Mugen Souls – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, in collaboration with Cocone Corporation and published by Eastasiasoft, Mugen Souls is an anime-styled JRPG with a comedic edge. Join Chou-Chou on her quest to conquer the universe and its seven worlds, using her powers to turn the most powerful beings in the worlds into her servants. This title is available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, with a link to the digital and physical releases at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Mugen Souls that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Mature Content Disclaimer: Mugen Souls has been rated M, this is due to the inclusion of sexual themes, content, partial nudity and interactive intimacy scenes. If the inclusion of this type of content is something that you find offensive or you are under the recommended age in your region, please proceed at your own discretion.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review, starting with the story for Mugen Souls. I will be covering the core elements of the gameplay to prevent spoiling the surprises that this game offers, covering the base components of the experience.

Story – In deep space, Chou-Chou was floating with no memories of her past, but she knows that she wants everything in the universe to be hers, especially the 7 Worlds because they are pretty. To achieve this goal, Chou-Chou, proclaiming herself to be the Undisputed God of the Universe, sets out to conquer these worlds with the assistance of her followers Altis and Ryuto. However, not everything is as it appears, with many twists and turns that occur along the way.

Gameplay – Mugen Souls is an anime-styled dungeon crawling JRPG, with the player taking the role of the Undisputed God of the Universe Chou-Chou as she seeks to take over the 7 worlds. The story takes place over several chapters, with the various twists and turns playing out in cutscenes and VN style character interactions. The gameplay loop is centred around dungeon crawling, turn based battles and the completion of objectives to push the narrative forward.

The majority of objectives in each chapter are shown as event markers, which are displayed on screen and the map to guide the player to them. When the marker is activated, an event will occur which can be a story scene or battle for the player to encounter. As the story progresses further, there will be the potential for players to alter the course of the narrative for players, leading to a different ending depending on the choices made.

While exploring the dungeons, the player will encounter enemies that are roaming the map. When these enemies make contact with the player in the field, battle will be initiated, with the possibility of an advantage being given to either side. During battle, the combatants take turns that are determined by the turn order at the top of the screen, split into enemies and allies. When the players turn begins, they have access to a range of skills and actions.

In battles, the player may encounter hazards, enemies and crystals that provide different effects on the field. During each turn, the player has the ability to move freely within a specific range, then an action can be made. Here is a breakdown of the main actions that can be used during a battle;

  • MOE KILL – this is the special skill that Chou-Chou can use in battle. If an enemy or Crystal is within the range of attack for the Ultimate Goddess, the player can activate Moe Kill before they make their main action, attempting to turn those in her reach into loyal servants called Peons. However, depending on the choices that the player has made, this can make the enemies stronger by enraging them.
  • Change Form – Chou Chou has multiple forms that she can switch into, with each of them tied to a different personality trait that she can use. These include a tall red haired form wearing a bondage themed outfit, a tsundere form with a waitress dress and a purple haired gothic form to name a few. The ability to shift forms in battle is limited in battle, with the number of changes reset when leaving the field zone.
  • Link Attacks – when a units turn occurs, the player may be able to perform a special attack with the other members of the party. These special linked attacks may not deal the most damage, but they each have their own unique animations when they are used. When a party member isn’t able to perform a linked attack, a standard physical attack will occur.
  • Skills – party members have access to skills that they can use in battle, with different character classes having their own unique skills. These skills use up SP, with different characters excelling at those tied to their class. There are some special attacks that can be used in the skill menu when requirements are met.
  • Blast Off – when using skills, the player can activate the Blast Off ability which will launch the target/s across the screen and dealing damage to everything that they make contact with. If a crystal is hit by an enemy being launched, there is the chance for the Crystal to be broken and additional bonuses to be activated. Be aware, the blast off skill has its limits and can be depleted if the player is careless.
  • Item – the active character is able to use items to perform a variety of benefits. The items that can be used include healing items, restoring missing health and curing party members of their negative effects.
  • Switch – the active character can switch with a reserve party member, allowing players to mix and match their party as they want to change their strategy mid fight. This can be done once a turn so make the switch count.
  • Retreat/Defend – if players don’t want to battle the enemies they have encountered, they can attempt to escape the battle by selecting the retreat option. If this fails, the turn will be skipped and the next unit will move. There is also the option to put a party member in a defensive position, which will allow the player to skip a turn while minimizing damage taken.

When all enemies have been defeated, or have been turned into peons, the player party will be rewarded with EXP, Money and Mugen Points. The rewards that are given are affected by the damage done, the special skills that have been used and the overall performance of the player party. There is also the chance for bonus rewards for the player to gain in battles, which will be added to the player inventory.

Outside of battles in the field, the player will come across item points that will provide treasures for the player to collect. There are also special points that can be targeted to be turned into Peons on the map itself. When these points are encountered, the player must attempt to use Moe Kill upon them, with success leading to the point being captured. However, if the player is unsuccessful with Moe Kill, a battle will occur before they can try again.

