LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors

Touken Ranbu Warriors Review

Game: Touken Ranbu Warriors
Genre: Action
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows & macOS))
Developer|Publisher: Omega Force | Koei Tecmo
Age Rating: EU 16+ | US Teen
Price: US $59.99 | UK £49.99 | EU € 59,99
Release Date: May 24th, 2022

Review code provided with many thanks to Koei Tecmo. 

If it’s Popular, it Gets the Warriors’ Treatment.

Touken Ranbu Warriors is an action title that follows the familiar one vs 1000 spectacle Warriors game that Koei Techmo is famous for. This title is a spin-off of a popular free to play collectable card game released on mobile or in web browsers. I’ve honestly never heard of this series, but it appears to be enough of a hit to spawn an anime, a live-action film, a stage production, and a Warriors video game.

If you love these types of games, this entry is not going to offer many surprises to a familiar formula. However this one does feel like a good entry-level to the genre for total beginners and fans of its source material. 

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
What does the spirit fox say?

Fix The Past

You play as the Touken Ranbu, a group of highly trained and highly attractive samurai-like warriors who have been tasked by a spirit fox to jump back in time to fight some demons known as the Historical Renegade Army (HRA) and prevent events in history changing forever. You will mostly be jumping back to the late 1500s (and early 1600s) during Japan’s famous Samurai wars. Only the familiar warriors you encounter here will present very differently from the ones I remember from the Samurai Warriors series made by the same developer. This time they’re presenting as older and mature, and kinda bland in terms of their appearance.

These Warriors games are often known for their over the top character appearances, but other than the main characters, that is really not the case with the NPCs. The plot took me a lot of time to get my head around and often had me questioning the game’s time travel mechanics. For me, it came across as your typical cheesy Warriors title with plenty of banter between the character and me just chuckling at the whole spectacle in the same vein as a B movie. That may not have been the intended effect but it made me smile a lot for sure. If you have some familiarity with Touken Ranbu there are clearly a lot of nods to the source material. If you’re coming in for the first time, like me, then this title may inspire you to read further into the lore. But, if you’re just here for the gameplay, there is plenty of hack and slash fun to be had too. 

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
When you need to save the past, be sure to look good doing it

Hack and Slash to Victory

If you’ve played these games before, the gameplay is pretty straightforward. Run around the map, hacking and slashing your way through hundreds of enemies. You have a standard and strong attack where the two can be mixed to create long combos. Hold the shoulder button and select a special attack from 4 presets. Then you have your special moves, which charge over time and will cause mass devastation all around you once triggered. Lastly, you have a dodge move that was new to me for this game style. Sometimes an enemy will reveal a red bar to allow you to predict early when to dodge out the way. The controls feel tight and responsive.

Jump into Battle

The feeling of jumping into battle and taking down baddies still feels great. As it always has. The game began a little slow for me with a tutorial which was incredibly detailed. Showing up messages for basically all the controls, including movement. I couldn’t help but feel this title catered to a more casual audience since the game offers a simplified control scheme requiring the player to use only one button to attack. The game even offers the player to play the easiest setting first when booting up. If you are experienced, you can play the game on normal or hard mode. Either way, there is something here for all skill levels. 

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
Why did it have to be a demon spider?

Supporting Character

Before a mission begins, you select your character and then a supporting character to accompany you into battle. The goal is usually to locate the main commander and slay them to end the level. But this title actually does attempt to play around with the familiar formula. Some require you to actually explore the map completing specific objectives such as battling specific enemies, luring enemies to specific spots and even stealth missions.

The latter feels pretty out of place in this type of game since you are avoiding enemies a level ago you were happily defeating. It’s a good attempt at trying to change the formula with these objectives but the game still feels at its best when focusing on the familiar brainless fighting. It’s a formula that’s clearly worked for this series for over 20 years now, and it’s still the best part of this game. 

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
Looks like this demon problem got a lot bigger

Level Up

There is also a lot to do between battles. You can place your characters around specific points in the house, and they will naturally level up over time which is very handy for characters you can’t take into battle. You can level up bond levels of characters by teaming up in battle or placing them in the same room on the base. Downtime here is also used to buy trinkets in the shop to buff your skills and even play a few mini-games. These games include cooking, flower arranging, picking crops and many more.

They are simple, bite-sized moments that, performed well, will net you more experience, gold or crafting materials which can be used to upgrade your characters. There’s even a photo mode here if you want to play about with your video game camera skills. A very odd but fun feature is the ability to observe characters in areas of the house and click either of the thumbsticks to blow wind at them or poke them and just observe how they react to it. It’s silly, but I kinda dug it.

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
Between fights, you can engage in some mini-games

Demon Slayer

Graphics are pretty good for a Switch title. I know I say this a lot, but you know what to expect if you played a Warriors game. Over the top playable character models. Enemies that are a little different from the norm. The vast majority, this time, are demon-like monsters, from zombie samurai to skeleton-like snakes. This title even features some enormous boss battles, which you don’t often see in this type of game.

You’ll be exploring a variety of levels, both outdoors and indoors. They become familiar pretty quickly, but I still have to say I dug the Japanese inspired setting. However, even though you regularly jump back to the past, I didn’t get much of a sense the main characters were from the future. They reside in 2205, and yet you hang around in the Japanese countryside in a nice old house.

Japanese Voice Acting

It feels identical to the historical period you are jumping back to visit. But since I have zero familiarity with the source material, maybe I’m missing something here. The game only features Japanese voice acting with English subtitles, which once again makes it hard to read character dialogue while focusing on all the action on screen.

Performance-wise I was very pleased with how well it was handled in TV and handheld mode. Even with several enemies on screen, the game still maintained stability and looked good. The soundtrack felt pretty forgettable, which is a shame since I was sure I was hoping to get some over the top guitar numbers you tend to get from the Dynasty Warriors game but never mind. 

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
You can poke and blow wind at characters in the menu.


Despite all these additions, I did have some niggles. The game’s levels are incredibly short, which sounds pretty good on paper but becomes a bit of a pain when the game is constantly loading back to the main base each time you finish. Fifteen characters are initially playable, yet several use the samurai sword, making them feel pretty similar. Yes, I’m doing it again, but it’s a shame not to see more weapon variety.

I personally love the gameplay of these types of games, but for some players, this game will feel repetitive pretty quick. Despite the efforts to add varied objectives, you will mostly just be hacking and slashing. If you have tried this formula before and it doesn’t click, this title won’t change your mind. The most obvious omission from this entry for me is the game features no co-op, which is a darn shame.

LadiesGamers Touken Ranbu Warriors
Most characters, bar a few, wield a samurai sword

Conclusion – The Power of Warriors 

Touken Ranbu Warriors is a good hack and slash game, but it’s not the best we’ve seen from the developers on Nintendo Switch. Mixing in the mini-games and some varied objectives is a nice touch to the familiar formula. But characters feel too similar, levels feel a bit too short, and the lack of co-op play is a shame. I was there almost day one for Dynasty Warriors 2 on PS2 and remembered being blown away by the spectacle on screen with all the soldiers, both enemies and allies.

I had this feeling for most of the games to follow. With this one, however, I didn’t since it’s just usually you and your partner and occasionally a handful of soldiers. If you’re a fan of the game’s source material or are totally new to this style of game, then I think there is something here for you. For me, this was brainless hack and slash fun but not the best I’ve seen on Nintendo Switch. 

Be sure to check out the game’s free demo if you want to try it before you buy. 

Final Verdict: I Like it

I like it

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