REVIEW: Moe Chronicle

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

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Title Moe Chronicle
Developer Compile Heart
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia
Release Date May 5th, 2015
Genre Dungeon RPG/Ecchi
Platform PS Vita
Age Rating CERO D (JPN)/18+ (TWN)
Official Website

The game discussed in question is NSFW and some of the screenshots in the article intend to reflect this. Likewise there are links that lead to NSFW places. Reader discretion is advised.

Genkai Tokki Moero Chronicle, known simply as Moe Chronicle in its translated form, exists very much as an experiment for Idea Factory when it came to releasing it outside of Japan. With the flack they got for censoring its card-battling predecessor Monster Monpiece, combined with the game’s ecchi content going up a gear compared to Monpiece (more on this later) Idea Factory decided to team up with Sony’s Asia division to get the game translated for the Southeast Asian market with English and Chinese subs instead of a proper localisation. This is so that those who wanted the game outside of these regions can import a copy without having to worry about censorship or the mainstream games press. An interesting setup for a pretty interesting game.

The game itself is set in the land of Monstopia, a land where humans co-exist alongside monster girls. One day, the monster girls mysteriously start turning evil and attacking the humans and it’s up to lazy villager Io to save the day alongside his childhood friend, Lilia. Along the way Io meets mascot character Otton and a plethora of monster girls to go on an adventure and find the cause of the mysterious evil that is affecting the monster girls. The catch is that Io is worried about the perverted thoughts he has about women – the only woman he feels he can talk to is Lilia, and even that gets thrown into question. It’s lighthearted, humorous harem fluff in the grand scheme of things – perfect for this kind of game.

Moe Chronicle | In the opening chapter of the game.

The Elder is such a reasonable man in this cutscene.

As for the dungeons themselves, there are six of them. They are pretty visually appealing with straightforward layouts, but are nice enough for this game. You have your generic forest worlds (1 and 3) alongside this bizarre space world set entirely on gears, which means there’s a fair bit of variety in the dungeon aesthetics. The dungeons are pretty easy to negotiate, however you will need a little bit of memory to remember the quickest ways to the boss areas and hidden rooms, as there is no auto-map or landmark feature. It’s a very barebones map system (only the exits and save point is noted) and a more detailed map would have been appreciated.

Battles themselves are mostly random, aside from one or two select points on each floor. When battle starts, your party of monster girls will fight. Io acts as more of a support character, able to charge up his “Desire” before “Releasing” it to one of the monster girls to initiate a more powerful attack when they next move. The higher the charged “Desire”, the stronger the attack will be, but it also increases the chance of Io’s desire exploding, rendering Io unable to participate in battle, being present in “Calm Time.” Bear in mind that Io is the only way you’ll be able to use items, so it’s a careful balancing act here. Monster girls can also “Charm” Io to boost his “Desire” or get him out of “Calm Time” faster. It ties in well to the character of Io, and is a pretty simplistic enough system to use in the game, particularly in boss battles or the postgame rooms. It’s a nice idea, but not expanded on.

Moe Chronicle | The RPG part of capturing the monster girls.

Mid-battle against a World 2 monster girl. The hot spring world is nice at least.

Pretty much every other feature required in an RPG battle system (spells, ailments etc.) are present and functional allowing for a reasonably fleshed out battle system. In regular battles, you fight against static portraits of various enemies with sexual connotations (should your dirty mind flag it up, though in all honesty it’s not that difficult, one of the enemies looks like a cross between a mushroom and male genitalia). Regular battles are pretty easy to sit through, and you could simply use auto battle and skip on easier difficulties, as there isn’t much challenge present in this aspect of the game.

Now onto Otton. I know him as the perverted seal, and the reason why is because he is where the ecchi content comes in. All of the 70 monster girls that you meet in the field can join your party – if you can capture them in battle. Instead of merely defeating them in battle as per most RPGs, there is a clothing degradation mechanic where the player has to attack the bits of clothing on their body and reduce them down to their bra and panties. If the player is able to remove all the clothing and fill Otton’s libido (the heart in the corner), you enter the Bumping Scratch minigame.

Moe Chronicle | Otton's introduction

Otton’s voice actor is different in Crystal. Sad face.

This is where it steps up from Monpiece. Whereas in Monpiece, you merely had to rub the Vita touchscreen up and down from anywhere in order to level up the cards, in Chronicle there is an added challenge. In Chronicle there are particular weak points on every monster girl that you have to strike in order to fill up the gauge within a minute. If you can successfully do this, you “capture” the monster girl and they will join your party after a generic lighthearted cutscene. Common weak points include obvious places like boobs and panties, to not so obvious ones like ears, forehead and tails. In context, this fits the game perfectly. It’s an interesting gameplay mechanic that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this is faithful enlargement (sorry) of Monpiece‘s version. If you think this sounds weird and haven’t played this series yet, you should take a look for yourself (skip to 2:52).

