Two years ago I was given the chance to review Moero Chronicles on Switch. A rerelease of a previously Japan-only Vita title, it gave me an interesting insight into the world of fan-service-led games and started me down the path which has led me here. Since then, I have played numerous similar titles in a quest to find one which balances cheeky, but good-natured 18+ humour with excellent gameplay without resorting to making the player feel dirty just by downloading it. Despite my initial misgivings on the original iteration, which led me to give it merely 6/10 overall, I’ve found myself coming back to it time and time again. Despite rampant fan-service and rubbing sections which consistently made me feel uncomfortable, the overall gameplay loop and cleverly designed base costumes for the characters had an almost addictive allure. Somehow, Compile Heart made me a fan of their work, despite my general distaste for outright fan-service. It was strange then, that the release of the sequel Moero Crystal H flew completely under my radar. Regardless of timing, however, let’s see if Crystal H can resolve the issues I had with the original.
Crystal H is a continuation of the Genkai Tokki series – a popular and varies series with an emphasis on cheeky fanservice – and a direct sequel to Moero Chronicles. Like its predecessor, it’s a 3D first-person dungeon crawler with a unique aesthetic, in which you travel around and battle enemies in a JRPG fashion, balancing elemental attacks and status effects, with a team of monster-girls. The plot is completely un-connected to Chronicles, although many characters return, just devoid of any context from the previous game. You play “lucky pervert” Zenox, who falls into a world-saving adventure. Unlike the previous game’s protagonist, he doesn’t actually seem to be much of an actual sexual deviant and seems to end up in awkward situations by accident most of the time. He’s much more likeable and has mostly noble intentions, and whilst this does clash a little with the central “desire” mechanic it does make playing as him much more palatable.
So far so normal, right? I hope you’re ready for a sequence of words I never expected to write.
After a chance encounter at a temple, Zenox runs off to find the “Bra of darkness,” which has been stolen by the dark counterpart to returning character Otton – the penis seal. He soon discovers that the bra must be reunited with the “Panties of light,” else the world will fall into ruin. Otton puts the panties of light on his head (obviously) and they set out alongside Luanna (the Pegasus-themed monster-girl) to reunited the yin-yang underwear set.
I’ll say this much; it’s a much more humorous set-up for a romp in which you’ll be fighting giant willy monsters and joining up with scantily clad maidens after a quick scrap and a rubdown. Granted, it’s yet another excuse for the resulting waifu collectathon, but I don’t mind the silliness this time around. Maybe I’ve become desensitised to the nonsense, but I feel that it really sets up the tongue-in-cheek feel of the rest of the game without taking itself too seriously. Chronicles seemed to want you to take the borderline sex-pest Io seriously, which was just tonally confusing. This time around you know what you’re in for and the game itself seems completely at ease with being a cheeky, naughty romp with phallic and yonic imagery aplenty. Yet again, between dungeons Zenox can interact with his expanding haram but every interaction feels light-hearted and good-natured, with more serious moments coming out of genuine character growth.
The driving factor once again is the collection of the aforementioned monster girls. Yet again, I was constantly and consistently impressed by the designers’ takes on mythological creatures and how varied each concept was. Each girl is inspired by a common monster trope, with most being fantastically shaped into a unique and interesting form which fits the source material and adds a new, interesting spin. There are many returning girls and a few new ones, and whilst I was disappointed that the returning cast simply reuses assets, I wasn’t disappointed with the quality of the art or the new additions to the roster. I especially liked the “DLC” girls – included freely in the package – which you could attempt to befriend at will. Each character has their own set of abilities for use within the turn-based battle system which revolves around the use of elemental “aura” attacks and the act of conducting your girls through the main character. Otton, the underwear-obsessed penis-shaped seal thing I referred to earlier, lets you know when an attack has hit your enemy’s elemental weakness and once he has been sufficiently “excited” he gets an attack in himself. Alternatively, a lack of “excitement” will lead him to attack out of anger instead. I enjoyed the combat much more this time around, with the elemental attacks remaining key to battle and a slightly widened variety of moves opening up your options. It was fun and engaging, and despite the slightly repetitive nature of the turn-based battles there was plenty to do throughout the run-time. Something I didn’t remember seeing in Chronicles was the erotic method system, which alludes to the karma sutra and rewards you for comboing certain types of moves. It was a nice addition which made things more interesting, even if there was a lot of trial and error involved in finding combinations.
Once again, I loved the variety of innuendo-laden enemies to fight, and whilst most seemed to be reused there were a few interesting additions. I still have a soft-spot for the Condogolem – a rubber-covered construct- but I also liked the strange fuzzy testicle creature often found as a boss.
