Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ – Review
Follow Genre: Dungeon crawler
Developer: Mr. Tired Media
Publisher: Sekai Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ – Review

Site Score
Good: Unique strategy mechanics
Bad: Poor pacing makes the first few hours of the game a bit of a chore
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Halloween might be over, but if you’re a fan of ghosts, ghouls and the like, then there’s a never-ending supply of games to enjoy the Halloween spirit year-round. Zombies are a Halloween staple, of course, and they are also the main focus of dungeon crawler Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~, hereafter referred to as simply Undead Darlings. Unlike your typical walking dead, however, the Undead Darlings are cute zombie girls. It certainly is a unique twist on a common trope, but how does Undead Darlings fare as a game?


Reggie wakes up to discover that the zombie apocalypse happened while he was in a coma. As if that wasn’t enough to take in, he finds his childhood friend Pearl has been turned into a zombie. Thankfully, there are gradations in how effective the zombie disease is, and while Pearl is most certainly dead and her body is decaying, her mind is still unaffected, allowing her to bring him up to speed. It appears that Reggie’s father may have been the cause of things going wrong, but thankfully, there is also a cure. After survivor Buck crashes into Reggie’s house, our three main characters go on a road trip to track down Reggie’s father. It’s up to Reggie, Pearl and the friends they meet along the way, to make their way to the cure and save humanity. 

The story is told through lengthy visual novel chapters. These are endearingly written for the most part, with plenty of attention to characterization of the girls that Reggie encounters. One thing that irked us about the writing is that the conversations tend to contain a sizable amount of innuendo and lewdness. As the girls are not only very dead but also look a little too young for these conversations to be comfortable, it makes the game feel creepy in an unintentional way at times. 


We imagine the adorable character designs used to promote the game will be a major factor in appealing to a mass audience. While we enjoyed the detailed anime-esque drawings, we were a bit disappointed when we found out that the character art was limited to still images. This applies not just to the story scenes, but to the battles in the dungeons as well. Enemies are drawn in a slightly different style and while we did enjoy the quirkiness of the character designs, which include crow detectives and sentient eggs, the difference in art styles is jarring. We should also point out that every character -and we do mean EVERY character- looks several years too young. This is especially noticeable with the character of Buck, who is supposedly a middle-aged man, but has the face of a nineteen-year-old that just grew his 

The 3D dungeons then are suitably dark and derelict and while we did enjoy the variety in the environments instead of the same generic blocky style that other games in the genre tend to stick to, we did feel that they weren’t always easy to navigate. There are several styles of dungeons, but a single floor will end up being in the same style overall, so it’s easy to get lost if you’re not referring to the optional on-screen map. 


The visual novel scenes are accompanied by bubbly and poppy music; the kind you’d expect from a teen romance visual novel. Undead Darlings’ story scenes fit that mold, even if it is in a slightly weird and twisted way so this felt appropriate. Dungeons feature ominous and mysterious music as you’re exploring them, with fast-paced battle music during fights. Overall, the game’s soundtrack was okay, but nothing to write home about. Given the anime-esque art style, we were surprised that the game didn’t offer a Japanese voice-over option. There is limited voice acting in the game, and the cast does an admirable job, but the voice work sounds very American, which feels a bit odd juxtaposed against these Japanese inspired character designs. 


Although Undead Darlings puts a heavy focus on the story through its aforementioned visual novel chapters, the core experience of the game lies in its dungeon crawling. Here, you assemble a team of up to three undead girls and attempt to make your way from point A to point B, picking up items and facing off against enemies in turn-based battles. It takes a while before these battles become interesting, and the early dungeons are a bit of a boring affair. This isn’t helped by the fact that the battles mostly feature static images instead of animated characters, and it’s easy to dismiss Undead Darlings based on the first three or four hours of gameplay. Make it past that point, however, and things suddenly click as the game reveals several layers of strategic depth where the special abilities of each girl become a factor.

There are multiple elements in play here too. Enemies have weaknesses and you’ll need to exploit them but contrary to what most games do, you won’t land super effective attacks when you hit an opponent that is weak to your ability. Instead, these attacks will stack into a multiplier, that you can then apply to one of the girls at the start of a new round of combat. This gives the game a unique strategic element, and is a welcome breath of fresh air in what would otherwise be a stale formula. Apart from random encounters, more powerful enemies are marked on the dungeon floor with cupcake icons, with the color of the icon indicating how powerful an enemy is. This means you won’t run into a fight unprepared. Given that inventory management is rather clunky, this is a welcome feature. Speaking of inventory management, not only are you very limited in the number of items that you can carry, but you’ll also be forced to drop something if your inventory is full, and whatever you drop is gone forever rather than staying on the dungeon floor. This means that you’ll constantly need to check on what you equip your girls with, especially since weapons and the like are breakable and anything the girls carry doesn’t take up inventory slots.

The grid-based dungeons are varied affairs, although they can be difficult to navigate and we recommend keeping the full map on screen at all times while exploring, as it’s easy to get lost otherwise. Given that they are quite large, with several interconnected floors, it’s clear that Undead Darlings wasn’t designed for quick pick-up and play sessions. This is further emphasized by the pacing. When you start a new game, it’ll take you about 20 minutes before you can start exploring the first dungeon, because of the lengthy visual novel scene that you’ll need to get through first. 


Undead Darlings is a game that demands some time before it really starts shining. The game suffers from some pacing issues, and you’ll need to invest about four hours into it before it starts to get good. Once you give the game a decent chance though, you’ll find a good dungeon crawler here, accompanied by a well-written story filled with endearing characters, once you get over the lewd jokes of course. 

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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