What Is A “Musou” Game?

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When discussing video game genres, a certain niche called “musou games” will keep popping up. These games have been around for decades, and they are getting more and more popular as popular IPs have created musou style games. You may have already played one of these games without knowing it.

What is a musou game exactly?

A musou game is a Japanese hack-and-slash type video game that has the player playing as a character that fights through hundreds of simple enemies and destroys them with relative ease. It is the epitome of a mindlessly fun game.

In North America, they are known as the Warriors franchises, and include games such as Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Hyrule Warriors and more.

While all of these franchises have different characters and settings, and gameplay characteristics that set them apart, all of them play roughly the same: you play as an incredibly strong character who tears through an open battlefield, slaughtering hundreds of enemies.

“Musou” is the Japanese name for these types of games, and it’s also seen in the name of the musou gauge in Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors (the musou gauge is basically a character’s ‘ultimate’ attack,) as well as musou mode, the story mode for Dynasty Warriors.

The various Warriors franchises have multiple installments, and they all take place in different eras or settings. Examples would be:

  • Dynasty Warriors, which takes place during the late-Han and Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history.
  • Samurai Warriors, which takes place during the Warring States period in Japan.
  • Hyrule Warriors, which takes characters and set pieces from The Legend of Zelda series and puts them into a musou game.
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors, which is a series of musou games based off the popular manga One Piece.

The Warriors games have done well over the decades, with tens of millions of copies being sold across all franchises. Additionally, the musou-style gameplay has been implemented in extremely popular IPs such as Fire Emblem, The Legend of Zelda, One Piece and more.

Musou games have long held a dedicated fanbase, and it will continue to grow in popularity as more popular IPs implement the genre. If you’re looking for cathartic and mindless fun, you can’t go wrong with a musou game.