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Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review

Get ready for a bloodbath

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: PS Vita
  • Publisher: Idea Factory International
  • Developer: Compile Heart
  • Release Date: Sept 19, 2017

Who it Caters to

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review
First person dungeon explorer fans, you may want to listen up as Mary Skelter: Nightmares should be on your radar. This first person DRPG has players exploring a nightmarish world filled with deadly creatures and horrible traps. Players will need to guide their party through different maze-like maps searching for a means of escape all while fighting back. Luckily, each of your party members has the means of defeating the various forms you across with multiple skills and job classes. Blood is your means of allowing your warrior girls to be able to fight back against the threat ahead of you. However, too much blood and you might have party members that go insane with power. Mary Skelter: Nightmares will be an experience for those who enjoy their DRPGs to be a bit different in design than others.

What to Expect

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As with most DRPGs, the idea is simple enough. Explore large areas using a mini map, while trying to find loot, surviving various random battles and trying to reach the end of the map. Though Mary Skelter: Nightmares changes the game up by incorporating various elements for a truly unique experience. Your party members—which is made up of mostly girls except for one guy—are known as Blood Maidens, and using the blood of their enemies both empowers them as well as creates a dangerous situation. Too much blood and your girls will enter Blood Skelter Mode which means they can go insane on their allies. Meanwhile, each of the dungeons has various threats such as the Nightmares which can decimate even the strongest of parties who are ill equipped to fight them. Mary Skelter: Nightmares will give you plenty of


Story

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review
Long ago, a city in Japan found itself disappearing overnight. Consumed by an evil presence, the city became an odd place where creatures and other various entities were being created that tormented the humans who still lived inside. Only a few of the humans have been able to fight back and they are known as Blood Maidens. These women can use their power to kill the various beasts and somehow find a means of escaping the city now known as Jail. Jack and Alice, two prisoners of the Jail will soon meet up with those that fight back but little do they know of their own powers. Can Jack and Alice survive this nightmare or will they become the Jail’s next victims? Find out in Mary Skelter: Nightmares.

Gameplay

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review
Mary Skelter: Nightmares could be easily described as just another first-person dungeon RPG, but we here at Honey’s Anime would be doing it a disservice if we did this. Compile Heart—the developers of Mary Skelter: Nightmares—are known for using interesting gameplay mechanics to give their titles a unique theme and Mary Skelter: Nightmares is indeed unique. However, what do we think of Mary Skelter: Nightmares? Find out in our review. Let’s get this started, shall we?

The first thing you’re going to notice when you begin playing Mary Skelter: Nightmares is that this game loves the idea of blood. Though that’s because blood plays an integral part in Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Everything from combat to exploration is somehow surrounded by blood and that is one of Mary Skelter: Nightmares greatest themes. Let us explain.

In combat, players take control of women known as Blood Maidens and Jack. The combat isn’t anything we haven’t seen before in a DRPG but there are some unique designs. One of them is the concept of blood splattering on your girls which in turn allows them to gain strength after enough of it coats them and even lick the blood off for healing properties. Yes, we said lick it off, but don’t worry, it’s just there in name and you’re not going to need to physically lick your PS Vita. Jack also plays an interesting role as he’s not a fighter but can be used to guard the girls from damage and infuse them with his blood to keep them from going insane—this does happen if they are covered with too much blood—which drives off the repetition of combat seen in most DRPGs for at least a little while. Let us also mention that each of the Blood Maidens—who also happen to be named after fairy tale girls—have different fighting styles, can change job classes and even gain new skills to use in combat meaning there’s a ton to do with classes and such. Outside of combat, their skills also allow them to explore the prison with different powers such as cutting open gates or smashing crates.

Speaking of exploration, this is also where Mary Skelter: Nightmares does things slightly different in comparison to other DRPGs. As the story mentions, the place you’re in called Jail is a sentient being meaning that it does affect exploration in some ways. The Jail will have various cycles of lust, sleep and hunger and each can affect the player by either killing enemies and/or finding specific spots on the map such as emotional areas or gathering spots. It’s kind of unnerving to hear the Jail literally moan and groan at times, but it creates a nice immersion in feeling as if you really are in a living space. By the way, we’re not done with what exploration has in store for you.

