Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami Review – Drinking the Roguelike Bathwater

In an era where games like Omega Labyrinth and Monster Monpiece took the Western gaming audience by storm, Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: Steam Dungeon was released on PS4 in 2018. However, the game wouldn’t receive an English release until recently, now titled Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami. While this release is almost identical to the original release, it does come with DLC items and some very subtle changes to the steamy scenes. However, the PC port is very lazy with the available options for this modern version.

Unveiling Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami’s New Features

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami opens with the discovery of a mysterious miniature garden that has just sucked Kogarashi into it, prompting the female cast to jump into action and try to save him. The opening hours are mainly about Yuuna finding the other girls and regrouping at the Yuragi Inn to discuss their next steps. The stakes are raised when Yuuna discovers a Droplet Stone who assists the group in finding Kogarashi but also requires their aid in clearing out the dungeons to bring the pieces to the realm.

While this release is almost identical to the original, it does come with DLC items and some very subtle changes to the steamy scenes.

The story is relatively surface-level, with a healthy serving of anime tropes that fans of the source material will see coming. The slice-of-life narrative ends up working well for the adventure, as the actual gameplay can become quite challenging. The voice acting is also well done, but expect a lot of loud pitch screeching during story scenes. Still, you can skip any scene you wish, but oftentimes, they go into detail about the next actions they’re going to take and new items they’ve acquired to reach other sections of the dungeons, so skipping these portions may hinder your experience with the narrative. It’s not the best, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and how they approached the challenge set before them with courage.

Deep Dive into the Gameplay Mechanics of The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami

Something you likely wouldn’t get from just looking up The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami is that it is a fairly fun and challenging roguelike dungeon crawler. All of the basic systems of the genre are here, and similar to any Mystery Dungeon entry, for each action you take, an enemy action follows. However, there are plenty of clever trap designs and floor-shattering abilities that really add to the strategy of the late-game dungeons. This genre is one that evolves the more you play it, and by the 10th hour of this adventure, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how to survive for longer while fine-tuning your equipment. Still, I found the actual themes of the dungeons to be a little bland and nothing exciting. I can see how this isn’t a big deal to most players, but I enjoy theme-specific gimmicks.

Your base equipment loadout is pretty minimalistic, with slots for a weapon, Amulate, Scroll, and uniform. Amulates and Scrolls are basically buffs that characters can equip to have when starting a run. These improve over time and can be synthesized further to find new effects and ways to improve your survivability. Weapons get a little out of hand, with crazy equipable items such as a pan or Christmas tree. When exploring a dungeon, you can bring a partner, who I suggest you equip a long-range weapon so they can follow up attacks easier in a dungeon. As for Uniforms, well, they offer cosmetic changes and various defenses. I liked that they changed the look of each of the characters, and each featured a unique costume break animation, which is essentially just the devs slowly erasing the clothes. There’s an underwear costume, though, so if you really want an eye full at all times, just equip that.

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One interesting feature within the Dungeon Crawling portion is how you can manage items. Normally, you’re forced to throw away or leave behind items, but here, you can buy and find baskets that have extra space to store items and expand your inventory, making it so you aren’t always forced to make tough decisions. Further, if you do die, you have a chance to regain your lost equipment by reaching where you died on your next try. Alternatively, there are extra dungeons that get unlocked through side-missions as well as post-game dungeons and items for those who just can’t get enough. Based on the core game loop of the genre, bosses and enemies do have a tendency to get repetitive as they are reused a few times.

To get further, your saving grace will be the Enhancement Synthesis, which is the only way to create more powerful equipment to survive in the later levels. This is typically the system that breaks most of these game’s challenges, and given that you have access to powerful weapons from the beginning due to the DLC inclusion, it’s a possibility you can cheese your way through the main game and finely feel the challenge in the added dungeons, or just pretend those items aren’t there and try to play the game naturally. I feel like most gamers will use the cheese method because I know you’re only here for one thing: the bathhouse mini-game.

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The Resonance Hot Spring is a key feature to unlock base upgrades to characters and unlock new abilities. The game itself is a bit more involved than other touching mini-games, but you’re pretty much trying to shoo away spirits and cleanse the girls. As far as censorship goes, I’ve compared the Steam version against the others, and I will say I only slightly see less fog in this new release when compared to the PS4 version, but I’m not completely sure. Outside of that, the experience is pretty much the same, which is kind of a downside, considering it’s been over 5 years since the original release, so new assets could have been added to give the game a chance. The other fun feature is that you can use the bathwater from the girls to further improve your equipment. Listen, don’t knock it till you try.

Addressing the Shortcomings of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs’ PC Port

The biggest downside to the PC release is the limited options available to players. There’s really nothing here, and the game will launch in the smallest browser possible. However, the option to change it is only found while you’re playing and not on the main menu. Further, controller support is not supported. However, I did use a controller, but the key prompts only show keyboard options. There’s also a Gallery option where players can replay the Hotsprings mini-game and re-watch cutscenes or view CGs; it’s a nice feature when considering the player base.

The biggest downside to the PC release is the limited options available to players.

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami is a decent dungeon crawler that offers some unique systems but ends up falling into repetition due to a lack of system evolution. The experience is mainly surface-level for the genre, with only a few key story missions that stood out to me, but the post-game content is dense and requires a high understanding of the game to enjoy. Further, the hotspring minigame is fun, but like the other features of this game, you’ll likely be skipping them after completing each Stage. It’s a cute dungeon crawler that was released too close to Shiren the Wanderer: The Mystery Dungeon of Serpentcoil Island to stand a fighting chance.

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A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami (PC)

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami delivers a competent yet familiar dungeon-crawling experience, blending light-hearted anime storytelling with engaging roguelike gameplay. While the narrative is enjoyable and predictably steeped in anime tropes, the game's real strength lies in its challenging gameplay and strategic depth, particularly in its item management system and the unique Resonance Hot Spring feature. However, the game's themes and visuals lack innovation, and the PC port disappoints with its limited options and subpar controller support. Despite its solid mechanics and charming narrative, the game struggles to distinguish itself in a genre filled with more compelling titles.

The Good

  • Engaging Gameplay: The game offers a solid roguelike dungeon-crawling experience, providing a good balance of challenge and strategy.
  • Unique Item Management: The nuanced system of managing equipment and items adds depth to the gameplay, allowing for strategic planning and decision-making.
  • Post-Game Content: The game offers dense post-game content that requires a deep understanding of the gameplay mechanics, providing longevity to the experience.

The Bad

  • Limited Visual Innovation: The game's themes and dungeon designs lack uniqueness and visual flair, making the experience feel somewhat bland.
  • Subpar PC Port: The PC version disappoints with its lack of options, poor controller support, and an overall sense that it was not fully optimized for the platform.
  • Repetitive Elements: Bosses and enemies tend to get repetitive as they are reused throughout the game, diminishing the excitement of new encounters.
  • Surface-Level Experience: The narrative and gameplay, while competent, don't offer much depth or evolution, making the game feel somewhat predictable and unremarkable.
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