As you walk the crowded streets of a bustling metropolis, you feel your life slowly fading away and your consciousness slip into nothingness. Days flash before your eyes as you recall moments of exhilarating joy, as well as times of profound sadness. In the very last second of your fleeting existence, you are asked one final question. “What do you wish for before meeting your end?”
Isamu No Heya’s newest erotic action RPG, SAKURA Town Sanchōme No Otoko has you playing as a man. This man knows exactly what he wants—to compress time to the point that his last second on Earth becomes almost infinitely long. Of course, as you can probably imagine, this kind of time manipulation will have serious effects on how our crafty protagonist perceives events and people around him. Everything in the world seemingly stops and the player character—being the only being able to move, is allowed to do whatever he pleases to the objects and people around him. As this an erotic game, it may be obvious where the games goals are placed.
Before getting to any serious “action”, you will have to battle hordes of shadowy looking tentacle monsters called “shadow mollusks.” These creatures sap your remaining time in the world of the living. Simply making physical contact with these creatures causes a countdown to the protagonist’s inevitable demise. Defeating enemies by kicking the shit out of them yields several kinds of rewards, such as money. Money can be used in any of the several hidden vending machines throughout the town to purchase equippable items, and karma points, which accumulate into karma levels and are later used for upgrading the stats on the character. Defeating these shadow mollusks isn’t the most profitable way to acquire karma points in the game—that falls to a different mechanic which allows the player build up a long string of combos. Combos build by pulling down the pants of every inanimate male he comes across. Laughing maniacally and running as fast as he can, the player character has to pull down as many lower wardrobe parts of his unsuspecting victims in succession as he can, before a special Prank meter in the upper right corner of the screen expires.
Death is only a gateway to greatness and the lewd adventure awaiting in SAKURA Town. Like in any good RPG, the player character has several stats that can be increased in a menu that comes up each time after reaching the time limit. All of his exploits, including the enemies defeated and the maximum Prank Combo rank achieved in the sessions before death, are calculated and converted. Karma level points—previously converted, are used to increase stats that lengthen all future gameplay sessions. Stats can increase the characters movement speed; the amount of available positions in scenes, number of ejaculations the character can perform, the amount of time that buffs last. The stats will also decrease the time it takes to pull down each encountered dudes underwear, along with the time to get into the girls panties.
There are two power states called Wiseman and Evil, both of which severely impact how the game is played during exploration and sex segments. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. To activate either Wiseman or Evil, the character must masturbate by crouching down and attacking. Either of those states can also be reached by picking up special items from defeated enemies or from the drops that show up after pulling pranks. Wiseman prevents the protagonist from pranking and having sex with any girls, but also removes any traps you find around town, making enemies less numerous and able to take more damage from attacks. Becoming more evil (horny) makes the character go into a super lewd state, allowing him to ejaculate as many times as he wants during sex scenes. It even increases the number of drops from killed shadows, but it’s a two edged sword. It also increases the amount and endurance of all enemies the character encounters. Both states add a significant variation to the gameplay and can either severely hinder progress in getting high prank ranks as well as help along the way with dispatching enemies.
Sadly, the girls available for sexual exploits—which should be the icing on an already interesting cake of a game, are few and far between. Before you can even reach any of them, you will have to have already upgraded your character by a significant amount. The sex scenes feature girls of varying body types, offering the player with a variety of victims to choose from. When it comes to the sex scenes themselves, they are rather limited as even with maximum upgrades the player character can perform only thirteen different sexual acts, which are the same for every girl. There are two rather positive things I can say about the mechanics related to sex. Firstly, after finding and unlocking a specific girl in any area of the map on further sessions, you won’t have to backtrack to that same area to see her again. All the women he has an encounter with can be found in separate apartments just two screens away from the starting area. Secondly, during all sex scenes the time limit mechanic is switched off, so the player can enjoy the act as long as they desire.
The limited music tracks of SAKURA Town aren’t anything to write home about. What does stand out is the voice acting and specifically all the laughs, yells, and grunts the main character blurts out. They all add a bit of spice and humor to an otherwise already pretty amusing game. Moans and other sexual sounds are convincing and are about what you’d expect from most Japanese erotic game productions. While the animations present in the game are fluid, they do come off as overly simplistic and puppet-like—particularly in sex scenes.
Similar to the music, there isn’t much to say about the background art of SAKURA Town. It’s all very bare bones, basic and just detailed enough so that particular set pieces and buildings can be recognizable. What does deserve a bit of praise is the sprite and character sprite. The sprites have a good amount of detail on them and each character is easily distinguishable from the next. The character art goes into a more photo-realistic route without plunging deep into anything resembling an undesirable “uncanny valley” effect. Undoubtedly one of the last strong points of this title is its accessibility to Western players, despite the title being in full Japanese. The user interface is quite intuitive and figuring out what stats affect your character in what way won’t leave you scratching your head.
SAKURA Town Sanchōme No Otoko does a lot of things well in the gameplay department, but does little to make you care about the pornographic aspects. The time stop/time slow down fetish—if you can even call it one, is extraordinarily rare in the game medium, and you’re a lot more likely to see it in drawn or written form. If you’re looking to experience a surprisingly addictive game that emphasizes character progression and humor while serving the porn as an appetizer instead of a main course, then give it a whirl.