Review: Mugen Souls Z – Quirkiness at its Finest!

Originally Posted on the Official Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Review By Kennard Daniel Prim
 
 
 
 
 Pros:
  • A quirky and interesting cast of characters, with the party from the original Mugen Souls returning.
  • Various levels of customization, from clothing and accessories to the ability to make a character at the Peon Salon
  • Greatly improves upon several key aspects of the previous title.
 
Cons:
  • Level grinding becomes necessary, especially at later chapters.
  • As of the current version of the game, there is a bug that causes the game to freeze on occasion while in the Mugen Field.
  • The voice acting can be, at times, grating. 
 
 
 Final Score: 7 out 10
 
 
 
  Mugen Souls Z opens with the player taking control of the “Undisputed God of the Universe” Chou-Chou through a few short tutorial battles. One on a ship called a G-Castle which can be completed in just a few turns. Followed by the player taking control of the G-Castle itself to take down an enemy ship. The battle is preceded by a tutorial explaining the different functions of the G-Castle during a battle. Again this battle can be won without any degree of difficulty since it’s just a tutorial stage. 
 
  After a short cutscene we are introduced to the first of the new cast in your party. A hero from the Rose World, the same world we find our new primary character, Syrma. After controlling Nao for just a few brief moments and progressing to several cutscenes, control shifts to the Ultimate God Syrma. After a few more brief cutscenes in which Nao steps on a Shampuru, the result of Chou-Chou “peonifying” various creatures and objects, Syrma ends up in a battle with Chou-Chou which is quickly decided.
 
 From here the game truly begins, upon your defeat Chou-Chou in all her greedy nature demands to be given Syrma’s coffin. Which promptly pulls her in and absorbs her of all her powers once opened. The nonsensical quest to regain the power of both Syrma and Chou-Chou begins as Chou-Chou essentially guilt trips Syrma into doing her bidding. 
 
  The tutorials of abilities extend well into the fourth chapter of the game, covering various topics from an ability called Ultimate Soul, to random shops on G-Castle and what you can do at them. Functions are unlocked slowly as the game progresses, with the majority of content aside from Ultimate God Abilities being available by chapter four. In addition with each chapter a new selection of items becomes available at both shops.
 
 
 
  Progression through the game requires two things. Capturing a planet by turning it into a peon. You do this by essentially appealing to whatever fetish a particular node may have, trading a certain item or even having defeated a specific number of enemies. The seduction system of the game, characterized by what’s called the Fetish Pose system, is an upgraded version of the Moe Kill function of the original game. Being more streamlined and easy to understand, the Fetish Pose system also offers an alternative to winning battles. The second requirement for possession is the defeat and absorption of each planet’s Ultimate God. While it is possible to defeat a boss using a Fetish Pose, it’s much easier to just defeat them with combat. As you would expect, the further you progress in the game the stronger enemies become. However this can be a difference of just a slight level adjustment, and a giant leap.
 
  Combat is turn-based and progresses relatively smoothly. Battle is decided in one of three ways, defeat enemies by reducing their hitpoints to zero, peonify enemies using the Fetish pose system and peonify the large crystal in the battle field. Each enemy has their own preference when it comes to a personality. This preference is located above their HP bar and to the right. Syrma is capable of switching personalities during battle the same way you would on the field with a quick tap of the L1 button and cycling through a wheel. As you progress through the game each personality increases in level, marked as a percentage. Attacks are categorized into several types. A standard attack, physical skills, magical skills, Blast-Off Attacks and Special Attacks. Beyond this is a special attack available exclusively to Syrma known as Ultimate Soul. Blast-Off attacks allow the player to send an enemy flying around the arena, hitting the borders, other enemies, characters and the gems. All of which cause additional damage with each bounce. Ultimate Soul is a last resort move, dealing massive amounts of damage to every enemy on the field. Beyond this is the usual item use, stat buffs and debuffs and healing spells.
 
 
 
  While early on the game provides an appropriate amount of experience to leveling, this quickly changes as you progress further. Grinding becomes a necessity, which makes the Mugen Field both a godsend and a curse. It’s a godsend in the sense that by limiting actions and reaching a marker called a Damage Carnival, which is when you hit a specific amount of accumulated damage, you can gain multipliers for experience, money and Mugen Points. While in the Mugen Field you can experience any of a number of events. Whether they be regular battles, a battle involving your G-Castle, harmful or helpful events and even rare enemy encounters. As good as this is, as of the current version of the game there is a chance of the game freezing while in the Mugen Field, making frequent saving your best friend when the chance arises. This can be especially frustrating when midway through a run and nowhere near a checkpoint and the game decides to freeze. Rest Spots in the Mugen Field, which are reached at a certain checkpoint on your journey, house a strong enemy known as a Keeper of Death, a Shampuru that will sell you various unlockables such as skill upgrades and character classes, treasure chests and sometimes a regular shop or a medic. You are also able to adjust any seals you have selected at this point to make the fight against the boss easier or more difficult. 
 
  Overall the sound for the game is good, each world has its own tune to fit the setting, and depending on the severity of a battle you may get one of several battle themes. Boss fight themes are typically separated by the level of difficulty of the boss. However, the voice acting can sometimes be a bit grating and can wear on the player rather fast. Aside from actual speech, growls and hisses are vocalized as well which adds to how overall silly the game can be. If you aren’t terribly fond of one set of voices, you can switch between an English and Japanese dub.
 
 
 
  The overall story is mildly amusing, but at times becomes a bit convoluted with the various cutscenes. In a single chapter you can have cutscenes involving not only the party, but the primary antagonist at his home, characters you’ve yet to encounter on a completely different planet, and even a character on the current planet you’ve yet to run into. There are several running gags, including Syrma’s inability to explain the situation of the Ultimate Gods without being interrupted, as well as characters being shoved into Syrma’s coffin whether they’re an Ultimate God or not. Each planet adds one or two new characters to the party, often following a cutscene in which someone gets injured or tricked.
 
  More content is unlocked for the game through absolute completion of planets, which may sometimes grant special tickets, and completing a run through the Mugen Field. These tickets may be redeemed at a Shampuru on the central platform in the G-Castle. This content ranges from extending how long a run through the well-mentioned Mugen Field can last, different game modes and even permanent modifier bonuses. One game mode in particular worth mentioning is the Mugen Souls 7 Worlds Redux, which allows you to revisit major battles from the original title.
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