A zombie apocalypse has happened and for some reason not everyone is becoming a zombie. Your childhood friend, her cousin and just enough others to fill out your party and support have ended up in a middle ground half-zombie state. Fortunately, this sets the stage for you to fight your way to figuring out what caused this to happen.
Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ is a fairly no-frills first-person party-based dungeon crawler with visual novel elements where you are tasked with ensuring a cure to a zombie outbreak can be created. You wake up from an induced coma to find the world has succumbed to a zombie outbreak, your childhood friend Pearl getting you up to speed with the situation and explaining that she’s now half-zombie. Your father left something important at the police station so that’s where you both set off to.
The setup is very cliché and the writing on the whole aims for light comedy and fourth wall breaking with characters interrupting the narrator for example. The girls you encounter along the way also tick the typical Harem anime trope boxes of caring but naive childhood friend, feisty but smart tomboy, bookish and posh introvert amongst others.
This isn’t really a bad thing however as the writing and voice acting is really charming and ends up being a lot of fun. As you explore the dungeon portions of the games (which here consist of regular spaces like a Mall for example) there are events that can take place if you have the appropriate characters in your party which flesh them out some more as well.
The dungeon crawling and battling portions of the game are fairly by the numbers although there has been a lot of love given to the visuals in each area; with the various map elements being a lot more intricate then just textured cubes, there are a lot of clutter items and things like windows that help disguise the grid based nature of the world. You’ll get into random encounters as you’d perhaps expect but there are also fixed battles of varying difficulties dotted throughout each area.
Sadly there isn’t much else to the dungeons, you’ll need to find coloured switches to open appropriate doors but that’s about the complexity of the puzzle design here. But the pace of movement and friendliness of the controls here makes getting around enjoyable enough.
Battles are a turn-based affair as you’d probably expect, with a turn queue visible so you can see when your turn is and how the move you’ve chosen will affect it. Enemies have type weaknesses so you’ll experiment to find which moves do what. Exploiting a weakness causes a meter to increase which you can use as a multiplier before any move to increase its potency.
Weapons have durability to deal with too, so you’ll be shuffling weapons and constantly replacing them as you go. Other than the exploitation meter and the weapon durability though the battle system works exactly how you’d expect.
Presentation-wise the game is a mixed bag with the dungeons themselves and the art during the visual novel portions being well done whilst the combat animations and designs fall a bit flat. It doesn’t help that the enemies are for the most part random items with eyes or creatures that have no context within the game’s story. Pots and Pans, Chef Rats, Angry Cupcakes, Jamaiccan ED-209 clones, It’s all a bit too random.
That’s not to say I didn’t get a chuckle out of some of the encounters but it does undercut the tone of the story, as silly as that is, and it could’ve been so much more enjoyable had the enemies been more connected to the story and world. The game's audio is great however with some really great music and some great line delivery by the voice actors.
Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ is a competent dungeon crawler that I had a lot of fun with but it doesn’t do anything to elevate it above any number of other titles. If you’re just after another game of this type however there is definitely some charm here, it’s just a shame it’s not a bit more cohesive.
Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A fun dungeon romp with some fun characters that hold it all together. Average exploration and combat that doesn’t try anything unique but all in all a good time can be had here.