Mugen Souls is an interesting case study of a game. It was initially created by Compile Heart and Idea Factory for the PS3 and published by NIS America. It was trying to bank on the love of the Disgaea series as well as a new twist on the gameplay. When East Asia Soft mentioned they were bringing this weird black horse of the PS3 era to the Nintendo Switch I was very curious.
Game Name: Mugen Souls
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed) PC, PS3
Publisher(s): East Asia Soft
Developer(s): Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Release Date: April 27th, 2023
A lot of strengths of Compile Heart mixed with the sentiment of NIS America make Mugen Souls still suffer some of the problems it had during the PS3 era of gaming. They decided to throw every mechanic into this game to make Mugen Souls have a Disgaea effect with a ton of grinding and customization of the gameplay itself.
Undisputed God of the Universe
You start Mugen Souls in the shoes of Chou-Chou as she sees seven bright lights in the universe and decides instantly that she wants to become the ruler of all she sees. Chou-Chou has a strange strength to be able to turn anything or anyone that finds her even the smallest bit attractive into her peon. She is joined by two interesting characters in the beginning, Altis the demon-turned-angel, and Ryuto the guy with a ship. Ryuto seems to be the one most knowledgeable about the worlds around them and discusses the best strategy of becoming the conqueror of a world that requires them to turn the two most powerful individuals into peons for Chou-Chou. These individuals are the heroes of the world and the Demon Lord.
To say that there are a lot of mechanics in Mugen Souls, would not be a good indicator of how many added gameplay mechanics there are to keep track of in this game. There are a literal five games worth of mechanics in this single game and man does it feel like a lot to keep track of. In all honesty, you could probably not even look at some of these mechanics to finish the game. There is Peon creation which allows you to create a custom character with a custom class you can unlock from a different game mode that requires Mugen Points. You get Mugen Points from killing mobs in the overworld areas, from Mugen Field, and from completing the story. Mugen Field works as a place to grind levels quickly for your units. You start from level 1 and finish 10 levels of random encounters generally ending on a big boss fight. You can then end the mode and grab your earned points and unlocks or do another 10 levels of random encounters.
The battle is in overworlds as you go to a variety of seven worlds to find the Hero and Demon Lord. Once you see an enemy you can attack them to gain an advantage during battle. If an enemy gets behind you and engages you in battle from behind, they get an advantage in battle. You can use a normal attack, a skill or if you are using Chou-Chou you can use Peon ball or Moe Kill. Moe Kill uses Chou-Chou’s current charm affinity and tries to impress the enemy surrounding her. If she is charming enough they will become your loyal peons, if you go too hard and they are not charmed, they will become stronger during battle. Chou-Chou has a charm affinity based on what form she is in during battle. Her default form is her ego form but she has access to seven other forms that all have an affinity to a charming personality. Every creature or enemy in the game also is part of an affinity. If you match their affinity, you can use normal tactics during charming them for a better advantage.
One of the best parts that aged in Mugen Souls is the artwork. Due to the graphics having a very stylistic approach, Mugen Souls still holds up well to the current era of graphics. Chibi 3D models and CG art scenes all give a good deal of enjoyment. Interestingly, cinematics shows a lot of fan service for characters like Altis by giving her some cleavage but her in-game model does not have cleavage.
One of the things that don’t hold up well is how inconsistent the frame rate is in the game. It slows down at random places in the overworld as well as in the home base. Battles generally have a good consistent fluidity when it comes to gameplay but exploring the overworld or home hubs seems to move at a snail’s pace. Nintendo Switch also has loading screens that stop the action quite a bit during menus or engaging story sections of the game from the overworld.
Mugen Souls is a black horse of the PS3 Era and honestly, I am glad it is getting picked up for the Nintendo Switch. The short bursts of playtime accommodate a handheld experience well. There are certainly issues with adding so many mechanics for characters, items, peons, and customization but since none are technically required to finish the game, it doesn’t bog down the game too badly.
Review Disclosure Statement: Mugen Souls was provided to us by East Asia Soft for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Mugen Souls is a fun game when you don’t look too much into the intricacies of the gameplay and characters. It has value giving more Disgaea type ridiculousness but not with Disgaea.
- English Dub is great
- A lot of customization adds to a unique game experience
- Art style holds up well
- So many added unnecessary mechanics can feel overwhelming
- The game loop can feel a bit bland at times
- Inconsistent frames