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About the product
- Walking Nightmares: The dungeon‐crawling RPG genre gets a twist when special enemies can chase you through the dungeons. Lay traps to make your escape, or try to face them down.
- Blood‐drenched Transformations: Characters can transform with stronger stats and extra skills, but if they fight too much they may enter Blood Skelter Mode, where they go completely berserk.
- Everyone's got a Job: Strategize your dungeon battles by assigning different classes to your characters, unlocking new skills, stats, and character portraits.
- Languages: Enjoy English in‐game text and Japanese and English in‐game voices.
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Escape from the living prison JAIL in Mary Skelter: Nightmares for the PlayStation Vita system. The Nightmare monster actively stalks the player as you run through the dungeon, so you must use the dungeon's gimmicks to impede its movements. This dungeon RPG features a turn based battle system that includes class change, a strategic blood‐licking transform system, and a blood‐rubbing system to power up your party. As you solve the dungeon's mysteries and satisfy the prison's desires, you just might make it out alive.
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- Pros: Most of the characters are named after fairy tale characters. For example: Alice, and Red Riding Hood. Which is an interesting motif. The theme fits the game really well. The dungeons are creepy and the enemies are too. Which makes sense given the circumstances of the story. It's meant to be dark; not a happy world to be in. Like the anime Attack on Titan.
- Neutral: The difficulty can be changed. Which is helpful for players that may be struggling or breezing through the game. The girls are cute and contains a moderate amount of fan-service. Such as a rubbing mini-game. But it can also be skipped for players that dislike fan-service. It's there if you want it.
When enemies are overkilled, blood gets splattered on walls. If memory serves, like Danganronpa, they use pink instead of red for blood. This helps tone down the gore, as people like me aren't into excessive blood and gore. This also helps when you are chased by Nightmares, since playing on Normal or above, will temporarily disable most actions and the map. Emphasizing that you must run. This game is also more interactive than some of the other DRPGs I've played. Such as needing a certain character's specific ability to advance to other areas. Or when you get chased by Nightmares themselves. I had a few instances where I was idle and had to afk, only to come back to a Nightmare that was attacking me. How rude.
Blood Devolution is similar to Disgaea's Reincarnation system, but not quite as complex. I haven't really played around with it, but the purpose is to reset your level by fixed increments (at the cost of Blood Crystals) for certain perks. This may also be useful for reallocating points to Skills.
- Cons: Some of the character dialogue is lackluster. E.g., "Yup, Yup." If you're unlucky, sometimes when a Nightmare is chasing you, you might end up getting "stuck." If you hit a dead-end, you can fight it, stun it by breaking its parts, and then walk through it. However, I've had a few occasions when a Nightmare blocked my path, and the only way to get across is to utilize springs/jumping platforms. But if it's blocking the only landing spot, it won't allow you to land there. So, save often using Alice's Rabbit Hole Blood Ability!
Blood Skelter and Massacre Mode can be annoying. Since it's a double-edged sword; if you get ambushed, you could end up wiping out your own party, since they go berserk in Blood Skelter. As for Massacre Mode, whenever it ends, there's about a few seconds of delay in which you cannot do anything. When you get to the point where you can one-shot mobs, the wait can really add up. And the Jail Bonuses can also be time vampires, especially when you trigger them after every other battle. It would be nice to be able to skip or fast-forward them.
Changing into a new Job requires Blood Crystals (which are dropped from enemies and other sources). You also need to have Job Rights whenever you want to switch. These aren't too difficult, as you receive them in increments. Such as level 10 rewards you one Job Right (I don't think they stack). You can also freely switch to a Starting Job at no additional cost. I typically switch to a Job to gain access to their Skills and then switch to something else, such as the Starter Job.
- Conclusion: Mary Skelter does a nice job in making their dungeons and enemies creepy, emphasizing the title and mood it creates. Be careful if you're not into jump-scares. The girls are cute, but can be annoying at times with some of their dialogue (e.g., "Yup, Yup"). Most of the cast are named after fairy tale characters. The Jobs are disappointing in which most of them are too situational to be practical. And some of the Skills they have are random. At times, a Starter Job might have some stronger Skills than an advanced Job.
While I utilized the fundamental team-comp (tank, damager, healer) in most of the other games, I mainly stick to damagers and some healers. Of course, that's all entirely up to the player and their play-style. Since sustain was a huge problem at the start (like Yukiko's Castle in P4), I tried relying on physical attacks and sparingly healed. Items are very helpful when you have sustain issues, as well.
Overall, I found the game enjoyable. I respect the fact that Idea Factory and Compile Heart made this, even though they don't have much experience in DRPGs. There are various annoyances, and some confusing decisions in the Job system, but the theme and character motifs are interesting. It has a mix of some of the various games I mentioned above.
Based off the other games I played, I would say this game is great as an entry-level DRPG. Though experienced players may have fun with it too. The English dub isn't bad, but you can switch it to Japanese dub if you want. Like many experienced players will do: Save often and make a few saves. I have at least two: one when I'm at base, and the other for while i'm dungeon-crawling. Thanks for reading.
Edit: A weakness is that once you figure out how they work, the job and skill systems lack the depth of those of DRPGs such as Dungeon Travelers 2 or the Etrian Odyssey games, with a portion of skills not being very useful and many others being fairly generic.
I HATED THE GRAVEYARD LEVEL's length. It felt like forever and all I wanted to do was save Thumbelina. Probably the only thing that annoyed me so far, but I do like the game. Very cute girls (Riding Hood's my favorite). I also recommend you try playing on Horror difficulty. It makes the Murder Hunts (Nightmare Encounters) more scary and the overall progression feel more satisfying.
Hopefully we can escape this weird place. More soon.
(I don't trust the scientist guy one bit. Seems to be hiding something)