Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun – Aiko’s Choice

Die Story in der Story

Short flashback: In December 2016, Mimimi Games brought the real-time strategy-tactics mix Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun onto the market and at that time delighted not only numerous fans, but also us – the title won a gold award . You can find the test of the PC version here. Now the bustling German development studio (they have also released Desperados 3 in the meantime) has finally found the time to provide the lookup that the community has been asking for for a long time – albeit in a slightly smaller dose. Aiko’s Choice is an independently executable extension, so you don’t need the main game. Having played the latter is not absolutely necessary in order to find your way around – but we strongly advise you to do so.

This is mainly due to the history of the add-on. This is namely not designed as a continuation, but is more or less a kind of “insert” and thus to be seen as a supplement to the previously known events. If you’ve ever stayed in the world of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, you’ll understand the context, know the characters and generally find your way around better. The “supplementary story” revolves around the adept Aiko, who is confronted with her past when Lady Chiyo appears. In the course of the expansion, which includes three missions, you actually learn some new details about Aiko and her four companions. We don’t want to reveal too much at this point. But if you already loved the story of the main game, you won’t be disappointed with Aiko’s Choice. The Mimimi Games team once again understood very well how to give the characters a credible profile and to create an exciting atmosphere.

New wine in old bottles?

Mechanically and technically, everything in the independently playable expansion remains as you know from the main game, which was awarded gold.

Yes, you read that right before: Aiko’s Choice actually “only” consists of the larger main mission. In addition, there are a few smaller “interim missions”, all of which take about 15 minutes for breakfast and are not particularly profound – they are still fun. But the number of new missions, which initially seemed rather measly, is put into perspective again very quickly. Mimimi Games has once again managed to score points with its clever level design. So you have to visit several islands one after the other in one of the missions. There she has to find and destroy certain objects. As if that weren’t difficult enough due to the clever AI guards, you have to be extremely careful not to attract any attention – even if it’s only through small footprints on the ground. The other missions, which among other things take you to a temple or require the freeing of a captured comrade, are just as successful as they are challenging. This is mainly due to the tried and tested gameplay mechanics, which continue to do their job here. Each of the five characters has special skills that you have to use as skillfully as possible in order to be successful. If you fall through the door without a concrete plan in hand, you bless the temporal faster than you can say “Aiko”. Forward-looking action and tactical planning are still the focus.

To better understand the story and characters, you should "predecessor" have played.

In order to understand the story and characters better, you should have played the “predecessor”.

The level of difficulty is also pretty crisp with this expansion, so you should bring a certain resistance to frustration. But the game is always fair and does not require any absurd gimmicks or completely wacky (team) actions from you. It’s just a shame that the developers decided not to give the characters new skills, which would have given the game a breath of fresh air. The same also applies to the presentation of Shadow Tactics: Aiko’s Choice – albeit to a somewhat lesser extent. Mimimi Games does not enter into any experiments here either and relies on tried and tested food – and that is by no means meant to be derogatory. The scenes are again very lovingly staged, the animations look as fluid as they are authentic with a few exceptions. The background music is also successful again and contributes a lot to the general atmosphere of the game. Like the main game, the add-on gives you the choice between English and Japanese voice output – unfortunately there is no German dubbing. However, the speakers do a good job and give the characters their own personality in a believable way.