The Beauty of the Beast
As a reviewer, I’ve had plenty of experience with Japanese games that specialize in hitting players with heavy doses of… erm… shock value of the revealing variety. I’ve reviewed Hyperdimension Neptunia. I’ve reviewed Gal*Gun. And I’ve reviewed Senran Kagura. I thought that I was immune to being caught off-guard by anime girls in precarious situations at this point. You can’t be right about everything, though, no matter how well you think you know yourself. And me? Well, after playing Moero Chronicle Hyper, I realized that I was wrong.
It would be a safe bet to say that Moero Chronicle Hyper is the most sexualized game that I’ve ever played — and that’s not just because of the over-abundance of anime girls present. Nearly every single aspect of this game is suggestive. Perhaps even so suggestive that it borders on being downright crude. But it’s a game that knows what it wants, and presumably what its fans want and attempts to live up to that to the best of its abilities. And for that, I absolutely respect it.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Monstopia
Moero Chronicle‘s story is, admittedly, very bizarre, but it begins with Io, our young protagonist, struggling with a problem that many young adults do — raging hormones (which might actually be scarier than any boss in this game). You see, Io, for some reason, just can’t talk to girls. He completely freaks out every time he tries. And why is that? Simple — because he immediately starts fantasizing about them in his head. That would be fine and dandy (I guess) if he wanted those fantasies to be there, but he doesn’t. These are some serious intrusive thoughts that he’s dealing with. So intrusive that he literally tries outrunning them… and ends up blacking out in the process. When he comes to, he’s greeted by his childhood friend Lilia — a monster girl, and the only female with whom he can speak normally — who informs him that all of the monster girls in the land have begun behaving aggressively. And things only go from bad to worse when the elder of Io’s village tells him that it’s up to him to stop them. Talk about facing your fears, huh?
Truthfully, there isn’t too much to talk about when it comes to the rest of Moero Chronicle’s story. Outside of the very end of the game, which is actually somewhat unique, the rest of the game’s narrative is your standard, archetypal, harem anime (or video game, in this case) flair. You’ve got your luckless loser (I still like you though, Io!) embarking on a journey that he’s way under-qualified for, who, by some miracle, finds himself stumbling through it thanks to the help of dozens of gorgeous girls who all end up liking him. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s something that anyone familiar with anime tropes won’t find themselves being surprised by in the slightest.
It’s probably a good thing that this game’s story isn’t it’s selling point, though, because if it were, then it would be in hot water. As much as I appreciate this game going boldly where no lewdness has ever gone before, it would have behooved Moero Chronicle Hyper to pay attention to its localization quality some more…. because it’s bad. I hate being that blunt, but there’s literally no other way around it. Fortunately, it’s not irredeemable — you can always, at the very least, understand what’s going on — but it’s clear that this game was not originally written in English. From its tendency to use questionable wording and sentence structures (although I’m probably not one to talk when it comes to that, either), to the fact that it literally just forgets to add letters to words a handful of times, Moero Chronicle will never be bringing home any awards for its narrative.
The last DRPG that I played by Compile Heart was a little number known as Mary Skelter Nightmares, and, if you’re familiar with how Compile Heart works, I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say that Moero Chronicle Hyper feels relatively similar to it (this game technically came first, but whatever). Like with Mary Skelter, Moero Chronicle Hyper‘s dungeons are less about solving puzzles and avoiding traps, and more about simple exploration. And when I say simple, I mean simple. Unlike with its predecessor, Moero‘s dungeons are, in a word, basic. There is very little going on in the way of traps and/or floor hazards, and what is there is simple enough that you shouldn’t have any trouble with it.
Normally, I like my dungeons to be a little tricky. Having gotten used to the slew of brutal dungeon crawlers ATLUS has thrown out via the Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensei series, and even the incredibly intricate dungeon layouts of Mary Skelter, Moero‘s simplicity threw me for a loop initially. Strangely enough, though, I didn’t find myself disliking it. There’s something nice about being able to map out an entire dungeon without having to worry about things like unfair deaths or falling into some trap with that will mess you up so badly that you might as well turn off your game and restart from your last save. Would I want it in every dungeon crawler? No, that would get boring quickly. But Moero‘s layout, thanks to its simplicity, provides a surprisingly refreshing adventure and is undoubtedly an enjoyable break from the more hardcore dungeon crawlers out there.
