Game news You’ve never heard of this Nintendo Switch exclusive, yet it has outsold Zelda and Mario in Japan
In Japan, the Nintendo Switch exclusive has sold more than 4 million copies, more than Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild there. However, this address is completely unknown to us. How to explain such a cardboard box? We tell you the story of this typical Japanese game.
It was launched on November 19, 2020 in Japan, Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Rewa mo Teban! It was an instant success in the archipelagoto. It sold 750,000 units in December, 2 million in January 2021, and 3 million in June 2021… until it exceeds 4 million copies in July 2023. For its publisher, Konami, this represents the largest sale of the game in Japanese territory, all platforms combined. . Yes, more than just episodes from popular licenses like Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, PES or even Yu-Gi-Oh!.
but How can we explain such a card when it is not just a board game, but in a video game? In fact, Momotaro Dentetsu represents the kind of title that has been a huge hit in Japan, but has little chance of having the same reception around the world.
A license to worship in Japan, unknown in the West
Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Reiwa mo Teiban!, which can be translated into English as “Momotarō Electric Railway: A Classic from the Showa, Heisei, and even Reiwa Era!”, is thus The last episode in a long line of board video games, the twenty-third to be precise. Initially, the first work, Momotaro Densetsu, was released in 1988 on the Japanese Famicom, NES, and is a spin-off of the series of the same name, also developed by Hudson Soft and from which we know Bombermans. The funny thing about it all is that The formula has not evolved much since its inception.
In general, the principle remains the same: Each player advances by train, boat or plane after rolling a dice with the goal of amassing the most wealth before the end of the game to win.. The painting is divided into squares representing the Japanese railway network. To get rich, you have to come across certain funds that give money, acquire companies or real estate, make transactions and deal with other entrepreneurs. To make life easier or to hinder the lives of your opponents, cards can be used, while spirits can also appear. If we want to sum things up simply, This is reminiscent of Monopoly for us Westerners, but with several specific features that make the whole game more fun..
Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Gear, Game Boy, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PSP, Nintendo 3DS… Most major consoles in recent decades have earned the right to have their version of Momotaro Densetsu. Despite all this, the license never left Japan and is almost no longer active today. In 2012, Konami acquired Hudson Soft and thus acquired the rights to the franchise. But in 2015, its creator Akira Sakuma announced that the series had officially ended and left Konami. Although, With Nintendo’s help, Konami decided to develop new games. If a new episode is released in 2016 on 3DS and has some success, the saga will be paused again immediately… until 2020.
Balanced gameplay with relentless accessibility
Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Rewa mo Teban! Therefore, it was released in 2020 exclusively on Nintendo Switch with the success it is experiencing. To put things right, It is worth noting that the title was sold more in the archipelago than the most popular games on the console such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey.. But how can we explain the presence of such incomprehensible cardboard in a simple board game?
Firstly, The big strength of Momotaro Dentetsu is that it’s aimed at anyone because it’s more of a board game than a video game. You don’t have to know how to use a controller to benefit from it, everyone is on the same level, which is reminiscent of the success of the Wii. This is even more true because the experience is particularly balanced since then The game always ensures that no one is too far ahead or too late to prevent the game from becoming uninteresting. Then, the sessions are also fun because you can choose the duration, preventing endless games where people decide to stop on their own. Only through these two points, Momotaro Densetsu manages to correct two major flaws in Monopoly To be much more beautiful.
Aside from her purely fun side, which is very successful, Momotaro Dentetsu also flaunts his typical Japanese paint, which explains his popularity in the archipelago. First of all, Japan as a whole is celebrated there because the painting is full of regional details through the stations represented by boxes, showing a real passion for these places. Immediately afterwards, The title features characters in kawaii (cute) and chibi style (childlike style, younger version) which exudes a sense of humour, making it accessible to the whole family.
This enthusiastic side is felt even in the cheerful and warm text bubbles, giving a good overall atmosphere to the title. It must be said that at the time of its release, this was exactly what people needed. And yes, Momotaro Dentetsu: Showa, Heisei, Rewa mo Teban! It was released at the end of 2020, during the lockdown period, which helped the game’s salesJust like Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Since the title also offers online play, all the conditions were in place to make this board game an ideal family experience, even from a distance.
In the face of this success, Momotaro Densetsu on Nintendo Switch provided ideas for other Japanese publishers. That’s why Bandai Namco recently announced Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Mezase! Saikyou Taishi!, a board game set in the Demon Slayer universe. If you too were surprised by this announcement, then you now know the reason behind the existence of this title.
althoug, Konami won’t let that happen either since Momotaro Dentetsu World: Chikyû wa Kibô de Mawatteru was released last November 16! It remains exclusive to Nintendo Switch. At the time of writing, this sequel is on its way to new success as it has already sold over 300,000 copies after one week of release, even more than Super Mario RPG in the archipelago. It remains to be seen whether it will fare better than The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Bros. Wonder in Japan!
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