Game Info: (Box Display)
- System: PS Vita
- Publisher: Idea Factory International
- Developer: Compile Heart
- Release Date: Sept 19, 2017
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: DRPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: http://ideafintl.com/mary-skelter/home.php
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
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:
- 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
- “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