Koihime Musou Review – Erotic Romance of the Three Kingdoms

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Koihime Musou has been a real treat for me. I watched the anime for it way back when and thought it was pretty neat, so when I found that it had come from a visual novel, I had wanted to try it.

Of course, at the time, I was young and naive, not knowing that I could buy a digital version instead of a physical one in stores. Time passed, and my interest waned. Now, though, the game sort of fell in my lap, so I was excited to try it. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Let’s begin by talking about the gameplay. Yes, the gameplay. Koihime is one of the few visual novels that actually includes gameplay. However, I am hard pressed to say that it’s great. Ultimately, the gameplay is incredibly easy as long as you understand it.

You take the role of a commander and command your units. Each day (turn) during a battle, you pick a formation and an attack type. You can charge with your light infantry, intercept the enemy with your heavy infantry, or fire with your archers. The game sort of takes on a larger version of rock, paper, scissors.

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Each formation has a bonus to one attack type and a defense bonus to one attack type, so it’s simply a matter of picking the right formation. Battles in the beginning take virtually no strategy at all, and is just a matter of clicking through it, while some of the later battles become a harder game of attacking and defending while trying to find patterns in your opponent.

In addition to all of this, you’re made to pick a general and a strategist from the girls available to you at that point in the story. The general has a special move (Ougi) that they can activate every so often, and the strategist will dictate which formations you can utilize well.

Once you learn how the system works, it’s actually rather easy to get through. Unfortunately, that can likely be attributed to the fact that people playing an H-game like this don’t want too much challenge.

Now, as for the story, I was impressed. It follows the basics of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms of China. Many of us know the basics of this story from the Dynasty Warriors series, so many probably know the story well enough to recognize characters in Koihime as they are introduced.

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Unfortunately for people like us, the characters go by their Japanese names, so for example, Guan Yu becomes Kan’u, and Zhang Fei becomes Chouhi. Of course, this works out great for the story because it separates the characters from their Chinese counterparts a bit more and throws off the oppressive feeling of following an already written famous story.

In fact, Koihime only really uses the Romance of the Three Kingdoms as a springboard of sorts. The game begins, for example, during the Yellow Turban rebellion, but from there the story derails some in favor of using an original story focusing more on the characters they have rather than the characters they are all based upon.

This is especially noticeable in the lack of deaths among the main cast (those of you who know the RoTK know it’s filled with death). Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t many problems that come up. For example, the main character Kazuto doesn’t know how he ended up in this alternate version of the past, and is therefore unsure of how, when, or why he may be sent back. This plays on his mind a number of times, as well as whether or not he feels worthy of his position and such. The story certainly does add a number of complications to balance out the removal of others.

One thing to be aware of, though – this game is an eroge at heart. There’s no doubt about it. The H-scenes are aplenty once you reach a certain point, and it’s clear (as per the norm) that the focus was there. Again, that’s not to say the story lacked, but it’s clear where the focus was. In fact, there’s even very little effort put into conquering any of the girls, even the main three.

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And that brings me to the only true complaint I have. Despite the abundance of characters you gain access to, only three are actually available for endings/dating. This, coupled with the girls they allow, was my biggest gripe with this game. I would’ve liked to see Cho’un and Bachou as heroines at least (especially since Bachou is my favorite here).

Instead, you’re given the choice of three routes – Kan’u, Chouhi, and Shokatsuryou. I went with Kan’u for my playthrough before writing this, and plan to do Shokatsuryou’s next. However, there are a number of route I would have liked to see implemented, especially with the large roster that becomes available over the course of the game. However, based upon a little research, it seems that route for many of the other girls were added in the ps2 release, so at least they did add them at some point.

To wrap this up, I just want to touch on the art and music. First off, I loved the art in the game. The CGs are fantastically done, and the character portraits and art great. The designs are fitting of the characters and the setting, and they are stylized to a degree even – it would be easy to pick out a Koihime character from a lineup because of it’s style. There were a number of times that the art just perfectly complimented what was happening in the story, and it was a great thing to see.

As for the music, it was catchy and hard not to enjoy. During many of the scenes, I found myself humming or whistling along. Although (thankfully) it never got to the point where it was stuck in my head during the day. The music is great for background music that way – it’s not infectious, but not bland either.

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Overall, I would say that Koihime Musou is a great Visual Novel just for what it does in it’s gameplay. It makes you actually participate some, which is great. Overall, I would have to say that, really, Koihime is worth your time if you like Visual Novels. And if you don’t, there’s plenty else here…like H-scenes.

Koihime Musou was reviewed on PC using a code provided by Manga Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.

