Available for: Android Mobile
From NTT Solmare Corporation, makers of the popular “Shall We Date” series of dating sim games for android and ios mobile devices, comes Shall we date?: Shall we date Destiny Ninja. Instead of the standard formula wherein players purchase characters and extra scenarios, Shall we date Destiny Ninja is free-to-play. Meaning, you can see a romance through from start to finish if you have the patience to wait for your stamina points to be restored. It features nine dateable characters, swoon-worthy CG stills and several types of endings per ninja.
As it is with other entries in the Shall we date? series, the game features a theme. The story is set in feudal Japan during the time of the Genpei War (1180 – 1185). The Minamoto clan has risen up against the tyrannical Taira clan and the two are currently embroiled in a brutal war. You are the mysterious female protagonist. Save for your clothes, you have no clue who or where you are. Fortunately, you can get to choose one of several gorgeous ninja warriors from the Minamoto clan to protect you.
In order to help you narrow down your choices, each ninja comes with a unique title and a short write-up to give you an idea of their personality. For instance, there’s Benkei, “a naive, rowdy boy with a one-track mind” and then there’s Hyuga, the “wicked mean ninja”. Our favorite description would have to be Sohma, the “mean but with an angel heart brother like ninja”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. The rest of the game is also plagued with translations that seem to be copied directly from Google Translate so depending on your tolerance level, you will either end up thoroughly amused or the grammar police in you will constantly be cringing.
Fear not Shall we date? fans, Shall we date Destiny Ninja does have its good points. Though it’ll be hard to ignore the text altogether, you can at least be distracted by the scrumptious eye candy on your screen. It doesn’t matter if you understood what he meant by “woman loves this when we do this, isn’t it?”, if you’re a sucker for cocky red heads, then Enya may be the one for you. Yes, the text translation may be terrible but at least the portraits are stellar enough to fill in the gaps. Making the correct dialogue choices will also reward you with CG stills and potentially, some sweet (or steamy) bonus artwork.
Depending on whom you choose, the scenarios change quite a bit. However, the basic formula stays the same: the ninja you chose can’t fall in love with you but he does anyway. The two of you get married and maybe even unlock a whole gallery of CGs along the way, the end. If that doesn’t seem like it’s enough to complete your otome game cravings, you’ll be glad to know there’s no lack of drama as you try to uncover your past and learn all about your new boyfriend. With its historically accurate setting and 11 swoon-worthy volumes, Shall we date Destiny Ninja’s delivery isn’t bad at all. Just don’t expect award-winning stuff.
Though they may distract you from enjoying your thematic love story, the biggest problem with Shall we date Destiny Ninja does not lie with the issues we’ve mentioned above. It’s actually with the obnoxious, stamina-based mechanics. Sure, we understand that free-to-play games have to make money too but with a maximum of only five stamina points and the need to use one every thirty sentences, it’s a bit too cruel for the average player. You do recover energy eventually, but you’ll have to wait for four hours per point. It takes almost the whole day to recover enough for fifteen minutes of game play.
If you’re willing to pay, then you can fast track the flow of the story. Buying Camilla Rice Cakes gives you another 30 lines of dialogue. It is possible to earn a few of these premium items from special events or successfully completing ninja tasks but the latter still involves in-game transactions. Then there’s the sneaky virtual pass system. Gone are the days when a kiss was all it took to make your in-game boyfriend happy. In order to pass a checkpoint, you’ll either have to log in diligently for seven days in a row or you can opt to purchase clothes for your ninja warrior’s pet –with actual money of course.
Returning Shall we date? fans will surely be out of their comfort zone with the new free-to-play model. While it’s a nice sampler package for otome newbies, it would be wise to keep your purchases in check or else you may fall out of love with the game when you get the bill. It would be better if Solmare offered this new system as well as the traditional one in which players pay for chapters. That way, nobody has to pay more than they have to and the company still gets a big chunk of change from returning fans.