Moco Moco Friends (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Eric Ace 15.02.2016

Review for Moco Moco Friends on Nintendo 3DS

Moco Moco Friends is a monster collecting game developed by Racjin, which is most recently known for its work on Final Fantasy Explorers. In it, players go on a simplistic adventure consisting of a very easy to understand formula; from a central town, to a dungeon, to the story, and back to dungeon pattern, with no changes in it. The ranting, directionless narrative cannot be saved even when the most unique character in the game is a literal cat head on a stick. In a genre that has evolved substantially from the origins of Pokémon Red and Blue, can this title stand on its own?

The formula in Moco Moco Friends is simple and rarely deviates from the norm; although being one that has found success for over two decades gives it a really good starting point. That being said, not all is well with its features, and its deviations are largely to its determent. At its best, it's a simple romp in the vein of Pokémon; a decent throwback to older versions rather than the newer ones. At its absolute worst, it's bogged down in such an inane narrative as to nearly ruin the game. The bipolar nature of it splits even further as it diverges into what feels like three separate directions and characterisations jammed into one game packaged towards young girls.

Battle is pretty simple, and there is not much to complain about, nor much to praise. It's a simple three-on-three affair in basic turn-based action. Before each turn the player selects one of four attacks their animals (called Plushkins) know; and then combat is resolved based on speed until one side is dead or a new turn is needed. The choices are often limited in that there are 5 total elements. A fire>grass>water>fire type of triangle, and a light>dark>light weakness dichotomy to pick from. The models are a low quality 3D chibi-type style, and it's not a commendable choice. In particular, the main character looks utterly bad with a dead or confused face that must be stared at during battle.

The one interesting thing is that each move has its own action point cost, and the bigger moves take more actions. Thus, the best moves cannot be unloaded every round from every Plushkin. It's an interesting twist, but ultimately comes down to just merely attacking and giving the action points to the best magic spell. The battles often consist of: attack three times , wait for the simplistic animation to complete, attack three times again and wait until something big changes. Unfortunately, this is as engaging as it gets.

Screenshot for Moco Moco Friends on Nintendo 3DS

The problem is that gameplay often feels like it was directed or created by three different people that had three vastly different ways of how they wanted it to go. The root of the game is not bad, certainly not good, but passable. Sadly, problems start to come up when mechanics are made deliberately annoying. For example, the first two hours of the game are literally exposition, with about five to ten total minutes in a dungeon fighting monsters. Every single thing is explained in painful detail, including simple fetch quests. In some genres, long exposition can work. If the story here was at all captivating, it could have, but here is where it falls flat in its multi-direction style.

There are several main characters featured throughout. The main girl, Moco, is hyperactive and she succeeds despite her stupidity, simply because she wants to do the right thing. She's played off to an annoying degree and it's hard not to hate her for her constant "Wah?" type comments. There is the master/teacher girl who gives quests, who is a strangely vague sexual object in a game utterly void of this beyond her alone. Between suggestive poses and her obsession with being young and attractive, she doesn't really fit into the overall atmosphere. Many conversations contain meaningless back and forth dialogue that goes on far longer and more often than ever should grace a game.

The aforementioned cat head on a stick character is pretty entertaining, as he voices what many players likely will be feeling. Between giving voice to feelings such as "Moco is so stupid" or "Why are they still talking?" This is funny, but inadvertently exposes how bad the writing truly is when the only redeeming feature is when a character is making fun of it. While a unique and cool character, he ultimately feels out of place in the rest of the game. The same jokes are played over and over, and when the main girl is too busy considering if she can eat a rock, and the cat head staff is criticising her, it is hard to not just wish everyone was instead silent.

Screenshot for Moco Moco Friends on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Moco Moco Friends is neither bad, nor is it good. For fans utterly desperate for a monster game that isn't Pokémon, it could suffice. The young girl visuals are not as bad as they look, but the targeted age range also apparently means a lack of depth. The crushingly long narratives drive down much enjoyment out of the game, saved only by the witty, if out of place, remarks by cat head staff insulting all the other characters. It feels like it was rushed, and with a bit more direction and heart it actually could have been pretty good.

Developer

Racjin

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

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