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Review – Mary Skelter: Nightmares

Welcome to the end of the World.  One of the largest cities in Japan has completely be destroyed only to be replaced by a monstrosity. It is simply known as… Jail. It is a home, or rather a prison to all humans now. Some dream to escape jail and get back to the surface. Jack (the player) is now part of a faction dedicated to this cause. Will this dream become a reality or will Jack be stuck in the nightmares that bound him to Jail? Let’s take a look in our review of Mary Skelter: Nightmares.

Mary Skelter: Nightmares
Platforms: PlayStation®Vita, Playstation®TV
Genre: Dungeon RPG
Voiceover option: Japanese / English
Language format: English subtitles
Release dates: September 19 (NA) / 22 (EU)
Developers: IDEA FACTORY / COMPILE HEART
Publisher: Idea Factory International

*Thank you to Idea Factory International for the Playstation Vita review key.*

Into/Story:

From the game’s main webpage:

The Jail suddenly appeared a number of years ago,
sinking the city deep into the ground.
There, the Jail had power over eerie creatures called “Marchens.”

Within the prison was a boy named Jack – living a life of suffering,
tortured day in and day out, in a world where all dreams, hopes, peace,
and humanity had been lost for as long as the people could remember.

Then one day, amidst the darkness that prevailed,
a girl who called herself a member of the Blood Team came and rescued Jack from the prison.
This marked the beginning of fate – of Jack’s and the Blood Maidens’ escape from the Jail…

Jack and the Blood Team will face countless perils in regaining all that has been lost,
to finally escape once and for all!

The story in Mary Skelter a dark story compared to other IFI game stories. That is not to say it is a bad thing. The story of the game is a good one that is filled with a mixture of emotions with the overall arching theme of being determined to live and escape from hell. As the story progresses from start to end, there are some twists that may occur. However, the game does a good job keeping it within the realms of what the told throughout the narrative.

One thing that some gamers may not like is that while the story is darker than other IFI games, Mary Skelter goes through some of the same motions as other IFI games. Going into detail here may spoil the title, but to keep it brief, several of the story elements and delivery means are the exact same. I personally have no problem with this as I find it an effective means of storytelling. However, I can see how this will be an issue to others.

Intro/Story score: 4/5 – All and all, the story is dark, well-done, enjoyable, and delivered efficiently. Mary Skelter did well in terms of the story department despite some issues.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in this game has a few different components. It is a 1st person dungeon crawler at heart. You go floor to floor in a dungeon (or main location), exploring, finding treasures, mapping out the floor, getting into random battles, and advancing story. Next component is the battle system, which follows a typical turn-based RPG with some few interesting and unique add-ons. Finally, you have the interaction of the player character and the others around him.

In the dungeon crawler component, it seems to flood the basic dungeon crawler elements from other games. However, there are some new add-ons here. Since you are exploring “JAIL” you have to deal with what “JAIL” throws at you. That includes basically exploring an alive dungeon. The dungeon has different meters in which indicate changes that may occur. You have “hunger” libido” and “sleep”. Learning how these changes will affect you and how to use them to your advantage is key to maximizing your time.

The battle consists of a normal turn-based battle system from an RPG. However, it has new elements added to it to make it very unique. You have Jack, who has his blood gun and can only use that on his allies. Jack is allied with the Blood Maidens, who are named after fictional fantasy characters (Alice, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, etc.) and their unique abilities. Other elements are introduced to add to the fun such as Blood Skelter and Genocide modes which come into play. Each battle element is essential to learn to master battle.

You also have the nightmare enemies to watch out for which is another component that will play and intertwine the battle and dungeon crawling elements. The game elaborates on this, however, it makes those moments very intense as they happen. Blood also plays a huge part of the strategy as well in using your blood gun and the Maidens. When the players go through the game it’s up to them to learn what strategy to use on this.

The social interaction component is similar to other IFI games. You build your relationship with characters in your party and you can get multiple endings these ways. You do get some unique dialogue and you will eventually fall into this route as the characters in the game are easy to get attached to.

Some complaints are that if you are not a dungeon crawler type person this game may not be for you. In one of my previous reviews, I stated I wasn’t a huge fan of dungeon crawlers so I can completely understand that viewpoint. However, I advise giving the dungeon crawlers from IFI, mainly Mary Skelter, a try. I could never get into them gameplay wise, but IFI does that genre justice and makes it enjoyable.

