Nanako Descends to Hell is the sequel to the 2007 game Nanako in Classic Japanese Monster Castle. After rescuing her sister Mya from the Monster Castle they head home. There Nanako finds out her village is destroyed... again. Fed up with the constant harassment by tribes she consults the Oracle. He advises her to go to Hell and collect four pieces of an ancient artifact able to turn any offender into ashes.
There is very different gameplay compared to the original game. Hell consists of a single, large environment created by connecting 100 fixed-screen rooms both horizontally and vertically using the flip-screen mechanic, offering an amount of freedom. The game uses a bird's-eye view as Nanako needs to explore and collect the four pieces of the artifact. She starts with five lives and has no means of attack, so enemies need to be avoided. While exploring some objects can be picked up that provide help. A maximum of four objects can be carried and these can be cycled and swapped through an inventory. Holy water provides resistance against a single enemy attack, scissors are used to cut through iron walls and axes can chop down trees to access areas. This provides an element of environment based puzzle-solving. When all four pieces are collected the game is won right away.
Nanako runs around in revealing clothing and a large image of her is shown at the right side of the screen at all times.