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I'm a pretty chill guy. Huge video game fan, but a bigger anime fan. I also love to write - obviously.

  1. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hey guys, this is a Niche Gamer Nation service announcement:

    We’re giving away three copies of Koihime Musou to our dear readers. All you have to do is comment on our review here with your thoughts, and we’ll pick a winner a week from today – on August 12th :)

    Good luck everyone! Tell your friends – if this goes well enough we’ll probably get more giveaways from our friends at Manga Gamer!

  2. Emp Highwind
    Emp Highwind
    August 5, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    this game looks gorgeous

  3. Andrew Arndt
    Andrew Arndt
    August 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    look like my kinda game XD the review nice written as alway.

  4. JJ
    August 5, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    I really like the art and I’d love to play a long game like that.

  5. アカメ Alex
    アカメ Alex
    August 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I’d probably mess up the battles a lot. Thank goodness for save slots!

  6. V-Masta
    August 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    This seems interesting.

  7. ZeldaFinalFantasyFan
    August 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    A little disappointing to hear that you can only build a relationship between 3 characters. Ever since Fire Emblem Awakening, I’m a sucker for games that lets you build a relationship with a large roster of characters. Regardless, it sounds pretty good!

  8. Chris Gregoria
    Chris Gregoria
    August 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    You can build relationships with all the girls for the most part. The issue is that there’s only endings for three. The others end up as nothing but nice side-stories.

  9. Chris Gregoria
    Chris Gregoria
    August 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    They’re crazy easy, actually.

  10. salazar547
    August 6, 2014 at 1:42 am

    nice review , i know of koihime musou only because of the fighting game that i played a couple of months ago , that game was good and the visual novel looks good too :)

  11. artemisthemp
    August 6, 2014 at 1:44 am

    I love the Anime for this Series :)

  12. Scizor_g45
    August 6, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Cool review! I know I enjoyed the anime back in the day as well, maybe I’ ll pick this title up as well.

  13. Cody Long
    Cody Long
    August 6, 2014 at 2:32 am

    This is an awfully titillating review! Screenshots remind me a bit of Sengoku Rance, although there were a lot more lady paths to take in that game…

  14. Zwielicht Funkel
    Zwielicht Funkel
    August 6, 2014 at 3:23 am

    I didn’t know that there is actual gameplay there. Although for me, it’s good that it’s easy, since I’m really bad at strategy games.

  15. Mr.Porter
    August 6, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I will have to get this. Looks right up my alley. I love romance of the 3 kingdoms and dynasty warriors. Looks to me like a good way to check out some of these visual novels.

  16. Desevie Deseverlino
    Desevie Deseverlino
    August 6, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Looks awesome, I would love to give it a try

  17. Phelan
    August 6, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Hmm… I rather don’t like eroge games (-.-)

    Though there was some good title with sengoku in name… and I even kinda liked the game for simple but challenging battle system… there was too much rapes and NTR for my liking :/

    You see… I don’t mind 18+ content in games… but I’d rather see more games where sex isn’t just goal of the game… but it is rather part of a story (something like Witcher 2), you know where sex scenes actualy make sense… and not “you won battle time for grand screwing with every character there is”.

    But still..
    +based on history (even if it is just borrowing names or some events)
    +simple-ish battles and yet challenging based on janken
    +nice art style

    -probably too much eroge for my taste

  18. DSanchez
    August 6, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for these recent reviews/previews of visual novels. I’ve always been a fan of them and even collect them. It’s kind of rare to find reviews for such a niche genre.
    I hadn’t even heard of this one and is sounds like a nice concept. Are there any other mangagamer titles that have integrated gameplay in them that you know of?

  19. Karel Pratama
    Karel Pratama
    August 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    well, i haven’t play this, but i have play the alternate version shin koihime musou with more character, and i could say i enjoy it

    especially karin route <3

    well, for the battle, since there's save function, there's no need for much strategy anyway :3

    and for heroine, everyone was beautiful and interesting, but karin is the best :v

    it's a shame that there isn't her route in this version, but since there isn't heroine route on shin koihime (route divided by fraction), i guess there's something to enjoy here. shuri or rinrin route maybe?

    ah, and i hope there isn't big muscular half naked 'lady' here (diao-chan was scary)

  20. アカメ Alex
    アカメ Alex
    August 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    If they’re really crazy easy as you say, then I guess I don’t need to worry but a good entertaining challenge from it would’ve been welcome.

