Back in 2017 when the PS Vita was still a bit more relevant, a rather anime-like dungeon crawling RPG released. Titled Mary Skelter: Nightmares, players took control of two survivors of a surreal world called The Jail as they tried to escape. Now in 2019, we’ve got a sequel to Mary Skelter: Nightmares simply titled Mary Skelter 2! Is this sequel worth re-entering The Jail or should you pass it up? We find out in our full review below of Mary Skelter 2 for the Nintendo Switch!
What to Expect
Mary Skelter 2 acts as a sequel to the original PS Vita title Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Players assume the role of the Blood Maidens who must use their strange skills to fight against an evil threat that resides in their world of The Jail. You’ll need to navigate dungeons and fight against strange baddies in your search of way to survive this evil world and possibly escape it. Level up your female focused party and strive to endure their occasional loss of control in Blood Skelter mode! These girls might be named after famous fairy tale characters, but their personalities are tough and they will not falter without a fight!
A city in Japan long ago disappeared off the face of the planet due to a strange aura consuming it. Within this place, a prison was formed filled with creatures called Marchens. The Marchens began to rule over the humans within this prison and the citizens tried their best to conform to survive. While the name of this place is unknown now after so long many have begun calling it The Jail…a living hell that exists to consume all who are foreign within. Several survivors have attempted to best their fate in The Jail but when madness consumed them they were left to try again with new challenges to face. Welcome to the Blood Maidens, these girls will try their hardest to change the fate of humanity within The Jail and awaken from this endless nightmare…
In many ways, Mary Skelter 2 might be a sequel, but there is a clear focus on providing an enjoyable RPG that doesn’t need prior knowledge to enjoy. Assuming that you haven’t played the original from several years ago, we’ll walk you through the concept of Mary Skelter 2. The main premise to this dungeon crawling RPG is to fight against creatures known as Marchens and escape The Jail to see a brighter future. You’ll rely on the powers of the Blood Maidens, women who were born in The Jail and have gained incredible power using blood. Blood Maidens are powerful beings but as we learned in the first Mary Skelter, those who consume blood in The Jail can become lost to becoming a nightmarish creature as well. Be that as it may, your goal remains the same. Save humanity and escape The Jail or at the very least survive this horrible never ending nightmare.
Mary Skelter 2 doesn’t change much from the original game. Being a dungeon crawling RPG, you explore various environments in The Jail via a first person perspective. As you explore you map out the various areas and occasionally need to solve puzzles to make further progress in each dungeon. Mary Skelter 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dungeon exploration, but it works in a way that keeps exploration simple and not too overly complex in comparison to games like the Etrian Odyssey series.
Mary Skelter 2 gets a bit more complex in its battle system. If you’ve played the original—or games of this genre—it’s straightforward on appearance. Take turns dealing damage to the enemy and try your best to keep your party alive. Where Mary Skelter 2 changes the format is in the use of blood. As a Blood Maiden, you are empowered when you deal critical damage to enemies and their blood splatters on said characters. As you accumulate more and more blood, you begin to access various powerful abilities like Massacre Mode and Blood Skelter mode. These forms are a boon and a curse in equal measure and it will be up to you to truly be careful of when to rely on them and when to cure your team of their blood lust.
To better explain what we mean let’s break down both modes. Massacre mode boosts a party member’s stats to higher levels. You can use special attacks and change the tide of battle in your favor. Blood Skelter mode though is where the tides of battle can change and not always in your favor. If your Blood Maiden becomes crazed—by losing party members or obtaining too much damage—they will enter Blood Skelter and begin to wreak havoc! When a Blood Maiden enters this state, their power goes through the roof, but you will lose control of said character and they will also not always attack only the enemy. That’s right, folks; they will begin to attack party members making for a problem if your characters are on the verge of death as is. Like Mary Skelter one, there is a means to cure this mode in the form of a specific party member but we’d spoil the game for returning fans if we went too far into detail. Just be sure to utilize both modes to your advantage and you’ll find combat rewarding and sometimes a game of luck/skill.
Aside from exploration and combat, the usual themes of RPGs exist. Level up your warriors to give them higher stats and use Blood Packs—gained from dungeons—to unlock new skills and even get new powers for your warriors! One big change in Mary Skelter 2 is the addition of Jail Trials which allow players who want an added challenge—for better rewards—to alter the environments in a dungeon. You can choose various trials such as no mini-map and/or the inability to save. These are risky ventures but the rewards can make a team even more powerful with upped exp gains and drop rates!
Mary Skelter 2 also offers a reformed original Mary Skelter: Nightmares which is free of charge for those who bought Mary Skelter 2. If you do go the official site though they do warn you to play the new game before the original. Why you might ask? There’s a reason for it but we won’t divulge what we know. All we can—and will—tell you is that it makes a nice incentive for those who missed out on the original to get an updated version of it for the Nintendo Switch.
Visually, Mary Skelter 2 looks gorgeous in comparison to the first game on the PS Vita. Environments are truly things of beauty with a lot of colors and often semi-creepy settings. Monsters are more detailed than before and even characters have a more defined definition to them! Needless to say, Mary Skelter 2 is gorgeous and while it’s far from the best RPG we’ve seen, for a dungeon crawler…it looks pretty darn nice.
If we had any issues with Mary Skelter 2 it would be in two forms. The first issue is the lack of character presence during combat. One thing we love about dungeon crawlers like Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is occasionally you’d see character pop up on screen to hit the enemies and there was a bit of flair overall. Mary Skelter 2 does have characters appear when they activate various abilities, but other than that, you’re usually just looking at portraits of your character to attack next or the enemy. Our last issue is the dungeons themselves are overly simple to navigate. Most dungeons are filled with only minor annoyances/puzzles to solve and the only challenges come from the Jail Trials and bosses. These are minor issues, mind you, but they can be noticed by fans of the genre.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Mary Skelter 2 is a big improvement from the original that much we can say. While the dungeon crawling aspect is overly simple the battles are fun and the story is quite intriguing. Mary Skelter 2 has also undergone a nice upgrade in the visual department thanks to be being on the Nintendo Switch and it looks really good on the go or at home. Plus, you get the original game for free which means you’re getting two games for the price of one, not a bad deal in our minds. If you love anime themed dungeon RPGs then you’re going to most likely want to give Mary Skelter 2 a try. We recommend it and think you won’t be disappointed!
Combat and exploration have been definitely been improved from the original Mary Skelter title
We loved the anime-like character models and also enjoyed the incredible voice acting in both English and Japanese
You get the original Mary Skelter Nightmare as a bonus piece of DLC which makes for two games in one
Jail Trials can truly make some dungeons rewarding as well as tough
Solid story with some truly big twists for those who know the original game
Dungeons can sometimes feel overly simplified
Battles could have used just a tad more flair here and there during regular attacks
Honey's Final Verdict:
Overall, Mary Skelter 2 surprised us here at Honey’s Anime. While the original game was good, it lacked a lot of oomph and we had hoped for more from it. Thankfully, Mary Skelter 2 learns from its previous mistakes and truly improves in the right areas! That’s why we really think you should be eyeing Mary Skelter 2 when it releases later this month! Are you going to nab it for the Nintendo Switch or another platform? Let us know via the comments below! Be sure to keep stuck to our hive for even more game reviews and articles done by us here at Honey’s Anime!
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!