Touken Ranbu Warriors Review (Nintendo Switch)

Release Date: May 24, 2022 (North America)
Developers: Omega Force, Ruby Party
Publishers: Koei Tecmo
Genre: Musou
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

If you’ve been following me on my socials, you’ve probably noticed by now, how much of an avid fan I am of the Touken Ranbu series. This franchise literally has me in a chokehold on every facet imaginable! From religiously doing my daily logins on the browser/mobile game, watching all the anime series, live-action movies, stage plays, and musicals, to collecting figures and merch hoarding. You name it! I am just your all-around Touken Ranbu dork!

So, when Koei Tecmo and Ruby Party announced last year that the series will be adapted into a Musuo Game, I was very ecstatic! While a Musou/Warriors game isn’t really my usual go-to’s, I have grown very fond of the genre since the release of Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3) and have very much enjoyed a decent chunk of the Hyrule Warriors series since the WiiU generation. 

Now you can agree or disagree with this, but being familiar with the original premise of Touken Ranbu, it only makes sense for it to be adapted into a Musou game. I mean, why not? You have a large selection of characters that embody Japan’s legendary swords, a good historical-fantasy setting about fighting evil revisionists that are trying to change history. Best of all, a very large fanbase (both in Japan and the West) who are already very invested with their favorite (sword) characters, as well as the lore of the series itself. DMM and Nitro Plus’ Touken Ranbu series is definitely a great game to get picked up as a musou title. Whether it does well in the musou genre, however, will be up to the player’s experience!

With that said, Touken Ranbu Warriors is by no means an Otome Game nor a Visual Novel. I will be reviewing this game, however, as I believe it massively appeals to a good subset of otome and joseimuke gamers alike. In addition, Ruby Party (the studio that developed the first otome game) is involved in the development of Touken Ranbu Warriors, making it their first ever game to have reached the western audience.

STORY

In Touken Ranbu Warriors, famous swords take on the form of warriors known as the Touken Danshi (swordsmen). Fifteen Touken Danshi have been drifting through time without their Saniwa (master) to guide them when they are suddenly attacked by the menacing History Retrograde Army (HRA). After the fighting breaks out, the Touken Danshi are approached by the Government of the Time (through Konnusuke) and are sent on a mission into the war-torn Sengoku Era where the revision of Japanese history is already underway.

CHARACTERS AND VOICE ACTORS

Another aspect of Touken Ranbu Warriors that may appeal tremendously to Otome fans is its top-tier cast of amazing voice actors who have all portrayed several prominent roles of some of our favorite Otome game love interests.

FIRST TEAM
Kosuke Toriumi as “Mikazuki Munechika”– Ichiya (Variable Barricade), Saito (Hakuoki), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Rei Mikuni (CxM), Chojiro (Nightshade), Cecil (Utapri)
Toru Sakura as “Tonbokiri”Kyosuke Yajima (Hanayaka Nari series), Hisora Kiyuzumi (Nei no Machi), Tatsu (Disorder 6)
Junichi Suwabe as “Sengo Muramasa” Kaoru Rindo (Cafe Enchante), Artem Wing (Tears of Themis), Van Helsing (Code Realize), Higa (Bad Apple Wars), Ren (Utapri), Kaname Asahina (Brothers Conflict)
SECOND TEAM
Kaito Ishikawa as “Kasen KanesadaIl Fado de Rie (Cafe Enchante), Marius (Tears of Themis), Dante (Piofiore), Alan Crawford (Midnight Cinderella), Dimitri (Fire Emblem Three Houses)
Atsushi Tamaru as “Ichigo Hitofuri”Kasuga (Variable Barricade), Tsukioka Tsumugi (A3!), Kohei Natsume (Kitty Love), Semi Tokitaka (Dairoku), Azul Ashengrotto (Twisted Wonderland)
Yuki Kaji as “Hyuga Masamune”Kei Okazaki (CxM), Luke (Tears of Themis), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kazue Souma (Hakuoki), Kakeru (Norn9), Rath (Black Wolves Saga)
Soma Saito as “Namazou Toushiro” Mineo Enomoto (CxM), Shungen (Birushana), Levi (Psychedelica AH), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Outaro (Winter’s Wish Spirits of Edo) Yves (Shuuen no Virche)
THIRD TEAM
Tarosuke Shingaki as “Heshikiri Hasebe”Fin (Steam Prison), Caramia (Ozmafia!!), Kennyo (Ikemen Sengoku), Date Kaname (AI: Somnium Files)
Seiichiro Yamashita as “Yagen Toushiro” Ryuuki (Juuzaengi), Hugo (Shuuen no Virche), Yoichi (Winter’s Wish Spirits of Edo), Subaru Aster (Qualia/Δ)
Hirofumi Nojima as “Tomoegata Naginata” Masanobu Mochida (CxM), Dionysus (Kamigami no Asobi), Takuto Iwai (Gakuen Heaven), Yoshikage (Hana Oboro)
FOURTH TEAM
Takuya Sato as “Shokudaikiri Mitsutada”Kazu (Variable Barricade), Kuga Genjuro  (Winter’s Wish Spirits of Edo),Toya Masamune (Norn9), Takatoo Tasuku (A3!), Shuri (Angelique Luminarise), Sassa Nozumo (TMGS 4)
Soma Saito as “Tsurumaru Kuninaga” Mineo Enomoto (CxM), Shungen (Birushana), Levi (Psychedelica AH), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Outaro (Winter’s Wish Spirits of Edo) Yves (Shuuen no Virche)
Makoto Furukawa as “Ookurikara” Allan Melville (Cupid Parasite), Lugus (Psychedelica AH), Adage (Steam Prison), Kyle Ash (IkeRev), Yoritomo (Birushana), Kazuma Kamikubo (Lover Pretend)
FIFTH TEAM
Maeno Tomoaki as “Yamanbagiri Kunihiro”Lupin (Code Realize), Radius (Period Cube), Camus (Utapri), Keisuke Sanjo (CxM), Riku Nishijima (Lover Pretend), Sanaeki Kuroba (Ken ga Kimi)
Kengo Takanashi as “Yamanbagiri Chougi” Israel Dyson (Princess Britania) , Rei Tengenjibashi (Tokyo Onmyoji), Ikyuu Soujun (Akanesasu Sekai de Kimi to Utau)
MYSTERY CHARACTER (New)
Takuma Terashima as “Omokage” Otoya (UtaPri), Sanada Yukimura (Hakura 7), Sasuke (Shinobi Koi), Iroha (Hana Awase), Nagihara Taiki (Bad Medicine), Kyosuke (Storm Lover), Hinoyama Sakura (Dynamic Chord)

