Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles Review Nintendo Switch
Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles Charms Players

Musical theatre holds a special place in my heart, as I used to participate in it growing up. Of course, as you might expect, video games are another of my major hobbies, so it is a rare treat to see them crossover with one another in the case of a game like Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles.

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I completely missed this series in the past, with this double package being my first foray into its unique style. Complete with two games from the PS1 remastered on platforms like Nintendo Switch, where I played it, it is one of the most charming JRPGs I’ve played.

Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles Review Nintendo Switch

Screenshot by Siliconera

In Rhapsody II, you play as Kururu, the daughter of Cornet from the original Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. While the game thrusted me into a sequel plot, Kururu is a goofy and adorable protagonist who does a good enough job of being the stand-in for the player, even if this is your first Marl Kingdom game.

Her spoiled princess attitude and desire to find true love is ridiculous, but in a rather entertaining way. The plot certainly gets a bit repetitive and annoying at times, but there is some fun to be had with the occasional songs that pops up. These musical numbers are hilarious, in part due to the limited sprite work, but they managed to bring a smile to my face with the strange dancing and typically catchy enough tunes.

Like the core storyline, much of the gameplay is quite simple and straightforward in this game. You have basic turn-based battles with some basic attacks, skills, and puppet companions you can collect throughout the kingdom. While there are plenty of options with the collectible puppets, allowing you to use a healing spell or hit all enemies at once, I felt like they weren’t necessary outside of a few key fights. This is by far one of the easiest set of JRPGs I’ve played, which is both a good and bad thing.

Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles Review Nintendo Switch

Screenshot by Siliconera

For some, they might enjoy the relaxing, turn-based combat that doesn’t require much thought. Others, though, might want something a bit more challenging, which is hard to come by in this collection. In fact, there were long stretches where I didn’t even think about combat. I would use auto every turn, and the party members took care of everything.

This simplicity even carries over into the exploration. Despite having such a large kingdom, most of the game explores restricted, room-like areas or follow the linear path to the next destination or fight. There isn’t much variety or freedom to explore, as this is mostly a linear adventure.

Even still, I find the colorful and whimsical locations you visit help to complement the cutesy sprites well. There are also options for the filter you want to place over the game, smoothing it out if you’d like or making it look like it did back on the PS1. The graphics aren’t the most impressive I’ve seen for a 2D JRPG game on the platform, but they are adorable enough to make me wonder how this series went under the radar for me.

Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles Review Nintendo Switch

Screenshot by Siliconera

Much of the same sentiments about Rhapsody II carry over to its sequel, Rhapsody III. Also included in this collection, it takes the characters and stories from the first two games and mashes them together in a wild ride to conclude the series in a grand way. In the process, it offers a grander style that I don’t dislike due to all of the various characters and storylines. However, it loses some of the focus in the process.

That said, what I appreciate about this particular entry are the enhanced graphics. The sprites look better, the exploration is a bit more interesting at times, and the environments are sharper, with more 3D elements incorporated into it. This provides a more visually-appealing game, but one that isn’t quite as charming and fun to play as the previous one.

The battles get a bit over-the-top, too, with all of the various party members and puppets you’ll control. While I don’t mind the “everyone is here” mentality, it is also quite the easy game, so it feels a bit unnecessary. And while I prefer the more focused character-driven songs in Rhapsody II, the soundtrack remains the best part of its sequel.

Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles Review Nintendo Switch

Screenshot by Siliconera

Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles allowed me to check out and rectify a glaring hole in my PS1 JRPG history. The story of Kururu, her mom Cornet, and the other colorful characters from this kingdom is a charming, but highly simple one. Though the gameplay and combat is a bit too simple at times, there’s no denying the catchy Japanese songs and cheery environments kept me playing in both games.

Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles releases for the Nintendo Switch, PS5, and PC on August 29, 2023.

7
Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles

Experience Rhapsody II & III for the first time in the West! Following the events of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, join young Kururu, the daughter of Cornet and Ferdinand, on her quest to find true love in Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess! Then, gear up for another dose of musical adventures as the songs and stories continue in Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom! Switch version reviewed.

Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles is a charming package of two remastered musical PS1 JRPGs.

Food for Thought
  • You get two underrated JRPGs for the price of one.
  • There is light English voiceover but the songs are still in Japanese.

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Author
Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.