Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a long running anime/manga series based around the titular Kobayashi and her trials of living with a several dragons, in human form, as they try to figure out each other’s culture. While this concept seems like the last place that one would want to draw inspiration from for a top-down shoot‘em up. While the formula might seem odd, it is building off a well know foundation – there is still room for the game to be either fantastic, or forgettable.
Oddly the game finds a wonderful middle ground, between the insanity of the series and the SHUMP gameplay, that of playing as the dragons in different worlds (which is oddly part of the story) as it has the player progress throughout. The title uses three of the dragons, Tohru, Kanna, and Elma; allowing instant swapping between the three at any time. Each dragon plays slightly differently, which all three being treated as lives. Once down, they don’t come back. This is actually an interesting twist on the genre, as it basically forces the player to get good at all three characters/options.
Many of the choices in the title were the correct ones, mainly that the fans request (an example would be to play in Japanese with the original cast). This is great, but sometimes the resolution isn’t what one really wants. In the example of the voice actors; the game is subtitled, but it is extremely difficult to follow the constant dialog when paying attention to all of the bullets and enemies that are on the screen at the same time. Mechanically everything is there, there is just a handful of things that pull the experience from where it should be.
The biggest flaw of the game is the cost, which is a staggering 40 dollars for a digital only version. The title is wonderful for anyone who is a fan of the series and was brought over with the greatest care possible. None of this changes the fact that the game is easily twice the price that it should have been at launch. When so many other SHUMPS come out, of equal (mechanical) quality, for a quarter of the price things get a little complicated to grasp the reasoning behind.
Miss Kobayashi is a wonderful anime/manga, and her dragon maids are all top notch. What isn’t is the price that is being asked for entry. The title has three levels, and three different playable characters. While it does feature a full voiced experience, it is difficult to point to any one reason the game should be anywhere near this price, considering that a generation or two ago, this would have been considered an Xbox Arcade title with a 10 dollar price tag. It is understandable that inflation is real, but not to the point that this game is worth that price. It is a wonderful and great experience, but not worth the asking price until it is deeply discounted.