Developed By: Compile Heart Published By: Eastasiasoft Categories: JRPG Release Date: 09.14.23 Price: $40
As someone who loves both gaming and anime, I figured that Mugen Souls Z would be right up my alley and after playing for a few hours, I came to realize that the game was actually a pretty decent blend between the two. It’s full of fast-paced battles, wacky and silly writing and characters, and a ridiculous amount of content.
Mugen Souls Z is a sequel to 2012’s Mugen Souls and this switch version developed by Compile Hearts and published by Eastasiasoft includes all of the DLC and a lot of censored content that’s been restored.
The game continues from where the original left off with the goddess Chou-Chou looking for more worlds to conquer. In the second installment, Chou-Chou loses her powers and the game focuses on a new cast of characters joining the ranks of the originals. This includes another goddess named Syrma who serves as the main protagonist.
This is where the game makes its first mistake, one that may turn a lot of players away. The first few hours feel like a slog as the game tries to fit as many new and old characters as possible onto the screen. With each new character comes a plethora of backstory interactions between each other. As a result, the opening hours feel more like a visual novel with the occasional battle here and there.
It takes a while for the game to really pick up and at times the story can simply get too silly or confusing, meaning players might not stay interested for long. Personally, I really enjoyed the silliness and wackiness. During the first interaction between Syrma and Nao, I loved how the meeting played out, but not everyone will feel the same way.
After a few hours, the battles will become to feel more frequent and way more engaging. With access to all the DLC, you can effectively make yourself overpowered during the standard turn-based battles. You can basically breeze through them if you choose to, but if you do decide to battle, the gameplay loop is fast-paced and can be fun.
On the other hand, castle showdowns were a different experience altogether. In these battles you fight other ships using your G-Castle, a giant robot. These battles felt less engaging, relied on luck more often than not, and could not reap the benefits of the DLC. I felt as if these battles were nowhere near as fun as the standard turn-based ones.
With writing and combat out of the way, the next aspect to discuss is the sound design, which I believe may be the games best strength. I found myself really enjoying the soundtrack, from the banger opening to nearly every song that plays during the visual novel aspects, there re many tracks that are fun and upbeat. On the other end of the sound spectrum is the voice acting.
Nearly every character is voiced and I feel as if many of the actors did a great job with their roles, really bringing some of the characters to life or putting extra emphasis on the silliness. There are moments where there’s no voice acting and you’re just met with a wall of text but even in these moments, the music does a good job of keeping the energy afloat. You also have the added benefit of being able to pick between English and Japanese voices, which is a huge plus.
As for the visuals, there’s a lot to unpack because the game is a mixed back. The aspect of visuals that suffers the most are the 3D models. As a whole, I really liked the aesthetic of the G-Castle and the different worlds but if you take the time to look up close at each spot on the map, you’re going to notice a lot of textures that seem off. When you’re in battle, the combat animations suffer the same fate at times and feel clunky.
It’s nothing game breaking but could be distracting to those who are connoisseurs of detail and frame rate. On the other hand, the characters are amazing. Designs and profiles look great and their 3D models are pretty good as well.
There’s also a ton of content to hold you over for dozens of hours. There’s a massive list of customization options because of all the extra DLC content that you can toggle on and off and the 9,999 level cap means you’re free to grind for as long as you like without ever getting tired.
As for what you get with the uncensored version of the game, there’s a lot of content that leans into fanservice territory but the game doesn’t go overboard with it and it’s able to keep a level of charm throughout.
You can tell that the game has been around for nearly ten years and the game suffers from a silly and complicated story but there’s a lot to enjoy. Between the art and sound, the engaging and chaotic combat system, the fanservice, and the sheer amount of customization options, there’s a lot to love. If you’re a fan of JRPG’s, this could become a game that you’ll enjoy after you get through the few hours at the start where it’s slow. But if you’re a JRPG fan AND you embrace the type of humor and energy that the game represents, it will be a definite recommend. But with that said, it’s still a very niche game that will only appeal to a select few.
If you’re looking to buy the game, getting a physical copy is the best way to do so because of the price. You can pick up the standard edition from Playasia for $40, which is the same price as what a digital copy costs and it’s an amazing price for the amount of content you get. You can also pick up the Limited Edition which gets you the amazing soundtrack, art book, and other stuff for $60.
Great character designs
Easily 100 hours of content and customization for a great price
Fun turn-based battles
Near limitless level cap for non-stop grinding.
Fantastic soundtrack and voice acting.
If you aren’t a fan of the type of humor and craziness, the story and characters might not interest you or will appear too “dumb” or complicated for your taste.
It takes a few hours for the gameplay loop to fully reach its potential.
The visuals can be rough at times.
The Castle battles seem more luck-based at times.
Moments where the amount of dialogue is excessive.
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review