  21. Hydroninja9
    August 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    This games artwork does look pretty nice. I like to see visual novels with some kindof gameplay in them. H- scenes are good if they are done right and sparingly and not every other minute. Definitely want to see more visual novel reviews in the future , keep it up :D

  22. nonscpo
    August 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I think I watched the first episode of this anime but I stopped watching after that, glad to know its worth checking out. Thanks for letting us know that theirs only 3 heroines routes available, seriously it never makes sense to me to have few choices in a harem game.

  23. Mark Jackson
    Mark Jackson
    August 7, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Bit surprised only a few choices. Wonder how many titles it’s been now I recall watching a semi echi anime of this quite a long time ago.

  24. artemi
    August 7, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I gotta say, this looks fairly interesting! I think using Japanese names instead of the Chinese one is an EXCELLENT choice; It lets it be it’s own game, with characters who are more like ‘oh, hey, she must be Lu Bu, ok!’ rather then ‘Oh, here’s Hou Lou Gate. I WONDER WHAT HAPPENS? *eyeroll*

  25. bf313
    August 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Looks fun. Don’t know i’m bothered by there only being 3 routes as long as a lot of effort is put into those 3.

  26. Garrett Hawke
    Garrett Hawke
    August 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Great Review. I always wanted to get into Visual Novels. First one I played was Katawa Shoujo and then Planetarium. Maybe I’ll give Koihime Musou a try

  27. Chris Gregoria
    Chris Gregoria
    August 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    The effort is certainly there. The problem, in my mind, was that there were 12 other girls to interact with, aside from the main three, that all had rather fleshed out characters and storylines. They just didn’t have endings of their own. That, of course, was fixed in a later – non PC – version of the game.

  28. Zet
    August 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Everyone’s talking about this whole “only three main routes” thing, it is partially based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms so why not?

    It sorta is a trend in these kind of games too. By having only three main heroines it allows the player to seek out the main one they like the most while giving a chance to develop the others. Having side characters to give interest and full fledge stories plus endings for each of them can take a lot of work.

    Its nice to hear that they update things in later editions. Often times this type of game doesn’t usually get an update so you are left with the 3 routes and some side romance. Games like Kamidori and Daibanchou come to mind.

    Hearing about this getting its own anime and update also reminds me of Tears to Tiara, which got the similar kind of treatment and a sequel coming soon.

  29. Firion Hope
    Firion Hope
    August 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I’d be interested in checking this out, since my PC could probably run it. Always up for more VNs. How long was the route you played?

  30. Chris Gregoria
    Chris Gregoria
    August 8, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Oh Jeez, I don’t even recall. It wasn’t short, I can tell you that. But the game can be incredibly short, depending on you. The majority of the choices are simply who you visit during down time, and you can visit a couple people during each home base phase. However, you could also just visit your target and move on, which would shorten the game a lot if you needed to. Otherwise, you’re probably looking at…10-15 hours or so? Depends how fast you read and the like too.

  31. InvalidToken
    August 8, 2014 at 11:07 am

    More PC visual novels? Awesome, looks a bit fire emblemy so definitely going to be an interesting one

  32. Captmotorcycle
    August 8, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Works for me.

  33. ZeroxGT
    August 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Its funny how I passed this up considering the console its on, as a fan of SRPGs and the like, I too would have hoped for more in a challenge on the battle sections of the game, The Artwork isnt bad at all from what i went to see.. If anything I could see myself putting in a decent amount of time on this one.. I guess that means ill have to go and find this gem myself :D

  34. Flandy
    August 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm


  35. Sera
    August 8, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    The only Baseson game I ever tried was Harukoi Otome, and I wasn’t impressed. This one looks a little bit better though, so I’d love to give it a shot.

  36. Jacob Rogers
    Jacob Rogers
    August 9, 2014 at 3:13 am

    I watched the anime of this would be cool to have the VN too

  37. Tags
    August 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Certainly looks interesting guess i know what my next VN purchase is gonna be :D

  38. Akira
    August 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I dont play eroge but this one really interested me.

  39. Dracil
    August 11, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I’ve mostly stopped playing VNs, but RTK holds a special place in my heart and I still play the Koei games, both the strategy games and the musou games.

  40. ragerav
    August 12, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Great review for a great looking game

  41. Steve Baltimore
    Steve Baltimore
    August 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I’d love to see Mangagamer bring over the other two games in this series. :D

  42. Kamille Bidan
    Kamille Bidan
    June 30, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I’m so glad we live in a world where we are no longer dependent on fan translations that end up getting stuck in purgatory for eternity. I really hope MangaGamer gets around to translating and decensoring older Eroge and VNs like Muv Luv and the Rance games. That would just make my day.