When the different points in a world are successfully Moe Killed, a world meter will be filled up and a special effect will occur when it reaches 100%. But bear in mind, the master points of a field will appear over time being locked until there is a requirement reached. The different points will have a unique requirement to them, including the need for a specific Chou-Chou form or an amount of money needed to make them a Peon successfully.

When not in the different Worlds the player will spend time a significant amount of time on Chou-Chou’s airship the G-Castle, which functions as the home base for the player. While on the G-Castle, the player can access a variety of different resources, stores and features. There are also high intensity battles that occur during the story between the G-Castle and the airships of other worlds, with the challenge increasing with each fight.

The facilities at the home base are key to the success of the player, as they offer the ability to buy new equipment for their party, buy support items and even create new specialised Peon units. In the G-Castle, the player is able to use Mugen Points to make custom units to add to their party in the Peon Salon. This is where unique units can be fully customized, with character classes, cosmetic items and even the face themselves can be customized.

While in the base the player should take the time to give themselves the best possible gear that they can, ensuring that they are ready for each battle ahead. The gear that can be equipped will alter the stats of each member of the party, with bonuses for those who are proficient in the weapons that they have equipped. All of the character units can be altered cosmetically, with accessories and costumes that can be added for extra visual flair.

The last thing to discuss is the Mugen Portal, the entrance to a special dimension where the player can battle enemies in several different routes, where some story threads can become clear. While inside the Mugen Field, the battles will be randomly generated and provides a chance for players to grind a lot of points and resources. This special dimension is split into different sections, with special requirements and restrictions based on the stage they are in.

The Mugen Field is made up of 100 floors, with preset points where the player will be given the choice to continue or quit and escape with earned rewards. In order to continue from the rest points, the player must reach the requirements for at least one route, or they will need to exit the Mugen Field.  Also while at these points the player will be able to purchase special upgrades for the party, new classes and more using collected points.

To enter the Mugen Field, players must make a wager to gain access, with the amount of points paid in determining different factors of the battles that will be faced. This makes the almost endless dungeon environment one of the most useful tools for players who want to farm resources, experience and more. But be aware that defeat in the Mugen Field will come at a heavy price, with all rewards that are earned being lost if the party is wiped out.

There is so much more that I could discuss about the gameplay in this title. However, I feel that there are many things that players should uncover for themselves, including the titillating, lewd and saucy secrets that this special version holds. This is due to the restoration of content that was cut from the previous release, along with the inclusion of all additional DLC content, giving players the ultimate Mugen Souls experience in one complete package.

Now with that covered, it is time to discuss the other aspects of this release starting with the controls.

Controls – the control layout for this game has a comfortable feel to it, which is important for long play sessions as this title can demand a lot of time at once. All of the key features and functions are in positions that players can learn quickly, with on screen displays for functions that can be used as a guide during play. This title plays well in both handheld and docked play, using either Joy-Cons or pro controllers, with the only flaw being the lack of touch support for certain elements.

Difficulty – the difficulty curve for Mugen Souls is balanced well, making the game approachable for all players to get right into the action. However, the difficulty can escalate quickly depending on the decisions made by the player. This isn’t a significant stumbling block and can be remedied by grinding some earlier areas. But if players want to breeze through the majority of this adventure, the bonus DLC content will give a significant advantage from the jump.

Presentation – the visual style of Mugen Souls has that artistic charm that most titles from Idea Factory share, with character art and model designs that are pleasing to the eye. This is most noticable when it comes to the varied design aesthetics of each of Chou-Chou’s forms, with colors that match their distinct character traits. The environments are well designed with background art that compliments the settings and cutscenes that take place in them.

The sound for this title brings the whole experience together, with music from composer Tenpei Sato who uses his distinct style to knock the title up a notch. There are elements of the soundtrack that are reminiscent of his work in Disgaea, which work well to emphasise the off-beat nature of this release. There is English and Japanese dialogue available in this release, with the English VO featuring the talents of Johnny Yong Bosch (Trigun) and Kira Buckland (River City Girls).

Final Thoughts – sadly I missed the initial release of Mugen Souls back on the PlayStation 3, but I am happy that I was able to fix that by getting to play it on the Nintendo Switch. The setting, story and characters all have a unique charm to them that really enhance the whole experience, making for a fun and engaging experience. The overall presentation and gameplay reminded me of Disgaea to a point, with the wacky attack animations and soundtrack which I really enjoyed.

There is a lot of content in this package, with all missing and extra content making for a solid JRPG offering, with the only flaw being some very minor slowdown after loading items in. The sexualised interactive scenes may border on the edge of bad taste for some, but as they are optional they can be skipped entirely. I have no issue recommending this title to fans of Japanese RPG titles, especially those who have played other titles within the genre as it is a fun and charming experience overall.

In the end, I give Mugen Souls a final score of 4.5/5. This is a fun and engaging JRPG adventure, featuring a story and characters that kept me pulled in for the entire play time. There is a wealth of content for players to sink their teeth into, with the inclusion of all missing/extra content making this the definitive way to experience the game. If you want to check this title out for yourself, a link to the digital and physical release will be below.

Link to Digital version (HERE)

Link to Physical version via Play-Asia (HERE)

Link to physical collector’s edition via Play-Asia (HERE)

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