Most JPRGs follow some very distinct tropes. The hero is often strong, and stoic but confused/flustered by the enthusiasm of others. The villain is sinister, and maniacal but has a tragic past. The heroine is mysterious, and playful but has an edge you do not want to find.
All these are true of Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten.
As a quick aside, I am once again begging video game developers to look up the definition of brevity.
The first thing that must be noted about Monochrome Mobius is that it lacks an English dub. Whilst not debilitating to the gameplay experience, I know that it can be off-putting for some players, so I thought I’d mention it up top just in case.
Also from now on I’m going to refer to the game as Mobius because I’m lazy and that’s too many letters to type every time I want to refer to the game as a whole.
You play as Oshtor, a young warrior thrust into a grander scheme when he meets Shunya, a young woman claiming they share a father despite his father having died when he was very young. She appears to have travelled from a distant world and is now stranded, can he help her return home, and stop the evil machinations at work there? Yeah, probably.
Gameplay is fairly simple if you’ve played a turn-based RPG before. Combat is a matter of selecting a skill, target, and carrying it out. The only wrinkle is the introduction of a priority wheel, by taking certain actions during battle you can move towards the centre of the ring, giving your attacks more power and allowing you to act more often. As you advance through the story you will gain more companions, increasing the scope of what this system can do but as combat systems go it’s fairly rudimentary.
Interacting with the overworld is fairly straightforward and unexciting too. The world is divided into small areas you can run around in, these are sometimes very small and feel somewhat restrictive. Especially so, given Oshtor runs around like he’s been shot out of a cannon, sometimes feeling very uncontrollable. There is a minimap showing you where to go at all times although venturing off the beaten path may uncover some side quests or loot that could come in handy later on.
The aesthetic of the world is pleasant enough if a bit simple, you’ve probably played games that look somewhat similar if you’re reading this review. I did, however, find the character models to be slightly off-putting during dialogue scenes as their mouths did not sync up with the dialogue at all, albeit they were speaking Japanese and I do not.
The score is gorgeous however, the true strength of the game is in the way its dramatic beats are accentuated perfectly through the music.
On the whole, whilst I enjoyed the story, which I shall not spoil here on the off chance anyone picks this up, I found the whole experience to be somewhat stale. Nothing here is truly innovative. And whilst I’m an advocate of games not having to innovate with every release to be great, in the JRPG space it just feels as though there are better things to be playing. Combat is too simple, the character models often look like mannequins, and the side quests are dull.
On the other hand, as I’ve stated the story is very enjoyable, I liked both of the main heroes, Oshtor and Shunya, and I found the music to be enchanting.
In summary, if you’re a fan of JRPGs and are looking for a small time-sink whilst waiting for some of this Autumn’s more blockbuster releases then Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten will certainly pass the time, but there’s a chance that there’s something out there in the same space doing something more interesting.