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Samurai Maiden Review

Samurai Maiden

Developer: Shade
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Platforms: PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC, Switch
Release Date: December 8, 2022
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here


Hack and slash action games and anime girls have gone together quite well through the years with quite a few popular series taking the formula to its limits. Many of those series have now either come to an end or are focusing more on spin-offs but there is always room for more anime action. As such, when it was revealed that D3 Publisher would be bringing Samurai Maiden to the West it seemed like a perfect fit for fans eager for something new. So now that it has arrived and offers plenty of blossoming female action, is this a worthwhile action game?


Tsumugi is a relatively average “Gen Z” girl that occasionally takes part in her family’s swordsmanship dojo but one day while staying late after school and studying for a test, she hears a mysterious voice calling her the Priestess of Harmony and telling her she must put a stop to the revival of the demon lord. Without warning Tsumugi is then transported back in time to the burning temple in Honnou-Ji in 1598. There she meets Oda Nobunaga who is doing his best to survive an enemy attack that history would see him die as a result of, though through this intervention he now survives. Rather than knowing these facts, Tsumugi is stunned and given a sword to help defend herself only to be greeted by three ninjas that all have come to serve as her guides through the underworld to stop the demon lord.

Samurai Maiden‘s storyline is a fairly generic one at the best of times and kind of a slog at worst. This is primarily due to the way that characters will regularly repeat themselves and even repeat entire discussions occasionally in what eventually feels like padding. It is also something of a disappointment that, despite being sent back in time, the game does very little with its actual setting other than include a few historical figures as characters. Although it may seem like an action game, Samurai Maiden‘s storytelling is more akin to a visual novel than anything else. Players will witness lengthy discussions between characters at the beginning and end of nearly every mission with a few missions even having interactions in the middle of them.

While the actual story may not be the most interesting, the actual main characters help things quite a bit despite their trope-filled nature. Tsumugi is a lovable idiot that wears her heart on her sleeve and the three ninjas that join her happen to be Iyo, a ninja under Nobunaga’s employ that lacks confidence but quickly begins to crush on Tsumugi, Hagane who comes from an alternate world and serves as the big-sister type and is very touchy-feely, and finally the tsundere kitsune Komimi whose bristly nature hides a soft side and fluffy tail. 

The interactions between these four girls is enjoyable, especially when they focus on things other than the demon lord, and saying that only Iyo has a crush is a bit of a lie as there is plenty of love to go around. Oddly enough, most of these more intimate interactions only occur in the side-stories players will unlock for characters in their “Bubble Worlds” while the core storyline keeps the yuri relationships a bit to the side in the form of small side-discussions. As such while the core storyline may feature a generic storyline with only a couple of telegraphed twists and a disappointing ending, the interactions between the four heroines are the real highlight here.

It is worth noting that, while the translation is handled well enough for most things, there have been a number of creative liberties taken. Obvious adjustments such as Tsumugi mentioning that she is in high school are replaced with “Gen Z” and multiple other phrases that anyone familiar enough with Japanese will recognize have been translated differently. At one point an entire exchange seemed to have an entirely different translation form what was being said, making these edits an incredibly strange change.


Samurai Maiden is a fairly straightforward action game with players only ever having control of Tsumugi as their primary fighter. When fighting enemies players will be able to make use of a light attack combo, a standing heavy combo, or a lunging heavy stab forward as well as the ability to perform some simple attacks while in the air as well. Tsumugi’s combo chains are incredibly basic with players able to obtain an extra attack per combo by raising their affinity with their three ninja partners, though even then most of her combos are stiff with a dodge roll that only provides a minimal amount of invulnerability before leaving the player open to attack. In fact, players won’t even have the ability to parry or quickly recover from being knocked in the air or to the ground without raising affinity first. Eventually, players will also unlock an ability to temporarily supercharge Tsumugi using one of her allies’ elemental abilities though this only provides a minor damage boost and health regeneration.

As players take down enemies, they can have one of the three companions out with them but they will not actively fight. Instead they can be called into using their special ninjutsu when their gauge is filled, dealing either targeted damage from Iyo, sustained damage from Hagane, or area of effect with Komimi. These girls can also obtain special enhanced moves eventually that will cost three full bars to unleash but can be quite powerful. Iyo can make use of various ninja tools such as bombs, healing pots, and decoys though her ability to actually place them is a bit on the rough side, Hagane will use her mechanical arm to swing from various floating orbs, and Komimi can throw bombs that are laying around.