GAMEPLAY

In the original Touken Ranbu, you, as the player, take on the role of the Saniwa in your designated Honmaru and are tasked to protect history by making sure the timeline and events that happened in the past stayed as it is. The game’s main focus is for you to send your Touken Danshi on sortie missions back through different eras of Japanese history in order to fight and defeat the HRA, who are threatening to change the course and flow of time.

The browser/mobile game mainly operates largely on clicking menus and buttons to send your Touken Danshis to the battlefield. The original gameplay is as hands-free as possible, and all you really do is sit back and watch your TouDan husbandos fight, as well as hope that they don’t break in the process.😅 (See gameplay clip below)

In Touken Ranbu Warriors, the premise and concept pretty much stay the same, except that instead of clicking the “Charge” button and letting your team fight automatically, you will have to control your Touken Danshi this time in combat. This is where the Warriors gameplay comes in.

In your typical warriors game, you’re free to fight large mobs of enemies during combat missions. Though you will need to stick to defeating the ones that are highlighted in your missions (and in maps) to reach your end goal in succession. The combat dynamics of Touken Ranbu Warriors are your typical hack n’ slash musou gameplay. However, there will be a few kickers here and there as the game sometimes throws you into stealth missions where you don’t have to fight enemies but rather sneak onto an enemy camp without being seen. There are also escort missions where the goal is to have your Touken Danshi escort certain characters in the story to reach an end destination without getting killed.

I personally loved these added gameplays as it alleviates the hackneyed and repetitive button-mashing system. At the same time, making the story more immersive for players.

One of the prominent features during combat is the ability of your Touken Danshi to perform Hissatsu attacks, where a cut scene takes place capturing each of the character’s trademark move as they elegantly slash enemies in their path while exclaiming their famous lines (from the original game). Hissatsu Attack in the original series is called Shinken Hissatsu 必殺, sometimes referred to as the “Killing Blow” of your Touken Danshi. It is one of the most powerful moves of your sword which triggers their ‘awakened form’.

Two Touken Danshis can also partner up on the battlefield and will have their own cutscenes as partners if Hissatsu attacks are triggered while they are fighting side by side. The more you pair up your toudans, the more their relationships and bonds deepen, which in the long run, unlocks certain events and cutscenes involving the two characters.

STORY MODE AND REPLAY OPTION

Unlike the original game, where you as the saniwa pick certain toudans in your roster and form your team to send out to ‘Sortie’, in Touken Ranbu Warriors, the game automatically picks which team will head out in sortie missions. Each team will have its own chapters and stories (in different eras) to clear.

