There’s a certain cutesy charm in the chibis of Nutaku’s new adventure game Osawari Island: their oblong heads seem too big for their bodies, they totter precariously as they move, and their undersized limbs invite comparisons to a particularly lifelike teddy bear. One might almost forget the game’s storyline, which involves hentai’s version of Robinson Crusoe stranded on an island full of nubile “eromon”. The comparison ends when your fanciful companions drop the gloves and begin a bare-knuckle contest to be the king of an enchanted-mirror image of Japan.
Osawari Island premiered on Nutaku in September and has since proven to be one of the most popular of Nutaku’s games, breaking from previous card-battle formula by introducing a swift, action-packed adventure arena. Players directly control the flow of battle by changing their chibi team’s formation and activating powers that can heal, buff, or deal devastating AOE damage to enemies.
It wouldn’t be a Japanese title without some sort of elemental combat system, so Osawari Island features a “gem” system that identifies the element of each character. It’s a simple rock-paper-scissor mechanic, but as the difficulty climbs and you make your way to the island’s interior, it makes it essential to keep a balanced team of adventurers to overcome the occasional elemental nemesis that would otherwise destroy you.
It’s refreshing to see Nutaku move in a new direction with this title, particularly using an art-style and level of interactivity with a broad appeal to mass audiences. Whether it will be as successful as Osawari Island remains to be seen.