Well, we’re back again with another Genkai Tokki game, and once again we’re taking a look at something full of dungeon crawler goodness. Learning from its predecessor and making improvements to the formula, Moero Crystal H is definitely a nice, and niche, little dungeon crawler, provided you don’t mind the boing.
In Moero Crystal H, you play the role of a young human man, Zenox, who has ventured to the city from his countryside home in order to search for his father. In this world he lives in, populated by both humans and monster girls, he comes upon the temple of the goddess, who has gifted the world with the “Bra of Darkness” and the “Panties of Light”, and should they ever be separated, the world shall face judgment. Lo and behold, as Zenox is visiting the temple, the Bra of Darkness is stolen, and so Zenox offers his aid in searching out the criminal. But, as it turns out, the criminal has been throwing the bra on unsuspecting monster girls, which brings out the darkness in their hearts making them aggressive. But it’s ok, because Zenox can help heal them by…rubbing them? Ok, fine, it doesn’t make a lot of sense really, but it’s better than the previous title at least, and it does get sort of explained at least. And no, I’m never repeating that description again.
Let’s ignore the blatant fan service and multitude of sex puns for the moment and take a look at what Moero Crystal has to offer us from a dungeon crawler perspective. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but it’s actually a really well built dungeon crawler. While you do have your standard fare of walking around an unmapped region, filling in spots on the map and getting into random battles, throwing switches etc., there are plenty of gimmick style floors that are built quite well and generally not overused, barring one particular outlier. There are some areas that you have to traverse floors using pits and stairs, some have zones where you can’t see the map, some have sliding floor puzzles, and Area 6 has a 75 point warp puzzle room that may as well be the bane of my existence. Basically I’m saying that apart from one specific room, I had a decent amount of fun traversing the areas. More specifically, I enjoyed searching out new monster girls to add to the party, because this game takes “defeat means friendship” to the limit. As you wander a map, you may notice some symbols on the screen. These can be collect points, a hidden shop, a job class change item, or a battle, to name a few. Some special symbols are pink and purple “soul” icons that move around the map when you move. These are fights against monster girls, and winning will add them to your roster of potential allies. Pink are the easier ones, and purple tend to slap you upside the head and laugh at your broken body.
So how is the combat, since you’ll be seeing a lot of it? Pretty good actually, and surprisingly well balanced for the most part. Fights are turn based, with higher AGI stats meaning faster turn order, and you do have a gauge with character icons indicating who goes next. When monster girls have an action turn, one of your five members have a few options: attack, skill, guard, charm. While most of these are self explanatory, skill and charm take special mention. Skill is of note for two reasons: it is your primary method of elemental damage, and you can perform skill chains. If you played Moero Chronicle, you may be familiar with the elemental chain system: attack a weak point, or article of clothing, with an element that is good against it, and you start building a chain. Higher chains means better bonus money and exp, and better item drop chances. For skill chains, if you use a skill that is compatible with another members skill, and that other member has the next turn, you can do a combo attack after the normal skill, or one of the “48 errotic methods”. These can be additional damage, healing, or buffs. While this takes care of the monster girls, Zenox also plays a roll in battle. He can charge desire, release desire, and insert. Basically, as long as the desire meter is 30% or higher, Zenox can grant a one-off buff with release desire to a single monster girl, or using insert he can alter the turn order. It’s a really nice improvement over the previous title for the battle system as a whole.
Well, all you men, and women, of “culture” can rejoice, for battle scratching, and just general “scratching” is back. Basically, a fight against a monster girl primarily consists of stripping parts of them by attacking individual parts, each with their own elemental properties, and filling your mascot character’s, Otton’s, desire gauge. When it gets full, you enter a mini game where you have a set amount of time to find at rapidly tap three “darkness points” (read erotic locations) and then rub the monster girl vigorously to make her pass out so that you can put the Panties of Light on her. Yup, not sketchy at all. Good news for those that suck at this game or are playing in the Switch dock (because I don’t see how you can win if you aren’t using the touch screen), if you lose the rubbing battle, you don’t have to fight the monster girl again, upon reencountering you go straight to the mini game. Thank you Valkyrie for helping me confirm this about 9 times. Pro tip, some of the key locations are rather small and specific, like the neck, or a very small area of the armpit (Valkyrie, I’m looking at you for that last one). This right here is the reason you won’t want to play in public.
