Moero Chronicle Hyper Review
Release Date: April 26th, 2019
Developer: Compile Heart
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
While the term "moe" may not be familiar to a lot of people, it's basically a Japanese term that's used to describe a character, typically anime and female, that has strong feelings towards the protagonist. Countless games have used this to help market the games themselves with a targeted male audience, and while a fair portion are not so good, an equal amount tend to be worth playing despite the appeal (or lack thereof) it may have for a lot of people. Games like Dungeon Travelers, Criminal Girls, and to an extent the Neptunia series may be an exploit at first glance, but you genuinely have great games there with tons of content to quench the thirst of all kinds of JRPG enthusiasts and then some. The main moe games itself is also a series of titles created by Compile Heart known as Genkai Tokki that build upon each other's universe and themes, but each game is vastly different in how it handles itself and have no real relation to story outside of name itself. Moe Chronicle - or Moero Chronicle everywhere else - succeeds Monster Monpiece to be exact; a card game where a lot of the same monster girls appear but are utilized in a tower defense manner with card and turn-based strategy tactics. While Monster Monpiece had mechanics that could go rather deep, Moero Chronicle, while different, strips a lot of stuff away - figuratively and literally. This makes for a more accessible dungeon crawler compared to most, but unfortunately things get tedious and boring after a while. With titles like The Lost Child and Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, there are just much better choices out there that still have plenty of fanservice if that's a criteria you're looking for.
Moero Chronicle's story is a little goofy at first, with Io, the protagonist, having an issue with talking to girls, but when the world falls into peril from monster girls, it's up to him to adventure on and protect the land with his childhood friend, Lilia, who also happens to be a monster girl herself. There's a lot of cringeworthy and awkward interactions - intentionally - that Io has with everyone he meets, and it doesn't help that they have a perverted otter with them, Otto, but admittedly it can get quite hilarious at times, in both good and bad ways. Again, the story is goofy as that's the basis, but as things unfold you start to forget all of that and things can get serious from time to time, making you wonder how dark of a path one has to take and the sacrifices needed to protect so much. Since it's moe, most of the monster girls are attractive and have a thing for you, and, in a way, this becomes a weird game mechanic as well.
As you make your way through dungeons with first-person grid-based movement, you'll find yourself in a multitude of randomized battles as you venture from floor to floor to reach your next objective. Among these randomized battles with enemies are some of the monster girls you'll meet, which you can also tame to join your team and calm them down overall so they don't go rampaging anymore. While Io is capable of participating in battle, he actually doesn't contribute much and admittedly feels like a waste of time whenever your turn comes to use him. Io has five commands usable in battle: Store, Release, Item, Idle, and Escape. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Because it's not - but there is a slight method to it. Desire P is the "magic" that's gained on each turn and can be grown using the Store function. You can then use the Release function to power up one of your monster girls' attacks for extra and critical damage. This is especially useful in the more grueling fights, like boss fights, but the problem is that you have to balance it with a move Io can use called "Calm Time", but more often than not this move causes an explosion that stuns you and makes you unable to do anything for the next turn. My success rate with this was very low, but thankfully through enough grinding I never really had to rely on it much as my team was more than capable of handling most fights with ease. It doesn't help however that having a party wipe isn't the only way to lose a battle, but if your entire team is paralyzed as well that for some reason counts as a game over. Just because I'm immobile for a turn or two doesn't mean I'm incapable of making a comeback, and penalizing the player for a condition that's more often than not RNG seems a little absurd to me, especially with plenty of items that can be used to heal any disabling properties like that.
Battles tend to get even more wild as you come across up to fifty different monster girls throughout your journey of Monstopia. Your companion, Otto, partakes in battles by simply watching them, though you'll have to increase excitement to the max by attacking weak points and costume parts of each monster you come across. As you rid of their armor and reveal vulnerable points, Otto will reach MAX on his excitement gauge and hysterically lose his mind as you then activate a Bumping Scratch. What Bumping Scratch ultimately does is at the end of the battle turn into a short mini-game that's very similar to how one would reveal cards or upgrade them in Monster Monpiece: by rubbing the screen excessively in a vertical fashion to help purify the monsters through Positive Desire. As you touch certain points, a purity gauge will rise and once it's at max you'll be able to "capture" them as they come back to their senses. Fail, however, and they faint and you won't be able to encounter them for quite some time. Monster girls are sensitive, though, so please touch them gently.
During downtime throughout your adventure you'll be going through a bunch of menu management as you prep for your next run through the next dungeon. As you meet new people and new towns, you'll have chances to get acquainted with the monster girls you've befriended as well as the townsfolk for added bonuses. You can visit the rooms of each and increase affection and other attributes through gift giving and certain events that can trigger story sequences and unlock a ton of wonderful art. Moero Chronicle doesn't take itself too seriously, but the art is undoubtedly stunning in-game and through its gallery. The designs of every monster girl is genuinely impressive and should be commended, and while, yes, they can become scantily-clad as you weaken them, most designs are very detailed with tons of cloth and armor that kind of makes me wish there was a real clothing line based off of it, though, admittedly, in real life situations they'd more than likely be impractical.
Almost six years to the date, JRPG and dungeon enthusiasts around the world can finally experience Moero Chronicle in the form of Moero Chronicle Hyper on the Nintendo Switch instead of importing an English copy on Vita. While the game may sound or look updated at face value, however, there isn't much of a difference from how it originally was, and this includes the enhanced port on PC in 2017. The biggest differences you'll see is a few stat boosting items, obvious HD rumble support, and a feature allowing players to designate a spot on the map of a dungeon to travel there automatically; not necessarily fast travel, but more of an auto-walk system. Thankfully with not much to improve on and it being on the older side of things, Moero Chronicle Hyper is only $20 USD, which I feel is fair for what it is. Those that follow and have an affinity for Compile Heart, dungeon crawling, and ecchi will probably find a lot here to enjoy, and it's also a nice way to get your DRPG fix before we inevitably see a future entry of Etrian Odyssey brought over to the Switch to take back its rightful throne.
- The designs of characters are well made and no two designs look alike
- Dialogue, while not the best, is at least humorous and makes for a good time
- Battle system works for what it does without overwhelming the player
- Dungeons feel rather uninspired
- Repetitive nature of the game can get old quick
- Save points feel like a luxury
Our deepest gratitude to NIS America for sending us a copy of the game for the purposes of this review