Yuuna key art

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

Every game with a hot spring is a better game.

7 mins read

They don’t really make that many games like Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami any more. Anime fan service games complete with bath scenes, destructible clothing and school uniform costumes are few and far between (in part because of the spectre of consoles and/or Steam blocking their sale, I guess). But! Thanks to FuRyu, we have this one now, and it’s effectively a new game for us in the West.

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami is based on an anime and manga property, and it was originally released on the PlayStation 4, in Japan only, a half-decade ago. Now that exact game has been dusted off for a global PC release and… It’s fine. It’s not going to blow your mind… or any other part of you, despite its best efforts, but it’s fine.

It’s a very traditional roguelike in the vein of Shiren the Wanderer or Chocobo Dungeon. Every level is a random assortment of corridors and rooms, and enemies pop up at random throughout those levels. There will also be traps strewn about the place, and in one of the rooms, there will be a staircase to take you to the next level.

Screenshot from Yuuna

Yuuna gets all the basics right here. The game is challenging, as you’d expect a roguelike to be. The good treasures are dropped just frequently enough that you’ll want to hang on to the good loot (with permadeath always being a concern), but not infrequently enough that you’ll want to horde and never risk the best stuff.

Your overall mileage will depend on how much you still enjoy a classical roguelike. They are, by their very nature, endless grinds, and the lack of variety in the dungeons can make them a slog. FuRyu, the developer behind Yuuna, decided that it would differentiate the crawling action through humour, and you will indeed have a chuckle or two when you find some of the more outlandish pieces of equipment or costumes to wear. Nothing that quite tops the Neptunia series, which made Keiji Inafune into a weapon, and unfortunately most of the enemy designs are forgettable, but nonetheless, Yuuna has its moments while being a perfectly competent example of the genre.

Where FuRyu was really hoping to hook players in was with the other side of the game. The fan service of Yuuna is extensive. As mentioned, costumes do break down (and for people that just want to cut to the chase there is an underwear option), and there are indeed bath scenes. These are an Asteroids-like minigame where you need to protect the bathing girl from attacking wisps, but really it’s just an excuse to put a naked girl in a bath, with some wisps of smoke being the only thing stopping the game from getting the full adults-only rating.

Yuuna screenshot

Of course, the minigame is absolutely terrible, but that’s hardly the point now, is it? A bigger problem that undermines the game’s raison d’être is that these minigames can distract you from the wet, naked girl… and force you to play with two hands. And so you need to play this over and over again (you get bath water from your efforts and, unlike water from Belle Delphine’s bath – remember that nonsense? – it’s actually worthwhile here) to max out your strength for the dungeon delves.

The other problem with all this fanservice is that you need to be a fan of something for fanservice to work. Yuuna’s narrative and concept rely on you having already seen the anime or read the manga, and while the narrative is self-contained, that assumed knowledge means that the writers were rather relaxed about the in-game story. There’s a lot of it, with conversations that can go on for ages, but it’s not providing the evocative narrative of something like Utawarerumono. Character portraits are almost painfully basic, too. I assume they came from the anime and manga, but there’s nothing that stands out to make this game distinctive. It’s trope after trope after trope.

Finally, while I’m bellyaching, the PC port is terrible and assumes that you’re playing using a mouse and keyboard. This is roguelike. A genre that feels much more comfortable with a controller. And it was originally a console game. You can play with a controller (or on your Steam Deck or ROG Ally), but button inputs are all over the place and it’s simply not an enjoyable experience. Additionally, if you are playing on one of those handheld PCs, be aware that you’re not able to change the screen resolution until you’re well past the introduction and can pull up a specific in-game menu, so you’ll have to spend a fair chunk of time looking at the default (tiny) window and being barely able to read the opening narrative sequence, before being finally able to put the game in full-screen mode.

Yuuna screenshot

I had fun with Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs The Thrilling Steamy Maze Kiwami, but then I am a hardcore fan of classical roguelikes. I still play Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon every once in a while, and I am looking forward to the next Shiren the Wanderer a great deal. Given that the fan service is neither fun nor sexy enough and the game doesn’t do anything else to stand out within its niche, it’s not my favourite roguelike. But I don’t regret having played it by any means.

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

  • Ah, the classic “Japanese dev doesn’t know that controllers work on PC” trope. It’s 2024, by now you’d think even the small companies would know better. A shame that it doesn’t seem the west got the mobile versions. More console/PC games to help counter some of the F2P guff would’ve been nice.

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