As players fight alongside their three companions, they will gain little hearts as enemies are defeated. These hearts increase a character’s affinity and can then be used to unlock the aforementioned special side-stories, extra abilities such as more attacks or defensive moves, and special Bubble Worlds. These Bubble Worlds are simpler stages that focus more on the game’s stiff platforming elements and incredibly light puzzles and help provide a bit of fresh air from the hack and slash combat. Every basic stage through the story is simple at best with only a few side locations that may contain a chest that will either unlock concept art or increase the maximum amount of certain ninja tools. 

Enemy encounters in these stages are once again incredibly basic. Players will almost always have to fight a larger foe surrounded by smaller minions and while early levels will seem far too easy, late stages increase the difficulty by simply filling the small arenas players fight in with more foes. This can include having to fight multiple boss level foes at the same time while also dealing with minions that will either randomly attack or simply stand back and watch. Unfortunately thanks to the fairly close camera angle and lock-on that is best ignored, players will often not see attacks coming from behind if they are focusing on a boss. Combine this with the way that bosses will still unleash attacks even after they have been stunned and the fact that players will not be immune to damage after taking a hit, and players can find themselves going from full health to almost dead in an instant should foes all attack at once. It is also worth noting that while not incredibly difficult, these areas can be frustratingly annoying to deal with especially since players are only given one checkpoint to revive at and should they fall in combat again, will have to redo the level from the beginning.

There is some minor customization available for Tsumugi and her friends though it is often rarely useful. Weapons can be enhanced and have various passive bonuses unlocked but since the character’s health and attack strength is tied to her equipped weapon, trying to upgrade a new sword that will not offer any new combo attacks is actually a detriment since players will find themselves incredibly weak until it is on par with their usual gear. Iyo, Hagane, and Komiko’s weapons will offer various attack bonuses as well as certain passive increases as well and are generally worthwhile upgrades but also happen to cost nearly as much as ten improvements to one of Tsumugi’s weapons.

As far as performance goes, Samurai Maiden is a shockingly rough game to play at times. While early stages with few enemies will run smoothly, there were multiple occasions that the entire game would stutter during exploration on the PlayStation 5 and even come to a halt in combat only to pick back up a few seconds later. This often would happen in the middle of battle and on more than one occasion resulted in a death, so hopefully this can be refined a bit once a patch is released.

Visuals & Audio

Samurai Maiden has some gorgeous looking character designs for its main cast. Tsumugi and her friends as well as the various historical figures, and the game’s own take on them, have nicely detailed models with plenty of animation poses when used in the game’s visual novel scenes. Combat stages are unfortunately a bit on the bland side though seeing a few stages the second time around makes for a few unique elements. Enemy designs are unfortunately rather generic and also happen to be re-used and re-colored a lot so players will be fighting only three or four enemy types the entire game.

As far as fanservice goes, things have been censored at least a little bit. Clothing on both Tsumugi and her friends will tear and get dirty while fighting but it will not expose anything and while there are plenty of panty shots during gameplay, the game does place a black censor underneath every characters’ skirt when paused. Thankfully, none of the yuri interactions have been censored in any form and while it only goes as far as kissing, there is at least that.

The Western release of Samurai Maiden only offers the original Japanese voice track but this works quite well as the game features a rather impressive level of talent. This includes Iyo’s voice actress starring in numerous anime and idol groups as well as Nobunaga’s voice actor being the same voice as a certain yakuza. The title features a catchy theme song but for the most part its soundtrack is fairly stereotypical for a game set in the warring states era of Japan.


Although Samurai Maiden may have wanted to make a splash as a new anime action game it ends up barely making a ripple. The straightforward and predictable storyline is only helped by a charming cast of characters that are fun to see interact with one another and learn more about through side-stories while its combat, though serviceable enough, is often a bit limiting and features a number of cheap difficulty spikes. With minimal censored fanservice but still plenty there for yuri fans, Samurai Maiden may not be a noteworthy action game but it is at least serviceable enough for those looking for something to scratch the anime itch.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


Samurai Maiden’s action may feel generic and its story is lacking but some great characters and interactions help make this anime action game at least a bit enjoyable.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Samurai Maiden</i>’s action may feel generic and its story is lacking but some great characters and interactions help make this anime action game at least a bit enjoyable.Samurai Maiden Review