Mugen Souls (PS3)

She may look like a cute little pink-haired girl, but Chou-Chou is actually a goddess deity whose sole desire is to take over the seven worlds in her universe and make everything and everyone her peon. Help her conquer her lofty goal in Mugen Souls, an anime-inspired Japanese role playing game for PS3.

On the outset, the game looks like your typical Japanese RPG. Walk around 3-D locales, talk to people and gather clues and items, and then venture forth into fields and dungeon mazes battling monsters in turn-based fashion for experience points and other goodies.

But it’s really the battles that die-hard RPG fans will probably find most interesting, as there are a lot of rules and twists to remember as you fight. When you are playing as Chou-Chou, not only can you attack enemies, but you can also press the Square button to make them your peons. To do this, you’ll need to pick three phrases to affect the enemy. Choose the right ones and the enemies will turn into your peons, which look like little rabbit things. Depending on your choices, you may also turn enemies into items or even make them mad, so be careful. Chou-Chou can also switch to different forms to increase her chances of changing enemies into peons.

Peons have many uses. You can have them attack enemies in battle, use them to power-up your allies and flying castle (useful for the large airship battles during climatic points in the story). And the more peons you have, the more powerful you’ll be. By meeting certain requirements, eventually you’ll even be able to make whole continents your peons, making travel much faster and easier! You can also create characters using peons and challenge the Mugen Field for extra goodies.

While other party members can’t turn things into peons, they can still attack enemies and use skills. Speaking of skills, another major part of battles is the Blast Off mode. When you turn this on while using certain skills, you’ll be able to send enemies flying. This can help get them out of your way, bounce into other enemies for extra damage (think billiards), and if a crystal is on the battlefield, they can break it and cause Frenzy Mode to occur. Try to make enemies fly into floating balls during this mode for extra bonuses.

I loved the colorful graphics and peppy music in this game; I wish more titles would be like this. It was like peering into a bowl of radioactive Fruity Pebbles. But the main problem that I had with Mugen Souls is all the rules and things to remember in battle just bogged the game down. Sometimes less is more. They do explain each aspect in the game, but it all happens so quickly in the beginning that it’s hard to keep up with it all. Plus I found the humor a bit juvenile and immature, but I’m probably not the target audience for this game. If you love mature anime and enjoyed Hyperdimension Neptunia (both games were made by the same folks), you may want to check out Mugen Souls anyway.

Kid Factor:

Mugen Souls is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity, and Sexual Themes. While you do battle lots of monsters, the violence is mostly silly, with zany attacks using spinning tops and oversized tanks, for instance. I didn’t see any blood, though. Characters do curse from time to time, and the crude humor is what you’d expect in cartoons like Family Guy or mature themed anime shows. Some characters outfits are a bit skimpy, but everything is still presented in that campy anime style. But the best reason why this game is better for teens and older gamers is the complexity of the gameplay.

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