Friday, June 10, 2011

Mystic Quest: MQ ~時空の覇者~

Kanno Yukihiro is largely famous for his C's Ware games like DESIRE and EVE, and for his later title, elf's highly regarded YU-NO. For the latter title especially, he has been regarded by many as one of the greatest eroge scenario writers ever, if not the greatest. Beyond those, he's also eked out a number of respected titles for Abel Software, like the Mystereet games. Going back to Abel Software, in 2009 they had been dormant for several years (minus a couple of spinoff games/rereleases), with Kanno's latest title, Mystic Quest, in the pipeline since 2005 (for reference, 4 years of development is an incredibly long time for eroge.) Mystic Quest was released, and it would surprise fans and non-fans alike as never before. And how.

Tsukikage Shou is tormented every night by visages of a woman- a nun in dark clothes with two guns. She is the woman who killed his mother, who, in her dying breath, gave him an amulet and instructed him to gather 'fil.'

Shou knows that, one day, this woman will come for him. To this end he practices every day with a knife.

One day, he spots a woman, dressed in strange clothes, as he visited his old house and the site of his mother's death. Following her, he is drawn into a mystical journey of space and time.

Okay, Mystic Quest is a bad game. The extent to which it is a bad game is almost hard to grasp- there are so many dimensions that it fails to satisfy on. It feels like a doujin game and might have been excused as a doujin game, but it is not. It's a full-priced (9,240 yen after sales tax) eroge released in 2009, and that is the only thing it can be judged as.

The game is completely unvoiced and is about 4-5 hours long, depending on reading speed. The story isn't particularly strong in the first place, but after the first 3-4 hours seriously deteriorates. The quality of the art, while possessing a certain charm to it, is certainly not up to scratch for a 2009 release. Despite the extensive amount of development time, there is ample evidence that the game was rushed, leading to an ending that bewilders as much as it disappoints.

Mystic Quest has two distinct parts, the first part taking up approximately 3/4 of the game's length (and with 3/8 of the H scenes) and largely consists of the sort of dimension-trotting fun vaguely reminiscent of YU-NO, following the protagonist assuming his role as Avatar to gather 'fil' in order to stop the universe from collapsing. This is easily the best part of the game.

The second part, which only covers about 1/4 of the game's length is where the protagonist decides to give up searching for 'fil', unable to take the strain this duty places on his soul any further, and the story begins to collapse. The game crams H scenes and fights into the story with at times very little justification and at the end everything falls apart as the story rushes to a conclusion that 'inadequate' doesn't even begin to describe. To watch something implode this quickly is pretty bewildering.

The worst part is that there's some truly great ideas in this eroge, but they either don't get used at all or don't get used very well. Mystic Quest was plainly manifested concepts the author had developed over a sizable period of time- possibly ideas that didn't get used in his other eroges- but the rushed, broken design of this game prevents them from really shining.

The story doesn't make sense and the character actions don't make sense; and it's unfortunate that, even after the extended development time this eroge took to make, the end result is something that simply can't be excused as a mere rushed game. There were fundamental problems in its development and they remain a mystery.

The game contains 8 H scenes, some of which are reasonably placed, of a reasonable length and appropriate to the story, and the rest of which are most definitely not. They use a large quantity of the CGs allocated to the game, to the point where (given the somewhat low CG count overall) roughly half the CGs are probably HCG. It is difficult to tell if they were really worth it, especially given that most of the H scenes are short and take up an extremely small portion of the entire game's length.

The action scenes, which the game contains a number of, are another interesting point. For the most part they are almost certainly not well written well and fail to embody the sort of hot-blooded excitement you normally expect from this sort of thing, especially when playing titles like Ayakashibito that thrive on their action scenes. They, too, use up a disproportionate number of CGs, although arguably to better effect than the H scenes.

There are two 'choices' in this game, although it is hard to tell if they affect anything. Both of them require typing something in on a hiragana input panel. With the first one, the game tells you what to type in and won't let you continue until you get it right. With the second one, the response given by the character the protagonist is talking to differs slightly depending on whether you typed the right thing in or not, but this does not seem to affect the rest of the game. It is difficult to see what value these were supposed to add to the story, or if the creators had something else in mind for this particular input system but failed to realise it.

It is hard to imagine exactly what sort of game the creators were trying to make at the beginning- the finished product feels so incomplete, yet the foundations don't exist for a much greater story. It was certainly not a lack of time that destroyed this project, but it may have been a lack of budget- you don't accumulate a lot of money releasing nothing for several years.

I went into Mystic Quest, not with the anticipation of someone looking forward to Kanno Yukihiro's next game (which would have most certainly disappointed me), but with a great deal of trepidation and curiosity, since I knew it was incredibly poorly regarded. It surprised me, at first by how it wasn't all that bad - and then again in the second part where it showed me how bad it really was. I managed to be disappointed by a title I was determined not to be disappointed by.

Overall Score: 24%


  1. You should try Marumeru ~Soushinsha wa @ Mirai~

  2. I'll probably review Koitou Ranma next, actually, since I've played that one. IMO it's even worse than MQ.

  3. At least the concept and art is good ;_;

  4. Woops read that wrong >_>

    Concept for Koitou is bad.

  5. Certainly is. Had some hilarious art reuse, too (mq koitou) I mean, really, come on

  6. Actually in hindsight I guess the reason they did it is because they assumed nobody that played MQ would ever play another Abel Software game.

  7. What are your impressions on the newest game they're making?

    Looks like tsukihime kinda..? Also she is missing her right shoulder....

    If you take request I'd like to see reviews for Abels "good games" when the writer gave a shit.

    1.不確定世界の探偵紳士 Origin!
    2.ミステリート 特別ぱっく
    3.ミステリート ~不可逆世界の探偵紳士~
    4.十次元立方体 サイファー~蒼き月の水底~

    As for interesting low rated titles

    1.デュアルM-空の記憶- (Looks at those great character designs ;_;)
    2.すく~るふぁいぶ (Another interesting concept)

    They have really good idea but they just waste them >_>...

  8. I plan on playing Dual M when it is released for DL sales and not a moment before.

    I'm avoiding the good Abel Software games until I've played the lion's share of the bad ones.

    This newest game will probably be another bad one, despite the interesting concept, the ties to 不確定世界の探偵紳士 etc. I am also suspicious of the fact that no seiyuu are listed for any of the characters. I mean, I don't seriously think even Abel Software would have the audacity to release an unvoiced game in 2011, but I am not going to relax my suspicions until they are proven false.

  9. If they can get away with selling short games for full price they can.

    Hell Meru didn't even have an Op and ed song.

    Sellout or just lazy?

  10. Just remembered Meru doesn't even have moving poses ;_; Just 1 position and 0 facial expressions for each character