{Otome Game Review}: Nightshade – Goemon Ishikawa

Title: Nightshade (Hyakka Hyakurou Sengoku Ninpou-chou [百花百狼 戦国忍法帖])
Genre: Historical, Fantasy
Developer: D3 and Red Entertainment
Platform: Steam (English/Japanese), PS Vita (Japanese)
Release Date: April 11, 2017 (English)

Official Website | Steam


During the Sengoku Period the two main factions of ninja clans, Iga and Kōga, warred against each other for decades.

In the year 1593, Nobunaga Oda started the Tenshō Iga war, decimating most of the Iga ninjas in the process.

The very few that survived were absorbed into the Kōga clan, despite their past rivalries.

After 17 years the Sengoku Period finally came to an end, and Japan was unified.

Enju (Protagonist), daughter of Kandō Ueno, the Head of the Kōga clan, spends her days training diligently in hope of becoming a full-fledged ninja like her peers.

At long last she is assigned to her first mission, but finds herself caught in a dark conspiracy.

Opening Movie: Promotional Movie:

Route Review

Rating: ★★★☆½

Normally when I start a brand new otome game, I choose the character I find the most attractive – and I usually have a type: shaggy and/or slicked back hair and either a serious or arrogant expression. Goemon obviously does not fall into either one, but I chose his route first because I read somewhere that if you want to play the game on a scale of least to most angst, it would be best to start with Geomon and work your way up to Gekkamaru – which I found so amusing because I had initially intended to choose Gekkamaru first. (So, yes, I followed a guide while playing Night Shade. Usually I don’t, I just play however I want.)

The backstory unfolds pretty quickly and it doesn’t take long to introduce the main character. I was impressed that she was actually training to be a ninja just like everyone else in the village because I had expected her to be coddled and treated like glass since she is the only daughter of the two ninja clans that united. In most otomes that I’ve played, the MC is always either clumsy, helpless, ditzy, naive, or useless (or a horrid combination of everything) so it was really refreshing to see an MC who can actually fight and isn’t just all talk.

Goemon’s route had some surprising twists that completely caught me off-guard and had some really hilarious moments. Figures, since his route is the most lighthearted one and it definitely matches his personality. He’s friendly, carefree, and kind, but likes to tease the MC and is a shameless flirt. He’s a bit too old for her, in my opinion, but I had to keep reminding myself that this was during the Edo period (early 1600’s) in Japan so it was probably a nonissue. The only real angst there was in Geomon’s story was about the past he was running away from, but eventually had to face when it caught up to him at the climax.

I felt a bit bored playing his route, but also really impatient because Gekkamaru was RIGHT THERE most of the time and I couldn’t help but think “HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO FINISH GOEMON’S ROUTE WHENN GEKKAMARU IS RIGHT THERE BEING A SWEET, LOYAL, AND SELFLESS CINNAMON ROLL?!??” I quickly realized that this was a problem I created for myself because I didn’t choose my favorite right off the bat like I normally do. Haha There were also a few moments where I felt the MC was being way to nice and naive, especially when it came to a brat named Mokichi. I quickly understood why things were playing out the way they were, but it was still frustrating.

Every ninja has their own special “ninjustu”, the MC included. When Goemon’s is finally revealed I was seriously impressed that his was such a dark and destructive one. It was completely opposite to his personality, but also helps you understand him better and realize why he does things a certain way. The end was a bit predictable but I think it’s partly because I already knew I was choosing the ‘right’ answers so I was on my way to the good ending, and that took away some of the suspense.

Overall, I give Goemon’s route a 3.5 stars out of 5. He’s not my usual type and bored me a lot of the times, but the big reveal of his true past and the climax had me enthralled. It was entertaining and somewhat funny, with some interesting twists and turns, and a nice introduction to the world of Nightshade.

Have you played Nightshade yet? Who was the first character you tried? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading and hope to see you again in my next otome review!

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