surprise. The first boss presented was when I knew I had to sit up and get my game on. And a thrilling battle ensued. It was a hard fought victory after multiple failures.
ABOUT THIS RELEASE
Now, let me explain this release. This game was released in Japan late last year. But that Japanese release did not have English on it. But this release I have in my hands now is for Asian regions like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and such. This DOES have English.
A western release is planned, but may be quite a way off. Retail listings say around May, but I think that was before Pqube said they are re-doing the English translation. The problem is that the English in this release is properly dodgy. I mean, fair play to them for trying, but this transported me back to the 90s and even late 80s where the English translation was low on the list of priorities in terms of quality control. I mean, you can understand what’s going on.
You can follow the story and dialogue very easily, that’s not a problem. It’s not gibberish or anything, but the amount of wrong words used, sentence structures being all over the place, bad spelling and such may actually make this release legendary. It stands out like a hilariously sore thumb. I mean, it didn’t bother me entirely. I’m very blasé about it personally. It was charming, and I need to give them mad props for the amount of British slang used here.
I mean, I have never seen the word bollocking used in a game before. Yeah. Give someone a bollocking. It almost gave me tears of nostalgia being out of England for so long. That word feels like an old long lost friend. And knob-shiner! They actually called someone a knob-shiner, and I burst out laughing. I love it. The script is so poorly organized, but it’s legendary to me.
It’s also worth noting that in this Asian release, there is a download code in the box for an extra little game. It’s a runner shmup based on this game featuring pixel art and… you know what, it’s actually quite a lot of fun. If you need get the code and you want to download this, you need to access a Hong Kong eShop, and then you’re golden. It’s a basic shmup, but it is fun and I really like the pixel work of how they’ve downsized all the enemies and characters.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
In terms of visuals in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, well, it’s obviously quite basic. This has not been a big budget production from Mages, the development team. You can see that. Basic menus for the outer dungeons, overly simplistic 3D graphics for the dungeon crawling.
It’s clear to see that more money was probably spent on the Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon license than actual game development. I think more could have been done even though this is standard for the genre. You look at Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon and Omega Labyrinth Life, and they are always the bear minimum in terms of graphics, especially in Japanese development.
The character art and still cutscenes are fantastically drawn, however. I have to at least give it praise for that.
The audio is quite good, in my opinion. I have no idea if the music here is ripped from the anime show or what, but either way I really enjoyed the music even if I wish there was a few more different songs. I love the town theme which instantly gave me massive hits of nostalgia. It sounded like the original Suikoden, which is one of my favorite game soundtracks. The voice work is pretty good too, but it’s only in Japanese.
In terms of value, well, if you want this early English version, you have a few options. Firstly, you don’t want the Japanese release at all. That does not have English, unfortunately. But, the recent Asian release does have English. How to get this one then? Well, you can try your luck with the Hong Kong eShop. It’s 360 HK dollars which is $46US, £35 and €42 with a 6 GB download. That seems convenient, but I’m not aware of places that sell Hong Kong eShop credit. If I do find a place, I’ll let you know. It may sound like a lot for something that looks this simplistic, but there’s a decent enough story length, plus a very impressive post-story content to experience.
Perhaps the easiest thing to do is the slowest option. That is to import a physical copy from Hong Kong like I have here myself. There are options for both a standard edition as well as a collector’s edition, which includes a plastic file, a soundtrack CD, an adventurer’s guidebook, plus an English print cover.
There’s even an add-on bundle, which you won’t be disappointed to hear, that has an ultra classy big boob 3D mouse pad. You always know where you stand when a game offers a boob mouse pad.
Hong Kong vs Western Release
If you want to import this Asian release, there are links below. If you use these links, then you also help support the SwitchWatch team as we will earn a small cut from each purchase. These really help improve the show, whether it is to buy equipment, software, and many of the games we purchase to review, including this one. Yes, I paid for this one to review, thanks to your support.
It’s also worth noting that this will eventually get a western release. I know listings online have stated May, but after having spoken to Pqube, the western publisher, myself. I think that was their original idea. But when I talked with them, they said that when they got their hands on this English version, it didn’t gel with their standards. Yes, the English in this one is a spotty to say the least. Serviceable for me personally, but I can understand where they are coming from. So they told me they are re-writing the whole translation which will probably take a bit of time. SO you can either wait for the long term. Or import like myself I think it’s worth it.
The English is poor, but I was more entertained by it than anything else.
Overall, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon is a fun game in many ways. It appeals to me due to it having a genre that I truly enjoy. It’s not a modern game for sure. Niche is a great word for it. But if you enjoyed the likes of Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon and Omega Labyrinth Life but want a more hack-n-slash version that’s more pick-up-and-play, then I think you will definitely get a nice kick out of this release. It’s not top tier, of course. It’s very basic, and so it’s not going to appeal to everyone. But the fan service is here, laid back gameplay, and it’s something that I was happy to add to my collection.
REVIEW SCORE: 7/10
Right now, I suggest you head over to watch my reviews of similar games to this one. As mentioned, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon and Omega Labyrinth Life offer just as cool options, plus they are awesome imports such as this one. And check out my weekly physicals video. It’s a labor of love for myself. Not many people watch it, but those who do love it. So give it a shot.