Publisher: Sekai Project
Developer: Mr. Tired Media
Release: Sep 28, 2020
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PlayStation 4, Steam
I didn’t know what to expect with Undead Darlings: No Cure For Love. The game is described as part visual novel, part RPG, and part dungeon crawler. I enjoy all of these genres, but the challenge of combining all of them together is this: if one aspect is done poorly, the whole game can be ruined. Thankfully, that’s not the case of Undead Darlings.
You play as Reggie Happenstance who is awakened from a long slumber by your best friend Pearl. She tells you that your father left you a note, which describes that a zombie plague has broken out, and it’s up to you to find the cure that he has hidden. Here’s the twist, your best friend Pearl has been bitten by a zombie. Not yet fully turned, it’s up to you to find the cure before she does. And as you play, you come to find out that she’s not the only one of your friends that has been bitten. No pressure.
The visual novel aspect of the game allows you to select different dialogue options, which in turn, drive your relationships with your friends. The writing is humorous, although it is sprinkled with quite a bit of highschool raunch, which is pretty pertinent, since the characters are around highschool age.
Dungeon crawling is from a first person perspective, similar to early Doom or Wolfenstein, but with much better graphics. You have a map in the lower right corner to help guide you around the levels. The interesting part about the dungeon crawling and battles is that, while you control your zombie friends in battle, Reggie doesn’t do any fighting. His role in the dungeon crawling is to basically carry all the equipment/items for your party. And in the beginning, you can’t carry a lot, only ten items, so you’ll need to decide which items you really need for your dungeon delving.
The combat is turn based, and each of your characters has a health meter and a mana meter. Your characters can either attack, use a skill/spell, or use an item. And the battles, especially in the beginning of the game, are very difficult. There is no pulling punches in this game. Battles occur two different ways, either by running into a “zombie cupcake” icon which have different colors based on the battle event, normal battles, challenges (which are like mini bosses), and boss battles. The other way a battle can occur is through a random event. As you explore the dungeon, you’ll find items that will reduce (or increase, if you want) the chances of a random event for a certain number of steps. In between battles, you do gain a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) of your health and mana back, but not enough to sustain a lengthy delve. You will need to use recovery items that you pick to heal you and get your mana back. Unlike a lot of other RPGs, when you level up, you don’t regain your health or mana back, which makes the game even more difficult.
The artwork in the game is just as quirky as the story. The characters have a very anime look, and the enemies you fight in the game are just wacky looking, but they’re all very well done. For instance, one enemy looks like an egg with arms and legs, another enemy, called Ashey, is an ashtray with eyes. It’s so bizarre, but fitting for the overall tone of the game.
Final Grade: B+
Those that are looking for a good visual novel/RPG will enjoy this game a lot, if they can get past some of the raunchy dialogue and the difficult battles in the beginning of the game. Certainly not the most bawdy game I’ve ever played, but it’s not a game for kids. The story is interesting enough to keep you going and the battles are challenging for those that are looking for something different to play. With Halloween right around the corner, this is a perfect game for those that are looking for a game that will fit that spooky theme but isn’t filled with jump scares.
Review code provided by PR Hound