By William Haderlie / January 3rd, 2017
|Release Date||December 16, 2016|
|Genre||Strategy Role Playing Game|
|Age Rating||General Audiences|
Moékuri! is not going to win any major end of the year awards for best game or best soundtrack or anything else, but it was a wonderful breath of fresh air to play. I would almost call it a palette cleanser, in food terms, as it helped wash out the taste of everything else and left me feeling refreshed. But even beyond the pleasant style, it served as a greatl reminder that sometimes Kickstarter can be used to get games released on our shores that we would have never seen in years past. It was also a reminder that cute girls can just engage in a pleasant story without having to worry about developing a whole bunch of angst or world ending evil just to make a story more “epic”. But the largest takeaway for me was that there was every indication that this could have been made a free-to-play game (all the hooks to do so are there) but instead of falling into that line of thinking, they just released a very reasonably priced full game. I cannot compliment the developers enough on that decision, because I personally cannot stand the predatory free-to-play models. This game will not light the world on fire, but I can foresee there being a very small dedicated community around it.
Like many other ‘moe’ styled games, there is a strong focus on making the girls as cute as possible. And they succeed in that task very admirably in Moékuri!. All of the girls definitely fall into the classic anime and manga tropes that we have come to expect, but they are very unapologetic about that, which I found pleasing. Iruse is the primary heroine of the tale, and she doesn’t really have anything that makes her special other than her grimoire, Nursery Rhyme, which was left to her by her mother. She wants to find out what happened to her mother after she disappeared years ago, but they make it quite clear that she hasn’t exactly suffered as an orphan. Instead, the village treats her very well, and she has a best friend who she hangs out with and they practice magic together frequently. There is no hint of a father in the picture; in fact (like many other ‘moe’ styled games), there is no evidence of any males in the world at all, but they don’t really make her a tragic figure. Iruse by all appearances is a very happy and well adjusted young girl.
Nika is Iruse’s best friend, and she learns most of her Master magic from her. They spend the majority of their time exploring the countryside and practicing their magic, but in many ways Iruse seems to also take on the mother role for Nika. At several points the game makes it fairly clear that Nika is looking for a much more romantic relationship with Iruse, but that feeling does not seem to be reciprocated. Nika is your typical loli tsundere, but she is so adorable at it that I forgive her for treading that well worn path. Her voice actress is also so absurdly cute that you may be in danger of contracting diabetes just from listening to her.
The first quasi-villain that you meet in the game is named Penalu, but you rather quickly realize that she’s only making mischief because she was misunderstanding a few fundamental things. Her earnestness combines with her lackluster intelligence to make her a whirlwind of bad ideas. But that is one of the charms in this game; all the enemies are not really anyone you would want to see hurt, and you just want to stop them from doing something ridiculous. Penalu mostly serves her mistress Liia, but she can misinterpret her master’s desires a lot, leading to nothing but mischief. But in the end, she’s so adorable and earnest about everything that she is soon forgiven for whatever trouble she caused.
I won’t go through the introductions for ever story character; I’ll leave it about half (the most important ones, in my opinion). But the last one I wanted to talk about is Univa. I loved all the characters in this game, but Univa was a particular favorite of mine. One of the things that I loved the most about her is that she’s the Princess, but she acts like the worst kind of gigolo Prince that you could imagine. It’s admirable that she pursues what she wants so fervently, but that also makes her quite the disruptive force. It is great, and very moe, that what she wants the most is very yuri in nature. So she ended up pasting a smile on my face any time she was involved in the story. Instead of cutting away to a villain to find out what dastardly things they were doing, the cutaways to Univa involved a lot of hilarity and a fair amount of rooting for her to get her way so you could see some yuri action.
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