What’s really neat is that, while the story mode locks in on a certain team for you. You can still replay your previous missions using any Touken Danshi of your choice in the REPLAY OPTION. In addition, you’ll also be able to level up your characters while doing these replays. If you’ve purchased the DLC, you will be able to sortie your characters (during replays) in their casual Honmaru attires as a bonus!

MINI-GAMES AND THE HONMARU

The Honmaru is your main base. It’s where all the Touken Danshi lives and return after each mission. Staying true to the original series, you can assign different characters to perform duties in the Honmaru.

For characters that are not out on Sortie missions, you can place them in different locations around the Honmaru, and make them work their butts off! By doing this, you can raise not only the Touken Danshi’s level but also the level of your Honmaru, which in turn unlocks more features of the game. One of the features that you can unlock early on is the variety of mini-games.

Once unlocked, these mini-games are triggered randomly after every mission you finish. They are rather, short, nevertheless, very amusing, and fun all around!

Tonbo did his best! (* ^ ω ^)

There are different mini-games that unlock in different locations in the Honmaru. So far, the mini-games that I’ve encountered in my gameplay are as follows:

Veranda:
-Flower arrangement
-Tea brewing

Kitchen:
-Mochi pounding
-Onigiri making

Garden:
-Crop Harvesting
Tag

Recreation Room:
-Pose matching
Karuta

If you place two Touken Danshis in the same location, they’ll be able to play the mini-games together. Thus, increasing their bonds, as they grow closer to each other.

Besides the mini-games, there are lots of fun surprises, not to mention fanservice-ey things that you can do in the Honmaru. One is being able to change your Honmaru’s backdrop (DLC) to match different seasons. You can also change your Touken Danshi’s outfits into their casual attires (DLC). If you press the left joystick on your switch, you can trigger a gush of wind at the current scenery in your Honmaru, and you can use the dedicated “poke” button (or your switch’s touch screen) to poke your favorite sword boy and see their funny, cute, & adorable reactions! 

Hasebe…please!

PHOTO MODE AND VOICE GALLERY

Speaking of fanservice, the game is equipped with a photo mode option, where you can take pictures of your Touken Danshi anywhere, anytime, and customize them however you like! My personal favorite is to take pictures of my boys during an intense battle where they are all disheveled and wounded. I need to see more skin, please! (laughs)🤭

In the photo mode, you can also adjust the camera’s angle, and even add photo filters and random items on the screen, from the toudan’s emblem to kababs and dangos!

The Voice Gallery in the Memoirs section allows you to listen and replay voiced lines (system, action and battle sounds) of your Touken Danshi. I thought this was pretty nifty for seiyuu fans! So, if you just want to listen to Tori or Maeno’s voice when you feel like it, this feature got you covered. Unfortunately, these lines don’t have subtitles, and as short as they are, this may still pose a problem for english-only players.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

If you bought the physical version of Touken Ranbu Warriors, you can purchase and download the additional content of the game through the Nintendo Eshop. These DLC Contents are as follows:

  • 16 Piece Set of casual “Uchiban” outfits of the Touken Danshi.
  • 5 Piece Set of Honmaru Backdrop
  • 5 Piece Set of Additional Music (these are arrangement pieces from the original game Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-)

For digital goers, you have the option to purchase the base game + the DLC for the price of $109.99 or just the regular game for $59.99. The good thing is that you can purchase each of the DLC content separately. So if you just want to get your hands on the extra outfit of your favorite Touken Danshi without paying for the entire bundle, these options are available as well. The same goes for the additional backdrops and music tracks.

In my opinion, and I am speaking as a fan of the series, the additional music tracks were definitely worth it. Hearing the OG songs in this spin-off was quite a treat, especially the original Honmaru theme (that arrangement was beautiful!). I also love seeing my sword boys in their Uchiban outfits as it’s the very same ones they wear in their “Duties” attire from the original game.

TRAILER


IMPRESSIONS AND OVERALL THOUGHTS

I don’t claim to be a musou game expert, but comparing this title to the musou games I’ve played in the past, I can definitely say it is very toned down and really doesn’t offer any new challenges to the musou veterans. And that is okay as Touken Ranbu Warriors, was developed with a different target audience in mind – which are the joseimuke fans (most especially in Japan). So if you are wondering whether the musou aspect will intimidate you from picking this title up, worry not, as this entry is very beginner-friendly. In my case, I started my gameplay in ‘Normal’ mode and then switched to ‘Hard’ mode in the later chapters once I got in the hang of the controls (keep in mind, this is coming from someone who struggles in Dynasty Warriors 8, normal mode 🤣). In any case, if you still find the controls overwhelming, the game is equipped with an in-game guide which you can easily access in the settings option.

