A new JRPG from Aquaplus, Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten works as a prequel to the Utawarerumono Mask series of visual novels.
I had the chance to play the first few chapters of this story shortly before launch and wanted to share some early impressions as it becomes available. A full review has been posted after the initial launch of this article. It can be found here.
A Cheating Father?
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten opens by showing Shunya and her father Pashpakur trying to operate a teleportation device in a rush. They’re being chased by a man named Mayacowl, who calls Pashpakur a traitor. Staying behind to stop them, Pashpakur sends the young Shunya through the gate, letting only a few enemies slip through behind her.
This sets up her meeting with Oshtor. She was told to find him in his rural home village. This comes as quite a shock to Oshtor. Pashpakur is his father – Not only was he thought to have passed away, but having another daughter would come as quite a shock to his wife.
Shunya thought Oshtor would know how to get her back to go and save their father. Unfortunately, he has no idea about any of this. With some misgivings, they set off on a journey together to find their way to the land where Shunya last saw their father. They soon find a mystery, with secret technology, what seems to be the involvement of the highest power in the country, and things only told of in legend.
It’s an interesting hook and I’m invested in finding out what’s happening here. While there are certainly serious moments, it’s been kept light for the most part so far. There are plenty of funny character interactions and Shunya is a somewhat offbeat character, nicely contrasting Oshtor’s more sensible personality. We also get to see Oshtor’s younger sister and her friend Kiwru clinging to him cutely.
With Munechika and Mikazuchi entering later, this feels like it’s telling a story leading up to how Oshtor left his small country, entered the Mikado’s service, and received his mask. While seemingly standalone, with many Utawarerumono-specific terms and little introduction, it does feel strongly aimed at franchise fans.
Read and Explore
Unlike Utawarerumono, Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten is a JRPG. There are some visual novel scenes and some scenes with text over scenes with 3D models, but most of the time is spent running around the world.
Starting in Oshtor’s home village, there are quite a lot of mountains and fields nearby to explore, with more varied scenery further afield. Towns work as hubs, with a chance to heal, pick up side-quests, and more.
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten feels somewhat ‘old-school’ in a way. You’re given a map, but it’s only revealed as you go through it. Quests will point you in a general direction, but if it points left, you might still need to explore up, down, up, and then left to find the place. Items in the field aren’t indicated either. There’s a lot of exploration.
Even more ‘old-school’ is how side quests work. These are given by NPCs, often with vague instructions. An early example is to go and find some medicine. Oshtor needs to talk to NPCs to find out which medicine is best, but then no clues are given on where to find it. It’s actually a rather uncommon item found off the beaten track outside of the village and would be easy to miss. Another example is being asked to fetch some fruit, given directions in the dialogue that isn’t recorded, and a tiny segment of a map. I quite like this approach so far, but I imagine it won’t be for everyone. It’s also possible to explore too far afield, find difficult enemies, and be killed easily, which is a mixed blessing.
Luckily exploring is fairly convenient. Enemies are shown in the overworld and minimap, so they’re easy to avoid or to launch surprise attacks on. There are some small annoyances here though, such as being able to jump but being blocked by the smallest ledges.
Sword and Spells
Battles are a fairly standard JRPG affair. Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten implements turn-based battles, with the standard selection of standard attacks or magical attacks/skills that use up MP.
While more come later, so far the main way it stands out is by use of an action ring to decide on turn order. Character and enemy icons circle this ring, but the interesting mechanic is there are three of them.
The smaller inner rings are faster and it’s possible to move characters to these by hitting stunned enemies or using up an ‘Overzeal’ special move. It’s possible to move enemies through these too and to knock them back to the start of the ring to delay their turn.
Other than that, it has the standards such as elemental weaknesses, status effects, skills that attack single or multiple enemies, and so on. It works well, but I’ll wait to find out if anything is added later that makes it more unique, aside from the action ring.
Related to battle, the bonus point system returns from Utawarerumono too. It’s possible to distribute some of the points after leveling up, to decide the way your characters are built to an extent.
Sights and Sounds
While my overall impression of most aspects of Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten has been positive so far, the 3D visuals aren’t exactly amazing, despite some nice artwork for the sprites and decent character models (along with terrible NPC ones).
The textures aren’t great, even when choosing ‘High’ in the graphics options. This isn’t a huge issue, but it could be prettier. More annoying is that I encountered noticeable screen tearing when in full screen. Pop-in is relatively common when exploring larger areas too.
The music has fit the setting nicely so far and the voice acting has all been fitting. More detailed thoughts on this will come in the full review, but so far there appears to be quite a lot of voice acting and I’d be surprised if the game isn’t fairly lengthy, which should help to justify the price.
Keeping in mind that these are just first impressions, aside from the graphical issues, I feel quite positive about Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten. I think it will be more for Utawarerumono fans and those that don’t mind some of the older style of the game, but most existing fans will enjoy discovering the past of Oshtor and the other generals and experiencing this new adventure.
A full review will follow at a later point, so please remember to turn notifications on or follow us on Social Media if you’d like to be alerted when it goes live.
Many thanks go to Shiravune for a PC review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.