Simple as Moero Chronicle Hyper‘s dungeons may be, however, they’re not a walk in the park. While the game doesn’t have much going on in the way of tricks and traps, its denizens will make quick work of players who don’t pay attention. For better or worse, this game has an incredibly high encounter rate. I personally didn’t mind this, but I know that running into monsters every few steps can get annoying for some people. In addition to that, monster girls will also be prowl within every dungeon. Unlike with random encounters, however, the game’s sexy slimes, enchanting elves, and cutesy catgirls will be visible on the map — and here‘s where things get interesting. Moero Chronicle Hyper has a good 50+ monster girls for players to recruit. And, though they may have “monster” in their name, they behave like standard party members (as opposed to something out of Dragon Quest Monsters). Despite there being so many, however, only a good 10 or so of them are actually mandatory for completing the story. Because of this, the player can recruit the bulk of their party members at their leisure. Is someone too strong? No worries — just keep training and come back for them later! Hooray!
Cold Steel, Warm Bodies
Battles in Moero Chronicle Hyper are pretty darn wild, but not for the reason that you’d think. The actual fights themselves are, like their dungeon counterparts, overly-simplistic, allowing for little more than a standard collection of attack, buff, and debuff skills, and the four-element “aura” system which allows players to hit enemy’s weaknesses. Rather, the game’s wildness comes from just who, or rather what, exactly, you’re fighting. This game’s basic enemies, known as “H Monsters” (one guess what the “H” stands for) are… um… how to I say this tactfully… oh to hell with it; they’re just a bunch of boobs and dicks. No, that isn’t hyperbole. Literally, every single enemy in this game is some kind of weird innuendo. From the UFO comprised entirely out of breasts, to the gaggle of living sex toys, to the monster simply titled “mushroom hotdog” (or is it “hotdog mushroom”?) the most shocking part of battles is just how weird everything is. It’s like something straight out of mid-2000s Newgrounds. I seriously don’t know how they got away with all of this without being censored, but they did — and it’s kind of amazing.
Astonishing as Moero Chronicle Hyper‘s H Monsters are, they pale in comparison to the game’s monster girl battles. As always, monster girls can be taken down by battling them normally, but that’s not actually the wrong way to go about things. Merely defeating them will make them run away. If you want them to join you, however, you’ll need to get more… intimate. And by “intimate”, I mean you attack each monster girl’s clothing until it’s been broken or ripped off, leaving her in nothing more than her revealing underwear (because no one dresses modestly in this game). But that’s not all that you need to do! Akin to this game’s version of throwing a Pokéball, players who successfully strip down their opponent are then whisked away to the Bump and Scratch mini-game which, as the name implies, involves players finding their enemy’s “weak spots” via the touch screen. I won’t beat around the bush — it’s incredibly evident that Compile Heart went for style over substance when it came to creating Moero Chronicle Hyper‘s battle system. But, like it or not, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due — because this game has a lot of style. It’s a very perverted and weird style, sure, but it’s still style nonetheless.
Outside of traipsing through dungeons, battling baddies, and recruiting monster girls, players can also catch some R&R in town. While at the town inn, players can experience unique events with monster girls, and increase their affection by giving them items and extra Bump and Scratch sessions as they see fit. Additionally, players are also able to synthesize items by combining H Monsters (which are recruited automatically as players battle them), and panties that they literally find lying around dungeons to create new items — including valuable equipment! Item crafting aside, most of the stuff that players can do in the inn is little more than fluff, but it’s still nice to have extra options. And, hey, in a game like Moero Chronicle Hyper, it would be weird to not have some kind of dating mechanic going on.
Moero Chronicle Hyper isn’t perfect. The gameplay is kind of basic, the battles are simple, and its localization leaves something to be desired. But all of those things a bad game do not make. This game, flawed though it may be, is still a good time overall. It’s frisky, it’s fun, and it pushes the envelope so heavily that it gets away with doing things that I didn’t even realize were possible. It’s a decent DRPG for a more-than-decent price. If you’re in the market for a hardcore game that will really make you think about what you’re doing, this game might not be for you. But if you’ve got $20 burning a hole in your pocket and are looking for something to hold you over for a while (and don’t mind a healthy heaping of shock value), then you could do a lot worse than this game.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: Switch (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Idea Factory International ; Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory ; Players: 1 ; Released: April 26, 2019 ; ESRB: M for Mature ; MSRP: $19.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Moero Chronicle Hyper given to Hey Poor Player by the publisher.