Unlike many other roguelikes, which tend to focus on mechanical complexity and the emergent narrative of each play session, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics has a plot.
The original One Way Heroics and its Plus expansion had a narrative, too, but their more recent counterpart has expanded on it considerably to provide an enjoyable degree of context and motivation for the many journeys you’ll make over the course of your time with the game.
Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics — and indeed its illustrious predecessor — is unique in the Mystery Dungeon series in that it’s not confined to dungeons.
Indeed, the fact that the majority of the game is set above ground on a continuously scrolling world map of the kind you might see in a Dragon Quest game even makes it pretty distinctive in the roguelike genre and all its offshoots.
So how exactly does that affect the gameplay, if at all? Let’s take a closer look at the game’s mechanics to find out how it all works.
The concept of a “point of no return” is a common one in RPGs: it normally refers to the point immediately before the game’s finale where advancing the plot any further will put you on a collision course with the ending.
In unusual roguelike One Way Heroics, however, every step you take is its own point of no return, since with every step you take the Darkness (or, in its new incarnation Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, the Shine Raid) advances, obliterating the world behind you one column of tiles at a time.
Essentially the game is a cross between a typical roguelike and those anxiety-inducing levels from Super Mario World where the screen kept scrolling even if you didn’t move. Which makes it an altogether unique experience, and one well worth exploring.
Since we had five Wednesdays this month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a bit about what’s coming up here on MoeGamer.
In the immediate future, you can expect the full Cover Game treatment for the rather peculiar autoscrolling roguelike One Way Heroics next month, starting from next Wednesday. During the course of September, we’ll look at the original One Way Heroics, its substantial expansion One Way Heroics Plus and the brand new re-imagining of the game by Spike Chunsoft, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, which, conveniently, is due out for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC in mid-September.
Following that, in October you can expect an in-depth look at Inti Creates’ rail shooter Gal*Gun Double Peace for PlayStation 4 and Vita, including a detailed look at how it blends mechanics from rail shooters, dating sims and visual novels to create something altogether unique — and something that has far more depth than might be immediately apparent.
After that, with any luck I’ll have made it through Compile Heart’s latest (at the time of writing) opus Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, so that takes care of November. Advent Dark Force is, for the unfamiliar, not only a revamped version of the original PlayStation 3 version of Fairy Fencer F, but it also incorporates two brand new scenarios that diverge considerably from the original storyline. Featuring art by Tsunako of Neptunia fame plus contributions from Final Fantasy veterans Yoshitaka Amano (concept art) and Nobuo Uematsu (music), it’s not a spoiler to say it’s a game that fans of JRPGs won’t want to miss.
By then it will be December and the end of the year will be closing in. With Final Fantasy XV now coming out in November, I’m keen to write about that in some point in the near future, but without playing the game I don’t know if I’ll have done so to my satisfaction by the time December rolls around. Final Fantasy XV, of course, is not exactly a “niche” game, but it’s too big to ignore completely — particularly as the level of trust the general public has had in the series since XIII has been… a little lower than in its heyday, let’s say. In other words, it’ll pay to do some in-depth analysis on what promises to be a remarkable and possibly divisive experience. So I’ll pencil that in for December, though this may end up being replaced by something else I can write about at more short notice if it turns out to be a behemoth, no pun intended.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown their support for MoeGamer to date, with a particular emphasis on those who have been kind enough to demonstrate their support with financial contributions via Patreon — if you’d like to join them, please click here. The more I make each month, the less I have to worry about paying the mortgage and bills and whatnot; since I’m between “real jobs” at the moment, and have been for several months now, this is a very real concern, and it would be utterly wonderful to be able to go back to the halcyon days of being paid a living wage to do what I love.
I’m currently looking into other ways that readers might be able to show support on a non-recurring basis, and am leaning towards the idea of a MoeGamer Compendium — a book featuring all the in-depth articles from this year (plus a few extra bits and pieces exclusively for the book), edited for print format and tarted up with all manner of nice shiny coffee table book prettiness. If this proves to be popular, I’d like to make this an annual thing in the long term, building it up into a collection of books that any collector or fan of Japanese games would be proud to have on their shelves.
Another alternative that I’ve been kicking around is a MoeGamer magazine to act as a collectible companion to the site’s monthly content, gathering both the Cover Game articles from the site with some additional supplementary goodies about the game(s) in question.
If either of these options are of particular interest to you, please let me know and I’ll look further into getting things rolling on them.
In the meantime, another hearty “thank you” to those who have shown their support for MoeGamer since its inception — or in some cases, since my earlier JRPG and visual novel columns on Games Are Evil (RIP) and USgamer. I love playing and writing about these games, and knowing that my work is appreciated means the world to me. I hope I can continue to delight you with tales of underappreciated classics and highly creative works of flawed genius for many years to come — so long as there are new experiences out there to be had, I’d love to keep writing about them.
So you’ve got your basic game up and running, and now you want to add more to it? Great!
Aside from the other Event Commands available straight out of the box, most of which are relatively self-explanatory, the biggest addition to RPG Maker MV is the Plugins system.
Previous versions of RPG Maker from XP onwards have included various means of extending the basic engine’s functionality through scripting, but RPG Maker MV makes this enormously flexible aspect of the software more accessible and straightforward to use than ever before.
So let’s take a look at what plugins can do for us!
In RPG Maker, you add interactivity through Events. These are lists of commands that are attached to an object on a map, coupled with a trigger of some sort, be it the player walking up to an NPC and pressing the action button, or the number of flatulent wombles the player is carrying in their bag being greater than 13.
Events are essentially a simple form of programming, but don’t run away screaming — you don’t have to memorise lots of different commands, define functions or anything complicated like that. All you need is an ability to think things through in a logical manner and an awareness of the options you have available to you.
"I am the hope of the universe. I am the answer to all living things that cry out for peace. I am protector of the innocent. I am the light in the darkness. I am truth. Ally to good! Nightmare to you!" - Goku