The Switch is once again proving itself to be a haven for games that probably wouldn’t have been localized a generation ago. This time, it’s Eastasiasoft picking up the Compile Heart game Moero Crystal H. In doing so, it’s helped create a complete collection. Until now, it’s the only Genkai Tokki title to not get an English release, as the Asian English Vita version never happened. Which makes it, well, the most advanced and accessible version of the character-tapping fanservice RPG worldwide.
Now, before I get into the actual review, a brief disclaimer: people going in should know that the Mature rating means mature. This is a game laden with innuendo and situations where the Monstia (monster girls) you’re tapping probably aren’t (initially) too happy with or consenting to the fact that you’re beating the clothes off of them in mini-boss and boss battles, then touching them. (They do consent after they join your party, as you might imagine.) You’ll see a lot and you’ll hear a lot, the rating is warranted, and it might make some people uncomfortable.
Zenox is an average guy from a small town. He heads to the city to find his missing father, who previously moved there to find a way to support the family. He hasn’t heard from him and goes to the temple to ask around. He walks in while a robbery is happening. The Bra of Darkness has been stolen! After very briefly being mistaken for the intruder, we learn that if the Bra of Darkness and Panties of Light are ever separated from each other, the world will end. There’s still time to reunite them. So, with the help of a temple guardian named Luanna, who is also a pegasus Monstia, and a perverted seal named Otton that’s the only one who can use the Panties of Light properly, Zenox heads out to purify and recruit monster girls, find the bra, and save the day.
Part of the series’ staple is that the hero is actually pretty weak and not capable of fighting, so the Monstia who join do all the work in turn-based battles against enemies and monster girls under the influence of the Bra of Darkness. Zenox is in a supporter role, able to use items or adjust positioning so someone could act sooner. The women who join your party fight your battle for you. You have a team of five at any time. While in a dungeon, you can determine if they’re in the front or back lines. At the town’s Inn, you can give them underwear sets you found while exploring and fighting to change their stats and movesets. A new element here is the ability to unlock a “separates” ability where you can mix and match undies after playing an easy shoot’em up and brief dungeon, to further determine a character’s role.
Yes, it’s an excuse for more fanservice. Because you’re changing the women out of their clothes and into sometimes underwear, but occasionally magic ink graffiti (I have no idea how Papain makes that work). At the same time, it’s also a pretty ingenious way of attempting to make characters you like more viable regardless of what point you’re at in the game. Typhon can be more of a healer with the right set, or you could go with a supporter or mage, for example. If you get a character you like, fighting more often in or returning to explore the dungeon where you found her could mean you might find these extra outfits from fights, spawn points, or newly unlocked areas and ensure she’s an essential party member.
Which gets to the heart of what makes Moero Crystal H satisfying. I’m not the target audience, but for some people it’s going to be building up a harem of characters they like. (Especially since the room sections let you build up affection, improve the room to ensure experience growth increases, and see their personalities as they talk to you and other monster girls.) What I took away from it is how it constantly offers positive reinforcement. You fought turn-based battles with enemies that have “stars” above them. You got better items and maybe a new outfit. You reached a new floor of a dungeon! Three more monster girls are there to fight and recruit. The new monster girl you recruited seems good, but doesn’t have the exact moves you need. You kept exploring and found the outfit that makes her useful.
It helps make up for the fact that, aside from elements like being able to touch (really more tap with the way the Switch reads things) two girls at once and the very easy (and innuendo-filled) shoot’em up to explore mini-dungeons, Moero Crystal H is pretty boring. There are a lot of enemy assets reused from Moero Chronicle H. Some of the Monstia designed, like Dark Elf and Ziz, seemed so familiar that I had to check back and see if they were the same. (She is.) The dungeons aren’t especially interesting to traverse and don’t have special gimmicks. While you can switch up character movesets, there are really only so many skills and spells. I never needed to spend money on equipment, because you’re constantly finding some in dungeons. Even the touching elements aren’t terribly challenging, as they’re usually… well, exactly what you expect them to be in a game like this.
At least it’s a boring sort of stable. This bears mentioning, in case someone had problems with Moero Chronicle H. I haven’t experienced the same sort of bugs with Moero Crystal H. Specifically, the previous Switch game had an issue with crashes. Since these RPGs rely on a system where you can only save at save points when crawling through a dungeon, it’s a big issue and you could lose a lot of progress. But, fortunately, one you don’t have to deal with here.
If someone likes the Genkai Tokki series, I think there is a very good chance they will like and want to own Moero Crystal H. It completes a set, even though it is self-contained. It follows a lot of the same patterns, but then that’s really the goal. For people not familiar with it, well, it’s basically an average dungeon-crawler with a first-person perspective and turn-based battles. It’s similar to games like Class of Heroes and Etrian Odyssey, though without custom characters and less of a challenge. It has its moments and is great at making you feel like you’re constantly accomplishing things, but isn’t close to being revolutionary.
Moero Crystal H is available for the Nintendo Switch.