Outside of battles, there is also the Job Pantie system. This is where if you collect panties in the field, and are able to take them back to your hotel in town and use them on one of the many monster girls you meet to lay eggs, which can have alternative costumes. You can also do the same with building materials to upgrade their rooms. Alternatively, perform the Bumping Scratch minigame again on the monster girls you have captured can be done, likewise you can give them gifts, in order to raise their affection towards you. It also allows you to interact and have predetermined conversations between Io and at least one of the other characters at a time. Much like the rest of the dialogue, this is funny and lighthearted and a pleasure to read via a good quality translation with only a handful of errors (though Otton’s one-liners on the field are the best, such as the scenes where the party first meet Kargos).

Moe Chronicle | The ecchi part of capturing the monster girls.

Rub the right places and you enter Nude Flash mode, which speaks for itself really. It’s only available for a few seconds at a time, mind.

When you look at this ecchi content more critically though, two things stick out. The first is that this is, in my view, too risqué for the West. Attitudes towards anime characters being sexualized in games in the West are generally negative (and are amplified even more by some areas of the media) due to them being perceived as underage. These kind of attitudes are what lead to games like Dungeon Travelers 2 being censored upon its Western release in order to mitigate the potential PR impact and meet the legal standards set by some regions, particularly in some PAL countries. An important thing to note with titles like Dungeon Travelers is that it was only cosmetic and wouldn’t affect the core gameplay, however with this title it’s different. If Moe Chronicle was to get a localized release, this minigame would get the carving knife (my guess based on MonMon, not all the clothes could be removed), and this would be to the detriment of the title’s unique flavor. I would argue to the detractors that to truly appreciate Chronicle (or any Japanese title for that matter) you try to look at the title from the perspective of the culture that it is produced in (i.e. ecchi is popular in Japan, Japan has an emphasis on youth in their culture, age of consent is as low as 13 in some places etc.). This is something I am still learning to do myself, and I hope that other readers and those outside of Chronicle’s niche try to do when reading about/playing with this kind of game.

This also leads to my second point – this minigame is where the main appeal of Moe Chronicle lies, and if you do not like it, you won’t like this game. The dungeon crawling is very simple and isn’t really fleshed out, and the story itself is pretty barebones, with a fairly simple character development arc. Catching all the monster girls and getting all the job panties available in the game is a grindfest which is standard course for Compile Heart games, though for me personally I have no interest in doing the latter. For me, games are meant to be played and enjoyed, not for endless monotony and postgame grinding for the sake of getting a platinum. That said, if you enjoy Compile Heart style grinding within this particular niche, you’ll be right at home here.

Moe Chronicle | Post-capture of a monster girl.

Moe Chronicle in a nutshell right here, folks.

For me, my thoughts on Moe Chronicle can be best summed up as this – as an ecchi game, it’s fantastic. The ecchi is well put together, fits the tone of the gameplay perfectly, even though it may make you question why you are playing it. As an actual game though – it really does fall flat. My playtime clocked in at about 38 hours. As a fan of dungeon RPGs I was disappointed with the title from a gameplay standpoint due to a lack of depth even though I liked everything else, particularly the art and the quirky soundtrack. The art itself was done by Katsuyuki Hirano, and it’s gorgeous and the hand-drawn CGs and backgrounds stand out to me particularly. The soundtrack itself has a mixture of tunes from the upbeat rock of “Asian Purple” to the vocals of the opening theme “Dream Chronicle” to the more oriental instrumental choices in “OIRAN DISCO.” The game has a jukebox where more songs are added the further in the game you go. I recommend listening to it, as there is quite a large variety of music at play within this game.

If you are into Compile Heart, dungeon RPGs and ecchi – this game is perfect for you if you haven’t picked it up yet, even if you only want to show support for uncensored Asian English releases. However, for everybody else particularly non-ecchi fans, you may want to steer clear. Hopefully when Moero Crystal (the sequel) gets released in English the core gameplay will be improved on a bit. I think we can all agree on one thing though – as an experiment on whether Asian English releases of ecchi games would work, it has been a resounding sales success.

Review Score

The quickest place to buy this game is from Play-Asia which you can do so here.

About Joseph Puntschart

A university student who loves niche games and desires for them to be more fairly represented in the world. Favourite games include Persona 4 Golden, Super Mario Galaxy, Kingdom Hearts II and IA/VT Colorful. Hopes that one day a Japanese publisher will take the risk and make a Yaoi ecchi game. Think Valkyrie Drive with guys and you're on the right lines.

