Impressions – Moero Chronicle

The Genkai Tokki series of games is Compile Heart’s sexier franchise. While the Neptunia games are happy to serve up delicious amounts of yuri themed fan service along with the occasional lewd situation, Genkai Tokki is a little more brazen with its sexy fan service.

Earlier entries in the Genkai Tokki series focused on monster girls and the need to use a rubbing mechanic in order to boost their power and befriend them, etc. This meant they were released exclusively on the PlayStation Vita to make use of the touch controls available on that format.

An unfortunate side effect of this was that the Genkai Tokki games could only be played on the Vita’s smaller screen. Even when the PlayStation TV later joined the ranks of PlayStation systems, these games were not white listed for use. A shame given that the PlayStation TV currently posses some very good touch control emulation that makes full use of the PlayStation 4 controller’s touch pad.

It seemed that those of us who prefer to game on larger screens were to be forever doomed to squint at tiny ones. Depending on the game, I could only hope to come away with at least some understanding of the story being conveyed. This is a problem I often have; particularly with Japanese games which opt to use stylised fonts. Playing on a monitor can alleviate this in many cases, although not all.

To give credit where it’s due, Compile Heart do at least tend to use larger, clearer, text for many of their games. Although some areas can feature harder to read text, such as item descriptions. While touch control elements in games may be a nice gimmick, I’ve long since reached the point where I’d rather play with a standard controller and a bigger screen instead.

You may remember that some time back, Idea Factory International made the decision to no longer localise any game that required significant alterations in order to be released outside of Japan. The initial response to this was the common line of thought that games such as the Genkai Tokki series would no longer see release outside of Japan and Asia.

Indeed, with the exception of Monster Monpiece, this has been true. None of the other entries in the series have been released outside of Japan and Asia on the PlayStation Vita, and it is unlikely they ever will be. However, this is where Idea Factory International’s love of Steam has once again paid off.

Moero Chronicle has now debuted worldwide on Steam in English, Japanese, and Chinese, and serves up its content unaltered. A move made possible as it is apparently easier to release on the PC in many countries. This removes having to worry about classification boards or platform owners demanding changes from the equation. Eroge excluded, Japanese games rarely cross any lines that Valve may have issue with.

Like Monster Monpiece before it, Moero Chronicle features rubbing elements (referred to as Bumping Scratch); parts of gameplay that require you to touch the girls in order to recruit them and raise their intimacy levels. Unlike Monster Monpiece, both the rubbing system and related tutorials have been improved for the transition to controller / mouse based gameplay. Although certain aspects, such as attempting to activate multiple Heart Touches at once will not be possible given the resulting lack of touch screen support, it is possible now to achieve the different types of touches required by different monster girls.

If you do find the Bumping Scratch system a little confusing you can practice it without consuming Rubbing Points once you’ve captured your first monster girl and unlocked the Inn. It would be nice if Idea Factory International could revisit Monster Monpiece to improve its touch elements based on the those they made for this release.

Although Idea Factory International did improve the touch control aspect of Moero Chronicle, there is still an issue with redefining button mapping. Namely, it never seems to save. Every time I exited out of the game, I had to redefine the button mapping again. This is annoying as Moero Chronicle defaults to swapping the positions of the accept and cancel actions in relation to those that most will be used to. That is, where A (on an Xbox 360 controller) would be Accept in a US layout, Moero Chronicle defaults to B, inline with the default Japanese button layout.

Rubbing elements aside, general gameplay is far more traditional and is represented as a first person dungeon crawler in a similar vein to the original Bard’s Tale or Eye of the Beholder. Saving is only possible inside dungeons at certain areas and there’s a lot of backtracking. This in turns means a lot of random encounters too. Luckily you can speed these up so they’re over fairly quickly (useful when up against weak opponents you know you can defeat with your eyes closed).

It should be noted that unlike the Neptunia franchise, most Genkai Tokki games are not related to each other and do not feature the same cast of characters (Otton being an exception). They are in the same universe, but are standalone titles. You will not need to have played Monster Monpiece in order to understand the story in Moero Chronicle. That said, Moero Crystal, the next game in the series can be considered a direct sequel to this one.

In true lewd form, the aim of Moero Chronicle is to attempt to locate the ultimate pair of panties which are said to be able to save the world from the current curse which is befalling monster girls. This is explained to you by Otton a pink seal that somewhat resembles a penis.

Otton is a good example of the more risqué character design which Compile Heart use for Genkai Tokki. Indeed, Otton has been adopted as a linking element, appearing in all future games following Moero Chronicle. This lover of panties, bras, monster girls, and boobies, is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita who many will likely recognise as Yusuke from Persona 5.

The player takes on the role of Io, a young man that no one expects much from. He is quickly driven out of his village, tasked with finding out why monster girls are attacking humans, by one of the elders who expects Io to go off and get himself killed. If that wasn’t bad enough, Io is already struggling with the fact that as a young man, he has a tendency to start fantasising about girls he meets. Imagining them in all sorts of sexy situations. These has left him unable to talk to most women.

The chance meeting with Otton has quickly thrust Io into the spotlight, forcing him to surround himself with a harem of cute monster girls recruited after fighting them. This premise offers up ample opportunities for lewd fan service in the form of suggestive conversations and character art. Moero Chronicle is completely unashamed of this and lovely as a result.

I’m hoping that Moero Chronicle sells well on Steam. As far as I’m concerned it ticks the right boxes; easy to grasp base gameplay, good adoption of substitute touch controls, playable on a good sized monitor, and lots of fan service. And if it does sell well, there is the very real hope that Moero Crystal and Seven Pirates will also one day see release in English via Steam. I very much would love to be able to play Seven Pirates on a bigger screen!

Screenshots were taken by the author.

Moero Chronicle was obtained courtesy of Idea Factory International initially for the purpose of beta testing.

Provisionally scored:

 

  • Lishe

    I’ve been on the fence about this one; How would you say it compares to Class of Heroes and Etrian Oddyssey in terms of party customization and difficulty?
    I feel those are two things I need a healthy dose of to get into 1st person dungeon crawling ^^

  • Both of those two are way more complex in those respects. Difficulty options in Moero Chronicle are basic in comparison. Only 4 options which alter enemy HP and experience gain, etc. Nearest you get to customisation is selecting which monster girls to be in your party (after recruiting them by defeating them in battle) and which job outfits they wear in addition to equipped items. You’ll also need to unlock the ability to equip job outfits and find them in dungeons. And if you don’t like their current stats, you can reset monster girl levels back to 1. Stats awarded on level up are apparently tied to the job outfit.

    But yeah, the focus is far more on the fan service than offering up a complex dungeon crawler with freedom to tailor parties. If you haven’t played them yet, you might want to look at Stranger of Sword City or Operation Abyss, etc., basically dungeon crawlers developed by Experience Inc are far more open to party customisation.