Why would I write about a mobile game that dropped in 2016? Because for as simple as the premise is, it’s still popular and engaging today. I’ve been playing personally for most of its release, and it’s still interesting. Made by Cheritz, a South Korean company, they’re well known for making otome games, which are typically geared towards feminine identifying players, and heavily feature romance.
Previous to Mystic Messenger, they released Dandelion - Wishes brought to you- in 2012 and which still retains an 82% rating on Steam DB, and Nameless ~The one thing you must recall~ in 2013, and which features and 87% rating. Both were game changers in the genre, featuring cat boys (and bunny boys) and ball jointed dolls brought to life respectively.
Mystic Messenger changed the script entirely, initially offering a selection of love interests, and one route that is only friendship. The cast is memorable and each character is from a different type. At launch, there was Zen, a multi talented yet self-absorbed musical actor, Jumin Han, a wealthy businessman who initially comes off as cold and unemotional, Jaehee Kang, his overworked assistant who is possibly Zen’s biggest fan, Yoosung, a young college student who likes to slack off and play online games, and the mysterious hacker 707. Each character has several endings, ranging from the meh end where you failed to get enough points and they lose interest, to a good ending, a perfect ending and a bad ending, which, like Dandelion and Nameless, can also result in some terrible things.
Later on, they added in two more routes, Ray, who I won’t discuss due to plot spoilers, and V (obviously not his real name) who is considered to be the leader throughout most routes, also a photographer who is slowly going blind.
Now, with such a rich cast of characters, let’s get to what makes the game the most unique. It runs in real time over twelve real days, with chat rooms opening up from time to time where you can jump in and participate, each option having several answers, and also several calls a day from certain characters. After the first few days, depending on who your answers resonate most with determines whose path you’re on, and the phone calls and chats will primarily relate to that character and other characters involved in that storyline.
There are premium features, while you can earn the premium currency just fine by playing, you can buy extra, and use it to activate chats or phone calls you missed, and also unlock dlc typically released for holidays.
One thing I think it struggles with is that the game pretty much decides (even if in the beginning you pick the “but I’m not a girl?” Option) that you are in fact female, and addresses you as such every step of the way. Also, that the Jaehee route is friendship locked, rather than romantic, while a strong friendship is great and I do love the route personally, plenty of people were bothered that there was no romance there.
Additionally, you can unlock special dialogues from the voice actors themselves and it’s a really interesting behind the scenes look at the game.
Unlike Nameless and Dandelion which were released for steam, Mystic Messenger is an app, so the ratings go a little differently.
Google play overall gives it a 4.7/5, and I’m inclined to agree. I would recommend this to adults at least, on account there are obviously some adult themes, despite nothing obvious, aside from kissing. There are also some themes that some players may wish to avoid, in particular, possessiveness, some isolation, and in the bad endings of some, death, etc.
Mystic Messenger is available on Google play and the App Store for iPhone users.
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