Talking of bosses, your main opponent in this respect will usually be a monster-girl. Like in the previous game, your fights with these creatures usually revolve around forcibly destroying their clothing before partaking in a “rub” minigame to gain their favour. Previously, this required the rubbing, pinching, slapping or poking of certain bodily locations until they were “satisfied,” but thankfully this has been somewhat stripped back in favour of a much simpler system. You poke around until you find which 3 areas are most favourable to each young lady, and then poke them until they join your team. This is best done using touch, but there are also control stick options. Now, whilst the ladies always seemed perfectly happy with the results of a successful rubbing, I felt very uncomfortable with these in Chronicles. Whilst I still find them somewhat distasteful, the fact that they are much easier to complete and only require one motion makes them easier to stomach whilst also leaving them in for those who like them. The previous system is still present but seems completely optional back at the hotel and used to increase affection. It’s a best of both worlds approach and it didn’t take me out of the game as much as it did previously, so I applaud Compile Heart for finding this compromise.
Once more, outside of dungeons the group stays at a hotel. Each girl has their own room which can be upgraded, and you can engage with each girl in a similar way to a dating sim. In the original, I didn’t engage too much with this area as it felt too sleazy – the only real thing to do was “rub”- but numerous additions and changes have been made which have expanded it into a much more interesting element of the game.
First off, a new gameplay section has been added called Doki-Doki shooter. This is a short ship-shooter game in which you “disintegrate” each girl’s clothes to reveal crystals, which allows you into their inner reaches. The 3 “inner reaches” are short, single-floor dungeons with several collectables, which when completed unlock something to power that girl up. Each dungeon so far seems to be unique, and the three bonuses you can unlock make doing them worth it. Some unlock a unique skill; some unlock the final affection heart and some allow for mixing and matching of job skills and job stats. I thoroughly enjoyed these sections as they made for a nice interval between dungeon runs which had a long-term benefit.
Another addition is an inter-girl relationship system. In the previous game, you captured the various grunt monsters you encountered and could assign them to each girl as pets. This time around, you instead assign girls outside of the party as supporters, either giving a defensive or offensive buff. This improves the relationship between the girls and can lead to them becoming roommates or eligible for “double rubbing.” Don’t ask – I haven’t touched it – but I assume it’s basically a three-way? In a similar way, skill seals have been added, with each girl giving a unique equipment buff. These can range from taking less elemental damage all the way up to huge attack bonuses, and I found mixing and matching them fun to think about.
So far, I’ve been really positive about Moero Crystal H, but here’s the bad news; job panties are still a thing. As you adventure through dungeons, you can collect pairs of skimpy undies to give to your growing haram. These basically give a new set of skills and stats to each girl, which is a fun system to play around with. Using it I was able to turn otherwise underwhelming characters into powerhouses; especially once I could mix and match the skills and stats of each set. Unfortunately, the system has the same problem as the predecessor did with each and every job outfit looking like just that; underwear. Every monster girl’s basic outfit has been amazingly designed, taking inspiration from mythology and culture to a beautiful degree, but unfortunately as soon as you start using the job panties system those designs just disappear and you’re left with just girls in underwear. Many lose their uniqueness completely, and frankly I find it incredibly disappointing that there isn’t a simple toggle to allow their base outfit to remain cosmetically. The one relief this time around was that I started to enjoy specifically the fourth outfit for each girl, which is usually a “silly” take on the concept instead of just lingerie. Sorceress, for example, simply wears a disembodied toy panda to cover her dignity. The ninja-like sister-leaders of the third area both wear bizarre fruit salads – sticky or what? This levity elevates a system that otherwise just felt like another shoehorned in bit of fanservice, although I would have preferred to see a variety of other intricate, mythologically-inspired alternate outfits as well instead of simply swimsuits.
All in all, then, I’ve got mixed feelings about Moero Crystal H. Don’t get me wrong, I continue to thoroughly enjoy it and I’m certain I’ll be doing so for a long time; I can’t let Muse or Gargoyle down after all! But something about this game feels a little too iterative to be called a full sequel. There is a hell of a lot of asset reuse here and whilst the story is fully featured and the huge number of small changes have elevated the game considerably it’s pretty much just more of the same. However, if you’re someone that likes this kind of thing you’re going to have an absolute blast, and if you loved the first (and just want more) you’re going to love this.
Developer: Compile Heart
Publishers: Compile Heart, EastAsiaSoft,
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
You can purchase Moero Crystal H here for £34.99.
If you enjoy games and gaming and want more NEWS from the Gaming World Click Here