Review: Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles (Nintendo Switch)

Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles is an adventure RPG developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America. I had played the previous game in the series, Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3, which included Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. I enjoyed the game enough, so I wanted to see what its sequels had in store.

The first game in Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles is Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess. It’s been a year since I played the first game, but if I remember correctly, the sequel takes place where the previous game left off. If you haven’t played the last title, it might be a good idea to start there first. 

In Rhapsody II, you play Kururu, Cornet’s daughter (Cornet was the protagonist in the first game. She is now queen, which makes Kururu the princess). Kururu wants to find her prince, and that’s all she seems to care about. She doesn’t bother with her princess duties; initially, she lacks knowledge of the outside world. She was a spoiled brat, and I couldn’t stand her. Unfortunately, that’s what ruined this game for me.

Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess is a good game with solid RPG mechanics, smooth gameplay controls, fun pixel graphics, fantastic music, and excellent voice acting. But I couldn’t get on board with the characters to care enough about the journey or their goals. The dialog was witty and humorous at times, but I skipped through certain scenes to get through the game faster.

There isn’t much of a tutorial to this game, but the first three acts introduce the characters, mechanics, and a bit of the world. It’s a good introduction, but I felt the beginning was slow-paced and dull since I didn’t care about the characters.

However, Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess is solid as an RPG. Battles are fought with Kururu and her companions in turn-based fights. Each character has regular attacks and special moves. For example, Crea, Kururu’s friend, has a few healing special moves up her sleeve.

The puppets are also back from the previous game. As you battle wild creatures, they can join you as puppets, bringing their own set of skills. You can assign a puppet to a character as a companion, giving them a new skill set in battle. The puppets will also earn experience points and level up, getting stronger and learning new moves similar to the characters.

This game also had a musical number in every act of the story. The characters would randomly stop what they were doing and dance around on the screen while singing a song. Don’t get me wrong; the music was great, and I know this is a gimmick of the series. However, it interrupted the game’s flow for me to the point that I eventually figured out how to fast-forward through these sequences. 

In a nutshell, Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess was a good game. Still, because I wasn’t interested in the characters’ personalities or goals, I had difficulty enjoying the other aspects of this title.

Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom is similar to Rhapsody II in many ways, but still different. For example, the battle system is still turn-based, though the interface looks much cleaner. You can also have up to 12 characters in your party at once. However, during battles, you only control four of the characters while the others will act on their own. The graphics are slightly different, too. The characters are still pixelated, though the backgrounds are 3D. I didn’t mind this change.

In terms of the story, this title isn’t one continuous journey. It’s broken into six chapters with a different tale tying up any loose ends from the previous Rhapsody games. It’s almost like a prequel, but the stories explain events before, during, and after the games. It’s pretty much a collection of extra stories with characters we’ve been with for a while.

I enjoyed the characters more in Rhapsody III. However, I had a difficult time getting into the stories. I didn’t care much about what happened before, during, and after the events of the other two Rhapsody games. I’m unsure if that’s because I had a tough time connecting with the characters and story of Rhapsody II, or because it felt out of place as a conclusion.

Overall, Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles is a good game. With two games in one, it’ll keep you busy for hours, although neither game is long. I couldn’t connect with the characters, and the plots didn’t do anything for me. However, the music and voice acting are extremely well done, and the battle mechanics are unique but not busy enough to make learning difficult.

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