Another complaint could be the actual difficulty of the game. I did get overpowered very early in the game trying to 100% each floor of each dungeon. When I got into a battle that is considered difficult and/or against a very powerful main story enemy, I just breezed through it. I never truly felt a single moment of difficulty in the game. Again this could be to how I played the game, but it felt too simple in terms of combat. It left me bored to a certain point where I just wandered and lost attention to the game for some time.

Gameplay Score: 3.5/5 – Mark Skelter has some unique gameplay elements that make it stand out from other dungeon crawler games. However, depending on how you play the game, there is no real true difficulty to the game.

Visual and Audio:

Visual:

Visually, the game looks about on par with a Playstation Vita IFI game. It may be the best looking one to date as visuals have somewhat improved in terms of characters, artwork, settings, enemies, and other visual elements. However, it is slight changes. I am not entirely sure how much more the developers can improve the visuals of a visual novel dungeon crawling game. It is not a bad thing as the visuals are pretty wonderful to me. Others may want to see an improvement, but its all good to me.

Visual score: 5/5 – This is usually where IFI shines, their visuals are top notch and match the aesthetics of game’s atmosphere and the console/handheld it belongs on. Mary Skelter shows that.

Audio:

Audio-wise, the game sounds good. From the Japanese and English voice work (there are toggle options for this) to the atmospheric sound, and everything between Mary Skelter delivers. This is also another area that IFI excels at. No complaints here.

Metalic Bow Fight [Extended]

Soldier of the Wind

Audio Score: 5/5 – Mary Skelter is proof in the audio department that IFI takes the audio work seriously.

Replay Value:

Is there replay value to Mary Skelter? Yes, there is. How much is it? Mainly the typical stuff to expect from an IFI game. That is to say multiple endings, NG+, unlockables, and much more. IFI does right with replay value and once again it delivers in Mary Skelter.

Replay Value Score: 5/5 – There is a wealth of content and unlockables to get to in Mary Skelter. You will find yourself facing your nightmares and loving Jail in no time to get to this.

Fun Factor:

This one is a mixed bag. As stated,  I had an issue with the gameplay where things got too easy to quickly and as a result, I never had a true difficulty curve. If I had a different experience, may have made the game much more fun. However, speaking only from my experience, this game was fun enough to finish. I enjoyed the social aspect of relationships,  and dungeon crawling was fun especially with the new elements that get introduced. The battle got boring quick just because of how I got overpowered quickly. I can say though with full confidence if the player does not get overpowered early on in the game, they should be just fine and enjoy the game for it.

Fun Factor Score: 4/5 – Mary Skelter is one of those games that is fun, just as long as the player does not go beyond the power of the actual enemies in the game by a great deal. If the player is only slightly overpowered in battle, they should be just fine and find the game more fun than it should be in terms of battle. Outside of battle, the game is very fun. In battle, it is fun to the degree of the strategy used.

Score Wrap-up/Conclusion:

Mary Skelter: Nightmares is a unique take on a classic formula. It is a 1st person dungeon crawler RPG at heart. However, with a very dark and interesting story, unique gameplay twists on the genre, and delivery Mary Skelter remains a pretty solid entry in the genre. I overall enjoyed my time with the title. It took a genre I am not fond of in the slightest and made it enjoyable. There is a good amount of content within the game that is enjoyable for any type of RPG gamer, and the fact this game is on the Playstation Vita is the icing on the cake. IFI always supports the vita and my hats off to them. They take risks on the handheld, and it delivers every single time. This is no exception to that rule.

Until next time, Mgs2master2 out!

Score Wrap-Up:

Intro/Story score: 4/5 – All and all, the story is dark, well-done, enjoyable, and delivered efficiently. Mary Skelter did well in terms of the story department despite some issues.

Gameplay Score: 3.5/5 – Mark Skelter has some unique gameplay elements that make it stand out from other dungeon crawler games. However, depending on how you play the game, there is no real true difficulty to the game.

Visual score: 5/5 – This is usually where IFI shines, their visuals are top notch and match the aesthetics of game’s atmosphere and the console/handheld it belongs on. Mary Skelter shows that.

Audio Score: 5/5 – Mary Skelter is proof in the audio department that IFI takes the audio work seriously.

Replay Value Score: 5/5 – There is a wealth of content and unlockables to get to in Mary Skelter. You will find yourself facing your nightmares and loving Jail in no time to get to this.

Fun Factor Score: 4/5 – Mary Skelter is one of those games that is fun, just as long as the player does not go beyond the power of the actual enemies in the game by a great deal. If the player is only slightly overpowered in battle, they should be just fine and find the game more fun than it should be in terms of battle. Outside of battle, the game is very fun. In battle, it is fun to the degree of the strategy used.

Final Score: 4.5/5

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2

A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

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