Story-wise, I have successfully cleared Chapter One with Manba & Chougi and currently progressing through the middle parts of Chapter Two with the Dategumi team as we speak. And boy, let me tell you, these sortie missions (story mode) are amazing! If you’re a fan of historical fantasies, this should be your cup of tea. While the main plot focuses on the Touken Danshi fixing the timelines infiltrated by the HRA, I definitely sense an underlying story brewing around the corner, (a very intriguing one at that) and it’s only going to get even more interesting as the narrative continues. The game, if anything, gave me TKRB: Katsugeki vibes, except with a surprising twist! If you’re a fan of the franchise like me, you will definitely dig this.

As for the characters, I loved how all the Touken Danshi stayed true to their original personas. Manba is still his awkward self, and Chougi is still cocky as ever. My boy, Ookurikara’s famous “I’m not here to make friends” one-liner still makes a good charming comeback,😅 and Sengo… Well, he still wants to flaunt his goods and strip naked. 😂😂😂

If I had to mention one gripe, it’d be due to the lack of other Touken Danshi in this spin-off. The Shinsengumi swords are nowhere to be found, and my 推し (oshi), Kogistunemaru isn’t there.😔 While I love ALL of the sixteen characters in Touken Ranbu Warriors (including the new ootachi, Omokage), I’d give anything to see my other favs as playable characters. I’m pretty sure, other Touken Ranbu fans would agree.

Am I able to enjoy this game without any prior knowledge of the Touken Ranbu franchise?
Absolutely! While I’m reviewing this title, as someone who’s already a fan of the series, I can honestly say that Touken Ranbu Warriors is a good stand-alone game that would still appeal to you if you are one of the following:

  • joseimuke or otome game fan who’s open to trying a musou game.
  • Someone who loves (Japanese) historical fantasies in fiction.
  • A joseimuke or otome game fan who appreciates (action-packed) gameplays as much as an engaging story/plot.
  • Is interested in learning more about the Touken Ranbu franchise. This game, in my opinion is a good entry to those who are new to the TKRB lore.

Contrary to the points above, you will probably grow uninterested in this game if you are:

  • Looking for romance in your gameplay. There is no romance in this game.
  • Have zero interest in trying a musou game.
  • If you expect the gameplay to be more on the visual novel side.
  • If you are a hardcore musou enthusiast who demands a challenging gameplay.

Overall, Touken Ranbu Warriors is a fantastic Switch title to play this summer! To the curious joseimuke gamers who are still on the fence about picking this title up. So long as you don’t mind the hack n’ slash aspect of the gameplay, I definitely recommend trying this one out, especially to those who enjoy an engaging plot and endearing cast of beautiful characters. There’s a DEMO available in the eshop that you can try for yourself, if you want to get a good feel of the game.

If you’re a fan of Touken Ranbu like me, this spin-off is an absolute must-play. Take my word for it!

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10


Want a chance to win a DELUXE EDITION of Touken Ranbu Warriors? Head over to Twitter and enter this giveaway!


3 thoughts on “Touken Ranbu Warriors Review (Nintendo Switch)

  1. The only thing I do not care for is that they’re hinging the entire market of their otoge catalog being released in the west on the sales and success of this game. Going back to PSP days with Hakuouki coming to the west, Idea Factory had the right idea to release the original game on a console first before releasing their muso game.

    I’m waiting to see what my friends locally say as far as how the game is before I buy it. I love supporting the otoge market but releasing a game that’s not the primary genre of the source material makes me skeptical also on how serious they are. I guess since Hakuouki was my first that I don’t really have an interest in TR but I don’t want us to lose out on other games that this publisher has in their catalog (La Corda de Oro…..I’ve wanted for almost 2 decades at this point).

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  2. Thanks for this review! I have been interested in Touken Ranbu since you started tweeting about the online-mobile game! I find the sword guys attractive 🤣 so I downloaded the app and started playing it. I was curious about the warriors adaptation of this one. I liked Fire Emblem Warriors and that was my very first warriors game ever, It was a little grindy but I think the gameplay wasn’t too difficult at all, (playing on Casual). I ordered this one because I love the voice actors for this game and hearing you saying the mechanics are easier than the normal warriors game, I can rest easy I will not get stressed out in my gameplay haha! Anyway I wanted to get into collecting some merch for the series and maybe otome games too and notice you have a treasure trove of them from your twitter post lol sorry for asking such a question but can you do a room tour and tell me where you got those collectibles and how to order and import them???

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  3. I just bought this the other day after reading this and I’m OBSESSED! I’m so glad you recommended it!

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