There are a number of interesting new functions introduced in Moero Crystal, but returning players of Chronicle may notice some returning monster girls. Yes, there’s a lot of those. No, the character models aren’t any different. Yes, it feels a little cheap. No, it didn’t affect my enjoyment any less. Actually, I might even be pleased since you can get Satan early game. I’m pretty sure Chronicle players just twitched at that. Most of the gameplay type changes can be found through the town menu, and while the shop hasn’t changed any, or is different from any other RPG shop really, you also have new areas like the training arena, where you can go to fight against monster girls you’ve beaten before, or to challenge the DLC monsters. Another pro tip: Tiamat is tough. In addition, you’ve also got the “rest space”, which totally isn’t based off a Japanese love hotel. Nuh-uh-uh, not at all. What it does do, is allow you to drop some cash in order to boost stats on monster girls during your next dungeon run, or until the girl in question faints. Pretty handy actually.
Also introduced is the “Soul Temple”, where you can go to enhance your equipment, release a “seal” from a monster girl, or apply a seal on a piece of gear. Essentially, you earn souls by defeating enemies, and you can use these souls as fuel for upgrades, or to obtain a character specific “add-on” from a monster girl. These add-on effects can only be assigned to one piece of equipment, but are also transferrable, and don’t cost anything after the initial release, and also can’t “disappear” when the item they are attached to gets sold. The last point of interest is the Inn. This is where you assign your party, support characters for both offence and defence support, chat with the girls through events, assign different costumes/job changes, and perform a shooting type mini game. You can also “scratch” the girls to increase you favourability with them. Before I talk about the job changes, I’m actually going to mention the shooting mini game first. Essentially, you take a very phallic looking ship, at you drop white bombs or fire off a white stream laser that dissolves the clothes of the monster girl in order to find: a heart crystal, skill crystal, or separate crystal. After finding a crystal, you can complete a short one-off one floor mini dungeon in the “depths of the girl’s hearts” in order to receive the effect of the crystal. This means unlocking: and extra affinity level, a new skill that applies to all classes for the specific monster girl, or the ability to choose different bras and panties for the monster girl.
Now you’re probably wondering “what’s that last one good for”? Well, Bras and Panties divide learnable skills and stats. Basically, each monster girl has four “job classes” that can be changed by swapping clothing sets. This changes the girls’ stat distribution as well as learnable skills. By separating Bras and Panties, you can mix and match skills with different outfit stat levels. Unfortunately you can’t mix and match with the default outfit, but you still have a lot more customization than you did previously. The job change panties can be found in the dungeon associated with the monster girl: one in a chest, one from a special random encounter, and one from harvesting special harvest points that have a chance on floor entry to be panties instead of generic items.
Now, what would a fan service based dungeon crawler be without art? Well, the monster girls are all drawn rather pretty, the monster girls are cute, then half naked, then in your party. Environments are well designed, but don’t tend to have much variation inside the dungeon, and the enemy monsters that are TOTALLY not dirty jokes are fairly standard. There are a lot of recruitable party members though, so you’ve got a pretty big dart board to choose your fetish from. What really surprises me with this franchise so far is the music. The music is far better than it has any right to be for a fan service based game. That being said, I suppose MGQ also had a stellar soundtrack, and that was literally an eroge. The battle themes, stage themes, and boss themes are all super catchy, and the music crew really did a good job matching area ambience to musical style.
So, let’s be honest here: Moero Crystal H is one big self contained sex joke with a dungeon crawling delivery method. Does it do it well? Oh, surprisingly quite well. Is it rife with fan service? Definitely. Is it an oddly charming dungeon crawler? Also yes. Moero Crystal does a lot right on the dungeon crawler front, and while admitting to anyone that you actually play the game may be tough, you’ll probably be able to hook them on the gameplay soon enough.