With the tactic game Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Munich-based development studio Mimimi Productions would not only like to follow in the footsteps of real-time gems such as Commandos or Desperados, but also expand the game idea with its own innovative details. With Daedalic Entertainment an experienced publisher is available who puts game quality in the foreground. We have Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun put under the microscope in our game test and show you whether a new era of stealth games has dawned or whether the classics will continue to be the non-plus-ultra.   

Tactical ninja sneak with ambition

Games with Far Eastern settings are often unconventional; also Shadow Tatics: Blades of the Shogun is no exception. Luring the opponent by setting up a bottle of rice wine is one of the tactical finesse, as is the skillful distraction of an adversary with the help of a raccoon. The developers Mimimi Productions play lovingly with the common clichés from Far Eastern cultures and attach great importance to details: the sake bottle not only attracts an opponent, but invites them to take the delicious brew with them. But woe to the samurai Mugen someone steals his rice wine ...

The Hamburg publisher Daedalic Entertainment adds fans of real-time tactical games Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun to ancient Japan in 1615. On a total of 13 large playing areas, opponents are to be scouted, targets eliminated or gates blown up. The skills of a ninja are of course worth gold for silent sneaking actions, so it's no wonder that Hayato is a real shinobi for the tactical task force of Shadow Tactics for a trip to the Winterlude. 

Play test: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Because the power of this one-man army is hardly sufficient to cope with all the tasks of the tactical stealth game, Mimimi Productions gives the players control of a team of up to five completely different characters. Each figure draws on unique abilities that have to be cleverly combined in order to secure progress on the extensive playgrounds of ancient Japan. Hayato, for example, sneaks and assassins through the levels in the style of a traditional ninja, is not afraid of water surfaces and takes out opponents from a medium distance with the help of a throwing star. The Samurai Mugen, on the other hand, is something like Tim Wiese among professional athletes. Irrespective of casualties, the armored warrior slams several enemies at the same time. As protective as his armor is in combat, it is disadvantageous when crossing deep waters. The geisha Aiko, on the other hand, is the master of camouflage and is always in demand when opposing guards need to be skillfully distracted. The street child Yuki shies away from direct confrontations and lures adversaries into previously placed - and of course deadly - traps with the chirping of birds. Takuma also prefers to take out opponents from a safe distance: with his sniper rifle. The elderly man cannot climb, but he goes around guards with targeted diversionary maneuvers, for which he uses his trained Japanese tanuki, a raccoon dog.  

The campaign, which is set in the Edo era, comprises around 20 to 30 hours of gaming time. Although the Edo Period has historically been the longest period of peace in Japanese history, the Tactics game is a game of tactics Shadow Tactics anything but pacifist - every peace in human history has apparently to be fought hard. Commissioned by a Shogun himself, players help restore peace to ancient Japan. More than once, the future of the Japanese Empire depends on the skillful use of the sometimes unconventional character skills.

Attractive game world with a great atmosphere

The game world perfectly captures the mood of the Edo period. Players and their teams visit fortified castles, picturesque fishing villages and, of course, rice fields, which are atmospherically criss-crossed by wafts of mist. In snow-capped mountain villages you can see the attention to detail Mimimi Productions has shown in the development of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun have demonstrated. Footprints in the snow are not just graphic gimmicks that contribute to the harmonious atmosphere, but can also be used for tactical maneuvers. Opponents can be lured on the right track by footprints, for example - right, because at the end of the trail the samurai Mugen with the sharp katana is waiting for all-too-curious guards. Buildings can also be meaningfully integrated into route planning. Residential units reveal direct paths between two points, watchtowers improve the chance of a fatal hit, especially for the sniper Takume.    

Shadow Tactics announcement teaser

Graphically presents itself Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun extremely atmospheric, even if the comic-like look might not appeal to everyone right away. The individual levels are self-contained and always describe a predefined order of missions. Within the areas, however, there are countless strategic options open to the player in order to fulfill the required tasks. Sneaking across the roofs in the role of Hayato and killing opponents with a fatal jump attack is just as much a part of the tactical repertoire as a pacifist approach that is based exclusively on efficient distraction. Shadow Tactics: Blades of Shogun is a great real-time sandpit for players aged 16 and over. In order to discover the full strategic diversity in the first place, interactive objects are outlined in color. Opposing fields of vision can be displayed at the touch of a button in order to simplify successful stealth inserts. Despite good armament, an indirect approach leads to Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun* By the way, more likely to be successful. Guards can also be defeated in classic battles, but they strike back hard - those who act covertly save themselves more often from loading the last quick save status. The large play areas often invite you to experiment: Should you rather steal a panel in order to enter a warehouse undetected? Or do you prefer to explore the area in search of a hidden entrance? Mimimi Productions did an excellent job with the level design, so that missions entertain at a high level even in a second or third round. A help that should not be underestimated is the quick charge function, which players can use at any time when things get tough. The so-called badges, which are visible after completing a mission on at least the normal level of difficulty, are also motivating. The additional awards require players to meet certain framework conditions, such as avoiding bodies of water or not killing any of the guards. Depending on the badge required, missions can turn into real head nuts even with normal difficulty.

Play test: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Where guards forgive minor mistakes on the normal level of difficulty, they are many times more attentive in hardcore mode and sound the alarm the first time they come into contact with the enemy. Real tactical experts are thus motivated to plan carefully and with foresight. A real highlight is the so-called shadow mode, which enables the creation of action plans, which the player then processes at the push of a button. In this way, the different skills of the characters can be combined into efficient war strategies. Each figure can save one action, so that good planning is the top priority even when using the shadow mode.

For even more flair: Japanese voice output

Even more style unfolds Shadow Tactics: Blades of Shogun, if you set the voice output to Japanese in the options. From now on, all figures give their feedback in an appropriate way, which visibly promotes the atmosphere. Otherwise the voice output remains in English in this country; After all, German subtitles can be switched on, so that even those who don't speak foreign languages ​​can experience the beautiful background story. The synchronization, on the other hand, is successful and atmospheric in both versions. The quality of the texts is solid.

For pc is Shadow Tactics available since December 6, 2016. Console versions appear in 2017, so that Schleich fans can also wear samurai armor on Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Image gallery for Shadow Tactics


Number of players: 1 players
Age: 16 
Playing time: 20 to 30 hours
Difficulty: medium to difficult
Long-term motivation: with

Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Mimimi Productions
Year of publication: 2016 
Platforms: PC, MAC, Xbox One, PS4
Language: English, Japanese, German subtitles
Cost: 40 euros


Older real-time tacticians still remember the outstanding game Commandos* from 1998 as well as the Wild West variant Desperados* from 2006. The genre of tactical stealth games is experiencing smaller revivals time and again. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun joins the list of absolute must-have titles. If you've been waiting for a worthy "successor" since Desperados, you can't avoid Daedelic's version from Old Japan. Shadow Tactics captivates from the start and lets the hours of play fly by. Beginners and experts alike will find challenges tailored to their style of play and experience. Once you have put on a ninja's tabi, you won't take them off again anytime soon. However, Mimimi Productions does not rest on the nostalgic feelings of high-class predecessors. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a consistent further development of well-known game mechanics, which was brought to the screens with a striking attention to detail.

The harmonious atmosphere, great doodle music and wonderfully different characters with just as different skills invite you to tactical experiments on the gigantic playgrounds of ancient Japan. Anyone who has not yet come into contact with the genre can use useful auxiliary functions that offer support, but do not let beginners lose the challenge completely. Professional tacticians, on the other hand, combine complex chains of skills to sneak around enemies in true ninja fashion.