Niche JRPG importer NIS America is at it again, though they somehow managed to get a “Teen” rating on Compile Heart’s latest effort, "Mugen Souls Z." It is worth noting that the game did require substantial editing to achieve the score. That’s not to say that "Mugen Souls Z" should be purchased for children. In truth, it would make an odd gift in most situations. That being said, the original "Mugen Souls" game was almost as funny as it was disturbing. For this reviewer, the video game parodies made much of the loli-fetishism more palatable than it would have ever been on its own.
In "Mugen Souls Z," the “Undisputed God of the Universe,” Chou-Chou returns in an all new story revolving around the 12 worlds of the zodiac. The game kicks off immediately after the first game, but your hands on time with Chou Chou is over fairly quickly. Her insatiable appetite results in a catastrophe, forcing her and the player to guide a new goddess, Syrma. This vicarious living slightly alters the games mechanics, which in most cases is an improvement. Unfortunately, while "Mugen Souls Z" provides plenty of fan service humor, it never quite reaches the level of its predecessor.
As with many of NIS America’s imports, "Mugen Souls Z" features a vibrant anime styled narrative. The game utilizes a ranged turn based combat system, where each character can move within their area to attack or defend, allowing some level of tactics to be utilized. Like the original "Mugen Souls," the wrinkle to combat is the ability to captivate enemies with moé. For the uninitiated, moé basically means a characteristic preference or fetish. While this mechanic was fairly ambiguous and confusing in the first game, the latest iteration is a little more accessible.
In the mantra of more is always better, "Mugen Souls Z" again features space combat with Chou Chou’s G-Castle. This time around, the flying fortress takes the form of Voltron or Megazord giant space robot. That turn-based feature has also been expanded slightly allowing for overwhelming galactic special attacks. Of course the meat and potatoes of the game is the standard personal combat which now allows combined team abilities. RPG fans will also be happy to know that "Mugen Souls Z" offers plenty of opportunities for customization with customizable peons, job classes, and outfits. . The level caps in "Mugen Souls Z" are set at a ridiculously high 9,999.
"Mugen Souls Z" attempts to improve just about everything from the original game and for the most part it succeeds, including its technical performance. While all of the game mechanics do work better, to me, it’s just not as much fun. Picking apart the various video game tropes, in the original game, made the repetitive gameplay more bearable for this reviewer. To be fair, humor does still play a large part in the narrative and there are a few nods here and there. Honestly there is so much thrown into this game that if you’re so inclined, you can easily get your money’s worth out of this title. It’s just not the type of thing that will find mainstream appeal, and those in the know might raise an eyebrow when you mention "Mugen Souls."