Cheritz, the Korean developer behind the otome games Dandelion: Wishes Brought to You and Nameless: The One Thing You Must Recall, has released its first romantic mobile adventure. In Mystic Messenger, players step into the shoes of a young woman who ends up involved with a mysterious organization called RFA. An unknown person led her to an apartment and gave her the password to get in, also giving her the ability to log into the R.F.A. messenger application. While this causes quite a stir among the other five members and its remaining founder, V, it also leads into an otome that does a wonderful job of mimicking social interactions.
After entering Rika’s apartment, your character assumes her position within the R.F.A. The remaining founder, V, approves, as do the other members, Jumin, 707, Jaehee, Zen, and Yoosung. It then falls to you to spend 11 days, in real-time if you don’t choose to spend real cash, conversing with the characters via chats, instant messages, phone calls, and emails. As the replacement, you must take on Rika’s former task of organizing fundraising parties for a charitable donation.
Here’s where Mystic Messenger really shines. Various chats, texts, and calls will come throughout the day. If you’re able to be around for the chat, you participate. If not, it goes on without you. You end up only seeing glimpses of what happened without you, unless you happen to pay to get a chance. You’ll gradually grow closer to these characters. People will begin to open up about themselves. They’ll use Line and Facebook Messenger-inspired stickers in conversations. They’ll send pictures of things they’re seeing or selfies. After a particularly productive chat, they might even text or call you, to build on a particular topic. Since this all happens in real-time when you don’t pay to make a 24-period of messages available, it feels like a genuine relationship is building over the eleven day period.
It also makes the party planning feel more realistic. You’re assigned this role of party planner and tasked with getting guests to attend. But the first day or so, nothing seems to be happening. How are you going to accomplish your goal? Then, slowly but surely, the people you’re talking to will open up about their days. They may mention an acquaintance or activity, allowing you to choose a dialogue option that seizes upon that moment. You know a famous photographer? Invite him! You’re working on a script from a romance writer who’s part of an organization? Let’s invite them! Emails start coming in, with you needing to pick the proper responses to guarantee an RSVP.
While there are some minor localization issues, Mystic Messenger is written in such a way that personalities absolutely come through. Each character has a distinct voice. Jumin and Jaehee are more formal. Yoosung is very relaxed, and prone to making multiple spelling errors if he’s chatting while gaming. You can tell who’s speaking at a glance, which is helpful when the chat is moving quickly. It also lets you see the differences between each one’s online and offline personas, as they behave slightly differently in the phone calls and texts than they do in the chats.
This formal even controls the game’s pacing. Mystic Messenger is the sort of otome you could easily power through in a day, since the messages are rather compelling. By doling conversations out sporadically, it keeps you captivated. It’s like a real relationship is forming and every conversation is appreciated. It also gives you a chance to easily enjoy the affair for free or pay, if you prefer to.
With Mystic Messenger, we’re getting a mobile otome game that’s taking advantage of the mobile platform. It’s mimicking the kinds of relationships we have with real people online, which makes the characters we’re interacting with feel more authentic. The various means of communication within the app are an accurate representation of the ones we use in real life and help tell an engaging story in an unexpected way.
Mystic Messenger is immediately available for Apple iOS and Android devices.