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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Review: Tengai (Switch)

Otherwise known as Sengoku Blade, Tengai is another game that hails from Japanese arcades. This is actually a sequel to Samurai Aces, and it does carry over a couple elements from that title (namely the multiple characters to choose from). I did a double-take though, because the game is played in a side-scrolling view much like that of Sol Divide.


It’s a good thing too, because I prefer this 2D plane over the top-down view a lot of other Psikyo-made shooters utilize. There’s just that much more potential to make a visually appealing game. Tengai certainly makes an effort to live up to that potential too. Maybe not to the same extent as Sol Divide per se, but it’s still a fun-looking game in its own right.


Eh…I think this is one of the blander Psikyo shooters audio-wise. It isn’t bad, and the projectile explosions never cease to be crunchy. There just isn’t anything that sticks out to me, even when tracing back to it after playing through the game. I’d blame the sound effects drowning out music, but I have seen other Psikyo games avert this way of thinking.


Unlike Sol Divide, this game is more in line with Psikyo’s standard shoot ’em up formula. You gun down whatever waves of enemies float around the screen as the level automatically scrolls, then you have to deal with one of many boss battles the game likes to throw at you. You have a special attack, of course, but that should only be used as a last resort since they are in limited quantities. Typical playthroughs take under an hour, but of course, mastering levels and learning the tactics of in-level hazards and enemies is part of the charm of coming back to play again (as well as using the different characters).

One downside with this being a port of the arcade game is, that means there are a few things missing from the SEGA Saturn port, including Marion from Gunbird as an extra character and voice acting during the intermissions. Still, Tengai has the works. For the shoot ’em up people that out there, that may be all they really need anyway.


If you haven’t gotten into the shoot ’em up genre by this point in the Switch’s lifespan, Tengai might not convince you to change your mind. Those who are fans, however, will definitely get a kick out of this entry. It’s another arcade curiosity that wouldn’t hurt to check out.

Review copy provided by Zerodiv

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