By Steve Baltimore / April 27th, 2023
|Developer||Idea Factory, Compile Heart|
|Release Date||April 27th, 2023|
Back in 2012 when Mugen Souls was first launched here in the West, fans were pretty let down by the content cuts in our release. This trend would continue with the PC release that came out in 2015. But, EastAsiaSoft has finally released what they promise is a faithful version of this cult classic, 11 years after its initial release. I’ve spent about 30 hours with this new release on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s time to share my thoughts. Let’s get to it.
Our story begins as the adorable, (self-proclaimed) undisputed god of the universe, Chou-Chou, sets forth to conquer all seven planets in the universe. She is accompanied by her two companions, Ryuto, her first peon who is totally in lust with her, and Altis, the re-incarnated Angel. The three of them will begin an adventure, the scale of which they never expected, as they discover new friends, make new loyal peons and uncover Chou-Chou’s mysterious past.
The story here doesn’t take itself very seriously, but I’ve always thought it was a lot of fun. I decided to play the game this time with the Japanese dub and subtitles, since the newly re-added bath mini game is only voiced in Japanese, but I don’t think they changed much in the localization here. They kept the English dub in place, and subs seemed to just be following along with that from what I saw in the first chapter. I was pretty disappointed to see they kept NISA’s dumb terms for the personalities. Tsundere will never equal bipolar no matter how badly they want it to, and without looking it up, most folks will not even know what a terse personality is. This was stupid 11 years ago, and time didn’t make it any less stupid.
Graphically, this release of Mugen Souls looks pretty good. I remember the PlayStation 3 version had a ton of Depth of Field and Motion Blur, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. All of the character models looks great, and everything has a nice clean look. There are some frame rate issues on some fields, this is more noticeable when playing handheld, but I don’t really thinks this effects the overall flow of the game that much. Battles run very smoothly, and all of the CG’s present in the Japanese version of the game are included in our gallery this time around. If you want to see them straight away without unlocking them in-game, there is an option to do this in the tons of included DLC.
I’ve always really enjoyed this soundtrack, and having not heard it in a while, I realized that it borrowed a few tracks from the Neptunia franchise. That being said, the battle themes here were always my favorite, and I still caught myself humming along while slaying all the baddies. As I mentioned before, the English dub from previous releases is here for those that are fans of it, but having played the game in Japanese this time around, I personally think that is the better way to go. It’s not as jarring when you enter the bath mini game, and I feel like the Japanese cast just does a better job bringing these characters to life.
Gameplay here consists of mostly combat, as you fight off hordes of enemies while trying to make them your loyal peons. This is done by the “Moe Kill” system. Each enemy will have a mood and personality type, and you will have to use one of Chou-Chou’s personalities in order to bring them to your side. If you win over their heart, you will gain them with no combat, but you can also turn them into valuables, or enrage them which gives them a huge stat boost. However, you can gain peons if you decide to just dispatch your enemies with your various skills and attacks, as well. It will take a bit of trial and error to figure out which ones work best on each type of enemy, but it’s fairly easy to stockpile a huge amount of peons in no time. Gaining these will help boost G-Castle’s stats for the ship to ship combat you will face during the story and in the Mugen Field.
Skills and weapons can be upgraded to insane levels by spending the gold, Mugen Points, and Gs you find in battle. Weapons can be upgraded in your home base, but you will need to explore the Mugen Field to upgrade other aspects of your characters. These include adding more defense slots, unlocking new jobs for custom peons, leveling up skills, increasing your level cap, and much more. You will be able to access all of this as you complete a certain number of the 100 floors found in the field. You can also turn on some handicaps that will give you a boost in all gained points as you travel further up. There is a lot of fun to be had here, but I always felt like the ship battles in this one were unbalanced. Even if you have a ton of peons and great stats, the ships here can turn the tide on you in a second, ending your run. You will only lose the Mugen points you bet at the start of the run, but this is frustrating when you have a big multiplier going.
When you’re not in combat, you will be exploring each of the seven worlds, watching the game’s story progress. Chou-Chou’s not only wants to make people her loyal peons, but the worlds themselves as well! You will do this by finding Peon Points on the map and fulfilling their wishes. Some want to see a certain type of girl, others want to know how many battles you fought, and some just need some cold hard cash. Doing this will not only progress the story, but later in the game it will help you increase your peon count very quickly.
At the end of the day, this is probably the best release of Mugen Souls we’ve got here in the West. The content is complete, and while the game doesn’t run perfectly on the Switch, I don’t think it’s terrible either. The story here is still pretty solid, but I would’ve liked to see the localization get more of an update. The personality names really bother me, and this would’ve been a good time to fix this. The excuse of “folks wouldn’t know the anime terms” is weak. Anyone buying this game would know exactly what they were. At the end of the day, even with my gripes, I feel like this one is well worth the $39.99 asking price. I still had a lot of fun with it, and having all the content from the Japanese version is a big plus. I hope EastAsiaSoft decides to port Mugen Souls Z next, since I feel like it plays better than this release, but I always liked this story just a bit better.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.
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