Mistover Switch Review – Dungeon Crawling from PUBG Devs

Dungeon crawling with a difference

Developed by Korean devs Krafton, who also made PUBG comes a new IP; a Western gothic/Japanese inspired permadeath dungeon RPG. Sounds interesting right? Well that’s because it is.

Mistover is based in the Kingdom of Arta, where the Pillar of despair, a giant vortex spewing esper filled mist has ravaged most of the world. A prophecy has stated that people must venture into the vortex and explore it’s mysteries in order to save the world from a cataclysmic end. Thus the Expedition Corps was founded to complete this task and found that the vortex is a passageway to different dimensions. This is where you come in, you’re a ‘missing one’, someone who’s wandered into the mist and lost their memory given the overwhelming mission of recruiting cannon fodder to go conquer the vortex and save the world.

That’s a scary shadow his eyes make.

The story plays second fiddle to the dungeon crawling gameplay so let’s talk about that. You have HP and MP and battle on an old school 6×3 grid but after that Mistover is pretty unique. To start with you’ll spend your time playing Mistover exploring various procedurally generated dungeons, okay that’s normal, but every time you venture into the vortex the Doomsday clock counts down. This means the whole time you’ve got to think smart about completing quests efficiently with as few journeys as possible. Yours and your enemies movements in the dungeon are turn based and as you move you consume Fullness (everyone’s gotta eat) and Luminosity (used as your light source in the mist). There’s traps, salvageable items and light flowers everywhere in the dungeons and with respawning enemies that give less rewards second time round, it can be tricky deciding how best to make your way through this vile mist. You don’t get any experience to level up or the equipment you loot until you finish an expedition so if you walk into a difficult dungeon you’re pretty much screwed. 

You don’t want time to run out.

In battles there’s a lot to get your head round, at first glance it’s your standard turn-based affair although knowing each of your corps inside out is the only way you’re going to get the most out of them as even within the 8 classes different characters may have different moves and abilities. Characters can be positioned at the back, middle or front in one of three columns with attacks only working from certain rows and buffs and debuffs activating depending upon position. If enemies initiate the battle your formation can break and that can lead to some crazy hard battles. Choosing your team of 5 from the 8 classes is going to take some experimentation as every class has completely unique strengths and weaknesses plus they learn co-op attacks that need a certain class adjacent to them.

Your formation and bringing supplies are super important.

“It’s better to be a living donkey than the hide of a dead dragon.”

Sometimes in Mistover the cookie just doesn’t crumble in your favour and you just have to run away. This is even more important because of the adored/dreaded permadeath, once a corp dies they’re gone forever. Or are they? Mistover has a really cool feature where a character enters limbo and can make an SOS call for a random ally to heal them (better make sure you bring plenty of healing items, though not too many as anything you don’t use becomes tainted). If they take damage before being healed then they really are brown bread, they also keep the ‘in limbo’ stat for the rest of that voyage so I can only assume that if they die again, they’re also brown bread. Limbo is a game changing feature that allows a challenging permadeath game to be far more accessible without massive grinding or playing on easy.

This is why you bring potions.

If you love your dungeon crawling then in general you’re in for a treat but Mistover also suffers from a few strange design choices, which will hopefully be patched to improve the game. The first and biggest of which is that you don’t get much money when on expeditions. The problem here is that you need to buy food and light seeds to take with you every time, otherwise you won’t be able to explore the dungeon 100% and the Doomsday clock will tick, let this happen too much and boom you can’t complete the game. The real problem here is that means you have to penny pinch the whole game, upgrading skills costs money and you just can’t afford to keep upgrading them, new skills have to be taught by a corp who knows it, meaning you have to pay to hire a new corp just to teach yours a skill. You also have to pay to change jinxs that are randomly assigned when you level up and some are just awful. This takes a lot of the fun out of the game as it makes it more repetitive than it needs to be and this 40 hour adventure over only 5 distinct areas with only 8 character classes is already repetitive enough anyway. Also you need to make sure you hold onto enough money to replace your team of 5 because otherwise if you get wiped out, it’s game over. Another negative is the accuracy cap of 90%, I’ve not played a game since Earthbound where so many attacks miss, my werewolf’s first outing he only landed one measly hit in two battles.

Yeah… I really don’t want this jinx.

The graphics well worth fawning over, simple super deformed over stylised with heavy manga style black line and Western gothic flare create a simply delightful art style, a real feast for my eyes. Then cute little animations such as the Shadow Blade class hugging a stuffed bear when you clear an expedition.

She is enjoying a gross giant bug bite way too much.

The most important parts of the game such as when you receive quests and the story are voice acted in Japanese, despite being made in South Korea as this fits perfectly with the game aesthetic. The corps themselves only have one line each that you will hear over and over and over but that didn’t actually bother me. The soundtrack itself is fantastically eerie making the different dimensions of the vortex even more mysterious.

I wouldn’t say enormous, more a small village.

Mistover is a great albeit repetitive game, but most dungeon RPGs are repetitive. If you can get over the limiting factor of how currency is dealt with then there is a long game to enjoy for the price. There’s also a lengthy demo with two playable stages, including the beginning of the story so you can get a good idea if this game is for you or not just remember money will be an issue and you really need to beat every esper, activate every flower and open every chest every expedition. With a patch to give more money Mistover will be a fantastic dungeon RPG with an absolutely beautiful art style.

Mistover is available now digitally on the Nintendo eShop for £24.99/$29.99. A huge thank you to Krafton for providing the review code.

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