Game developer Compile Heart has a reputation. They're well known for creating anime RPG titles such as the Hyperdimensional Neptunia and Record of Agarest Wars series. Moero Chronicle, one of the developer's Eastern-only PlayStation Vita games, recently saw release in the West as a computer game courtesy of publisher Idea Factory. It's a fairly simple and ridiculous game that doesn't take itself too seriously and is chock-full of anime monstergirl fanservice with some (literally) touchy-feely sequences. For gamers who are into such things, Moero Chronicle should hold a good amount of appeal. For everybody else, however, it's probably best left alone.
Moero Chronicle is a dungeon crawler type game that's set in a fantasy world in which locations are shared by both run-of-the-mill humans and monstergirls. Players take the role of Io, a rather unremarkable human who falls instantly into the "unsuspecting hero" trap as well as the traditional anime guy trope of being nervous around girls to the point of being convinced that they'll consider him a pervert. No, really. That is a thing.
Anyhow, the monstergirls in Io's world have begun acting strange -- especially against humans -- and Io sets off in an adventure for... reasons. Honestly, the storytelling is so bad that it's easy to stop caring or reading the game's lengthy dialogue sequences. Either way, off he goes with his childhood friend, Lilliana and faces some fairly questionable-looking foes right off the bat (ie: the fearsome Striped Pantie Mask). He even meets what might be one of the few actually interesting characters in the game not too far into his initial quest in the form of Otton, the perverted seal. You can't make this stuff up, folks. Well, you can. That is, somebody had to. But still.
As was mentioned earlier, Moero Chronicle does not take itself seriously one bit. As an attitude, that is just fine. Games that are a bit on the silly side are actually quite enjoyable. With Moero Chronicle being an RPG -- a genre that relies heavily on plot mechanics, storyline progression, and strong characters -- the degree to which it doesn't take itself seriously is just too much.
For better or for worse, the dungeon crawling mecahnics found in Moero Chronicle are extremely basic. Now, to the game's credit each level is based around its own theme with multiple floors to explore, but the end goal remains the same time in and time out -- for Io to make his way to the dungeon's end boss and cure her of her curse. Dungeon crawling is done via the genre-standard first-person view with random enemy encounters being the order of the day. Many of the enemies encountered are rather redundant with little separating similar enemies from one another save for that enemy's element (elements, by the way, are of the classic Rock-Papers-Scissors variety). Things can get repetitive fast, but lucking players can get through encounters pretty quickly by simply mashing the action button. Skill, to say the least, is optional for most of the Moero Chronicle experience.
Gameplay does vary a bit when it's time for a boss battle. In addition to a dungeon's end boss, there are also mini-bosses wandering around here and there. In these rather special encounters, players can target specific pieces of clothing that the mini-boss monstergirl is wearing in order to find her weakness. Once a piece of clothing receives enough damage, it's break to [[Insert sound effect here]] reveal the monstergirl's undies. If the player is able to take all of the monstergirl's clothing off, then the battle can be over in a jiff. It's just probably best if these characters are faced when you're home alone, because when that final piece of clothing is removed is probably when you roommate will walk in and glimpse a rather questionable view of your computer screen.
While the game begins as just the ineffective Io and his friend, Lilliana. Players are given opportunities to allow many of the game's major monstergirls to join Io's party. Thankfully, there's little mechanical redundancy here as each monstergirl has her own personality and abilities. Adding to Moero Chronicle's fanservice elements, there is a romance feature to allow Io and his harem to grow closer to one another. While at the Inn in the game's main village, players can have Io spend special time with his recruited monstergirls, having conversations and giving them gifts. Having high affection levels grants players special scenes.
Opinions about fanservice and scantily-clad monstergirls aside (both of which, admittedly, are for a very select audience), Moero Chronicle's gameplay and overall story are just, well, bad. Dungeons are uninspired and all to simplistic. There is too many elements in this game that just feel like too much of the same. There is very little challenge to be had. Even with the half-naked monstergirls and the pantie hunts (you read that correctly), the game is average at best even for its target audience.
Moero Chronicle will have its fans and the game will have a number of folks playing it ranging from the curious to the dedicated. For us, however, it's a title that's very difficult to recommend.
Final score: 5.0 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.