Sengoku Blade / Tengai

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a game by Psikyo, and Zerodiv
Platform: PC (1996)
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Arcade Games, High Score Games, Shoot 'Em Up Games, Run-and-Gun Games, Rail Shooter, Sengoku Series
Sengoku Blade / Tengai
Sengoku Blade / Tengai
Sengoku Blade / Tengai
Sengoku Blade / Tengai

When we think of shoot ‘em ups, the first thing that might pop into our heads might be a spaceship shooting dozens of aliens. Sengoku Blade — or Tengai, as it was released outside Japan — breaks with that paradigm by introducing Sengoku-era samurai as the main characters of this unique shooter.

This historical shooter might be simple, but its tight controls and original setting make it a force to be reckoned with in the shoot ‘em up genre. If you’re tired of the countless Galaga rip-offs, Tengai might be just what you were looking for.

Historical fantasy

The Sengoku period in Japan was a time of constant civil war and political disorder that happened between 1467 and 1615. Many of the famous samurai pieces of media are set in this period, as it is when the fabled Japanese warriors were at their most powerful political positions.

Tengai uses the Sengoku period with some heavy liberties, as the world where Tengai’s plot takes place is a magically anachronistic reality. In this world, magic and technology co-exist in a delicate balance. This equilibrium is broken when the cult of Shinrano kidnaps the Shogun’s daughter, kickstarting a war that a group of heroes must battle.

Characters and endings

It’s worth mentioning that the original Japanese release of Sengoku Blade is a sequel to Sengoku Ace. As a sequel, the game features many characters from the first game, released as Samurai Aces in English-speaking territories.

The game features a selection of five characters, each with their unique ending. Even more impressive for a shoot ‘em up is the inclusion of branching storylines, which means that players can get several endings depending on how they fare in the game. A sixth character is also available as a secret unlockable: Flush, a one-eyed archer returning from the first game in the series.

Simply gorgeous

One of Tengai’s many strengths lies in its art department. The distinctive setting of the game allows for many unique designs, both for characters and stages alike. The character selection screen features some amazing portraits for each character, and so does the game’s story cutscenes.

The sprite art is very well done, and the animations work great in conjunction, allowing for fluid gameplay that looks incredible and distinctive. As we mentioned before, Tengai’s setting sets it apart from other Galaga clones, similar to developer Psikyo’s previous game, Gunbird.

The music is a bit of a mixed bag: combining classical Sengoku period Japanese compositions with more modern sounds works well, sometimes. While some of the tracks work well, some others might sound a bit dissonant. This is a matter of taste, of course, but compared to Gunbird’s OST, Tengai needs a bit of work with its soundtrack.

Refreshingly unique for a shoot ‘em up, Sengoku Blade / Tengai is a great game that plays well and looks even better. A weak soundtrack isn’t enough to diminish the game’s insanely addictive gameplay, and the beautiful sprite artwork is honestly masterful.


Fans of horizontal shooters will be delighted by Tengai’s challenging levels, while RPG lovers might be drawn in by the game’s branching narrative and interesting characters. It might be simple, but Tengai is one of the best pick-up-and-play games that the genre has to offer.


  • Gorgeous visual style
  • Easy to learn, difficult to master
  • Unique characters with branching stories
  • Difficulty feels fair


  • The OST could use some work
  • Some players might find the lack of gameplay modes disappointing

Download Sengoku Blade / Tengai


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

See Also

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