Rogue-likes are an often confusing design dilemma. On one hand, everything you have access to at the beginning, you have access to throughout the experience. This design decision is in place because the gameplay revolves around permanent death and repetition to progress and in the case of Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, that plays into the entire story tenfold.
As you start the game, you find some pleasing artwork on some static character frames telling you a story about a fallen angel bringing the “Shine Raid” to your world and thus begins the story of left to right. Your hero is pushed (almost literally) right out the door into an open, randomly generated world that is full of monsters and items in turn based classic rogue fashion but with a catch: Because of that aforementioned Shine Raid, your hero MUST continue to move right… Or else he and all he loves will be swallowed by a gigantic laser beam looking thing that wiggles to the left of the screen throughout your experience.
Now that the groundwork has been laid, know this… You will hear the tale of the Shine Raid over and over. And over. And over. They love to remind you of your purpose, as if your character dying and starting anew is like the player’s memory being wiped clean. It’s funny the first couple times, but it grows old pretty quickly. Luckily you can hammer the X button to bypass it and get to your run-right adventures!
So the major dilemma more so than game design resides more in the player: does this sort of experience appeal to you? That’s the question you must ask. Are you cool with potentially losing everything you’ve done for the past 20 minutes only to start anew with little in the way of carried progression? Well hopefully you are, my friend. Welcome to the genre that is a rogue-like through and through.
There are some cool additional features I’ve found that make the progression far more interesting, however. After you inevitably die, you will be given a score that translates into a currency used for various permanent upgrades / unlocks for your next hero. It really eases the pain on death because you get to choose what you want to carry over to the next character using a special item safe. This storage unit of sorts can be upgraded one slot at a time. This is massive because there were times I found a really cool sword just to die a minute later… Thankfully, I could carry that sword with me to the next play through.
Some die-hard rogue-like fans may hate this because the continuation of progress is sort of a no-no in the traditional form. Personally, I really like it. Sure I still have the challenge of starting anew, but I get to take a little of my hard work with me. It doesn’t make the game indefinitely easier, either. It honestly is one of the few reasons I came back to the game.
The turn based combat is fast and cleverly designed for those who have a hard time with grid based gameplay. Holding R1 allows you to move diagonally, with handily highlighted squares! Want to face an enemy without fear of accidentally stepping and taking a turn? No problem! Tap the square button and the player will face the nearest enemy. It’s a super simple but effective system to take an already challenging genre and lessen the burden. Nice touch.
I really enjoy this game even if the story itself is a bit… meh. I think it’s light-hearted and fun. Simple but complex. Want it to be a traditional experience with no loot saved? Don’t save it. You can do that. Want to ease your burden a bit and continue with some of your better items? You are free to do so. But (and there’s always a but) here’s the rub… I played this on PS4. This game exists solely on its jump in and jump out play. A little here, a little there, it’s not meant to be played nonstop like traditional story driven set piece heavy action games. THAT BEING SAID. I’m glad it’s also on Vita :). For those of you out there still clutching the wonderfully under realized little portable…. this game would be perfect for mobile play.
As a fan of rogue-likes, this is a great game to scratch that itch. If you aren’t a fan, however, I’m afraid Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics won’t change your mind. Take it or leave it, it does what it’s supposed to do and does it well enough. Just… Stop telling me the story over and over. It’s not J. K. Rowling or George Martin or anything, it’s not that great. Just give me the loot!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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