  • Kazkari

    You missed the part where you level up the affection the girls feel for Io, he was an utter idiot in his dialogue but I liked how each girl talked about different things and how some were friends ect. Like how the mushroom girl was really shy and I think the one of the girls you showed in the battle picture with the tail was obviously into girls. I hate that Kobold girl though…
    Personally I think the game is a nice starter into the dungeon crawler genre, I prefer this over DT2 though I find this more likeable though its a shame it doesn’t have the altered classes thing like DT2, all they have the the character specific underwear that doesn’t help the stats at all but is way more for fan service, both would of been good considering…

    • Mr0303

      One thing I liked in MC over DT2 was that the job outfits kept their level even after changing them. In DT2 you had to go back to level 50 and reassign everything or simply have characters locked to one role, especially given the gates that limit your party choices.

    • j0eeyy_p

      Author here! Super late response but better late then never, ay? Even oreso as you make some interesting points. To be honest I had actually forgotten about Io’s dialogue in those sections, in part because it was the portion of the game I spent the least time. There was no way I was going to get all those relationship heart bars up to max.

      I disagree with regards to MC being a better starter. I’d argue Etrian Odyssey games are, but in terms of the Vita aside from Demon Gaze I wouldn’t really recommend anything else due to the fanservice. Aside from Operation Abyss which looked so bad from the gameplay I didn’t pick it up, DT2 is excellent but very grindy and my thoughts on Moe speak for themselves really. Hopefully with the plethora of upcoming relases both in the West and Japan there will be morevariety to choose from. I’m eyeing Death under the Labyrinth, Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain and Demon Gaze 2 personally. Oh, and Mary Skelter <3 Thanks for reading ^^

  • Dgnfly

    Ordered the game with bullet girls haven’t even palyed it since i got it, seems i need to speed up my backlog.

  • Panpopo

    I beat this game a few months ago and believe the reviewer is correct on all his points.

    I bought it when it was discounted on Play Asia, and believe it was worth the purchase at that price. I think the reviewer is spot-on regarding the mini-games – if those games don’t appeal to you, you will not have as much fun. The game itself is rather easy compared to the other dungeon crawlers out there, at least in regards to the main story.

    The Asian English translation is very good, and automatically loads up as English when you first start the game so there is no fiddling around with that. The game itself is very lighthearted, and doesn’t take itself too seriously which I love. Watch some gameplay on youtube if you are on the fence regarding getting this game.

    • j0eeyy_p

      Author here! Super late response but better late than never! Thank you very much on the feedback. I do think Moe Chronicle is worth the price it is now on PA, though I imported it at full price and was happy with it. I have played a little bit of the postgame and it does require grinding to be able to access and play through properly – not everyone will have the time for that.

      As for the translation, it was very good. It wasn’t perfect but it appeared to be faithful to the script which was a very good thing. Sony are taking their time translating the sequel though, I really hope that it gets released this summer. Thanks for reading! ^^

  • Speed12345

    The background of the first image is the same used in Agarest Senki Zero.

  • Mr0303

    I mostly agree with the review. Moe Chronicle is a simple dungeon crawler with some pretty good ecchi minigames.

    I liked the humour and the panty job system. I completed the main story, but I’m still yet to find the extra bosses and find all the girls. It does require quite a bit of grinding, but that seems like an usual thing in dungeon crawlers.

    One thing I disliked was the save points. Sometimes you have to backtrack to a specific dungeon floor just to save. That adds a few extra hours to the game.

    I’m looking forward to Crystal.

    • j0eeyy_p

      Author here! Super late response but better late than never! The humour and script was noe of the best things about the game. Unfortunately the gameplay did fall flat for me, which did dampen my enjoyment a bit. There is a lot to do if you are into the ecchi and grinding etc. but it wasn’t for me. It’s happily sitting on my shelf now and I don’t intend to get rid of it any time soon.

      I already imported the CE of Crystal and played a little bit of it. It’s pretty easy to navigate, and a couple of Chronicles major flaws have been fixed, including the save point thing. Thanks for reading ^^

    • Mr0303

      Fair enough – those games do tend to get rather grindy – I myself still haven’t completed all the post story content.

      I’m happy to hear that the save system is fixed in Crystal. I do hope we get an Asia release at some point.

  • William Haderlie

    I would have rated the game a little higher, but you make some fair points. I loved this game though, played through it enough to have the Platinum trophy. Dungeon crawlers are one of my favorite genres, but they can get a little stale when you play enough of them. There was enough fun and sexiness in this title to make up for the lack of imaginative stages, in my personal experience. But I do agree about this being censored all to hell if it was released here in the US. So I’m happy that they created an English Asia copy that I was able to order. It wouldn’t have been as fun without the naughtiness.

  • Ragunaxl

    Now we’re reporting about hypothetical censorship! You were saying what would be cut out if it came to the west. Is it coming out to the west? Does it have a publisher in the west? What is this publisher’s policy on censorship? The publisher that doesn’t exist…