If you’ve ever played the Etrian Odyssey series, then you’re familiar with the enemies that sometimes appear on the map. However, in Etrian Odyssey or similar DRPGs, these creatures only move when you do. That however isn’t the case with Mary Skelter: Nightmares as the so called Nightmares—which differ from the Marchens or normal enemies of the game—actually will chase you until they can either engage you in combat—which will get you killed in the early dungeons—or you can escape. We won’t lie, it’s terrifying to see these creatures come out of nowhere and start chasing you down and until you defeat the dungeon’s core, they can keep reviving even if you find some way to kill one. This, in turn with the odd dungeon aspects already of Mary Skelter: Nightmares, makes dungeon exploring truly a breath of fresh air.

Graphically and audio wise, Mary Skelter: Nightmares is a real treat. Characters all have an anime theme but look and feel different thanks to some impressive voice acting for majority of the cast. The OST in Mary Skelter: Nightmares is also a real pleasure to listen to during combat and even outside of it. That’s a good thing, too, as you’re in for a long game that can easily take you 50-70 hours of gameplay if you want to see the game’s multiple endings. Now then, let us finally end our review with the few issues that do keep Mary Skelter: Nightmares from being perfect.

We love Compile Heart and their anime-like games. Though we also know that they do tend to have some rather…weird…gameplay mechanics at times. For example, the purging in Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Players can—thankfully optional, mind you—rub the Blood Maidens and remove blood from them which in turn shows some skin, though not a lot. This is meant to be a boost for dungeons and while it is optional, it’s still an odd idea and will most likely turn some gamers away just from that being in Mary Skelter: Nightmares at all. Besides that, Mary Skelter: Nightmares suffers from what most DRPGs have issues with and that’s overly repetitive combat after a while. Sure each party member can be used and utilized in different ways, but once you begin to hit past a certain time of gameplay, your only challenge will be bosses or the Nightmares. The same can be said of exploring a map several times to complete side quests and find everything but this won’t be an issue with everyone only some.


Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review
Honestly at first glance, Mary Skelter: Nightmares seems like your typical first person DRPG experience. However, quickly, you’ll realize this is far from the case as Mary Skelter: Nightmares may be one of the better DRPG titles we’ve played in some time. The various niche concepts that Compile Heart is known for may still not be for everyone—such as the rubbing theme—but if you favor that quirky mechanic then you’re in for a treat. Mary Skelter: Nightmares brings a lot of different mechanics to the DRPG landscape and while some aren’t anything more than the game using its blood theme to seem different, most allow players a feeling of a truly different DRPG experience which makes it worthwhile. Be prepared to put in more than 40-50 hours into Mary Skelter: Nightmares, but if you’re looking for a long DRPG gaming title, then you’re going to want to consider picking this up.

Honey's Pros:

  • Impressive visuals and character models
  • Enjoyable DRPG gameplay
  • Truly Unique ideas such as the blood concept
  • Interesting Story and themes
  • Multiple Endings
  • Impressive soundtrack
  • Solid voice acting

Honey's Cons:

  • “Rubbing Blood” off girls may not be for everyone
  • Map exploring can become tedious after a while
  • Battles can feel like a chore later in the game

Honey's Final Verdict:

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review
We really were pleasantly surprised with Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Developer Compile Heart make some very interesting JRPGs at times and not all of them are always the best, though most are still quite enjoyable. However, Mary Skelter: Nightmares might be one of the better DRPGs we’ve played in some time here at Honey’s Anime. While there are some aspects that may turn off some gamers—seriously let us mention, again, rubbing girls to get blood off them—if you can look past that, you’re in for a tough but enjoyable DRPG. What are your thoughts about Mary Skelter: Nightmares? Are you now dead set on buying it after our review or are you going to maybe wait a bit longer before diving into the world of Jail and its Blood Maidens? Let us know in the comments below and as always keep returning to us here at Honey’s Anime for more game reviews and articles.

Mary-Box-Art-Mary-Skelter-Nightmares-Capture-300x384 Mary Skelter: Nightmares - PlayStation Vita Review

Writer

Author: Aaron

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!

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