A Remake No One Asked For
Roguelikes tend to suck players in really quickly with the promise of “no playthrough is the same.” Of course, not many games will stick through that promise when released or don't have any sense of variety outside a specific set of things that are randomized. Case in point: No Man's Sky has billions upon billions of planets, but the only difference between them at the basic level is which things you can harvest or which bits of animals are mushed together; the main gameplay remains untouched. However, there are games that take the randomness to try and change how to play: such as Rogue Legacy or FTL: Faster Than Light. The new title, Mystery Chronicles: One Way Heroics, from Spike Chunsoft, known for making the Danganropa series, takes plenty of notes from the successful roguelikes.
Right off the bat, the player is taken through a five to ten-minute tutorial, explaining the basics of gameplay and how to fear the left side of the screen perpetually. A white light that swallows everything is always just a few steps away and comes closer regardless of what you do; putting the player on a time limit to grab that item that spawned on the screen, fight or run away from the surrounding monsters, and even crossing the terrain. The pressure of living in a roguelike is amplified from that looming doom, very much akin to the way FTL: Faster Than Light's incoming rebel fleet chasing the player down through the galaxy.
However, the danger lies not only behind, but also ahead. As the player continues to march forward, traversing over mountains and swamps, sometimes even swimming through lakes, the Fallen Angel, Alma, lies in wait. A fight no newcomer can hope to win. However, once the sweet kiss of death embraces you, the player is given the chance to store a limited amount of items away and purchase new upgrades/classes. This allows long-term planning in Mystery Chronicles that has a very short but replayable game.
Now Mystery Chronicles is an updated rerelease of the original One Way Heroics made in 2014 by a developer named Smoking WOLF.
There's new mechanics like traps and new characters from other series, as well as cutscenes and voice acting. The traps mechanic is one that many players, including myself, found to take away from the game. Unless the player is willing to attack every square they are about to step on, there's no way of knowing if you're about to take damage or a random status effect.
The cutscenes and voice acting were quite well made. The art was well detailed and each voice felt right at home with the characters. However, once you play through the same cutscenes again, and again, and again, it starts to wear down the game as a whole. Yes, Memoria, I've heard that terrible joke at least 20 times now, you can stop saying it.
To make things worse, the opening animation was again well crafted but Mystery Chronicles is permanently locked at 30 frames per second, a huge downgrade from the original's smooth 60+ framerate. Despite all the fancy art and the cool looking sprites, Mystery Chronicles is functionally identical to the original.
Most of the things that changed are really good, but since the original One Way Heroics is still just as enjoyable as the new edition, there's virtually no reason to go for this remake. I appreciate the new art and sprites, but I want something solid to seal the deal on why I, or anyone for that matter, would choose the new $9.99 edition over the original's $3.49. I've said it multiple times throughout this review that I enjoy the new look, but I cannot in good conscience recommend this as a better game without anything to back it up. Things like better multiplayer functionality, a Steam Workshop where people can make their own campaign's and characters and items, would be a major reason why this game would triumph over the original.
As it currently stands, Mystery Chronicles is a weak remaster of the original, but it's possible that we may see more coming from Spike Chunsoft in this game. Many players who experienced problems like consistent and constant crashing were voicing their concerns and the game was patched in no time to address them. The end verdict is: if you want a smooth roguelike RPG, play the original.