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Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles – Review

For the first time ever (not including other means of playing) Rhapsody 2 and 3 finally receive releases in the West. Marl Kingdom Chronicles packages Rhapsody 2 and 3 together in a gorgeous bundle which has been given English voice acting and been fully translated for fans so they can continue the story started in Rhapsody 1.

Rhapsody 2: Ballad of the Little Princess takes place twelve years after the events of its predecessor, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (which is bundled within Prinny Presents Nisa Classics Vol 3). You play as the original protagonist’s daughter, Kururu, who is named after Cornet’s (her mother) puppet companion from her journey 12 years prior. Due to it taking place in the same world, it features many of the same characters. The main focus of Little Princess is on the themes of falling in love and fulfilling your dreams, with musical numbers woven into the adventure. It’s just a wholesome time with an ending perfect to make way for…

…Rhapsody 3: Memories of Marl Kingdom. While the next part of the story, this game takes a different approach to the world and how the story is told. This entry consists of six separate chapters, which all feature different characters from the Rhapsody series. The six chapters take place at various times throughout the stories of A Musical Adventure and Ballad of the Little Princess and serve to address unanswered questions from the earlier games and provide additional insight into the characters that players have learned about over their adventures.

The art style for both games retain that PlayStation 1 blend of pixel art along with 3D models in 2D environments, both of which have been upscaled. This coupled with the art style and colours that pop, it’s an absolute joy to run around the worlds exploring and fighting off all forms of beats that come your way.

The sound design and audio are extremely clean and crisp. Not every track for each area fits the feel and tone, but that doesn’t stop the songs from being an absolute blast that makes you wanna head bop to the music. I simply cannot leave out the musical numbers that are in the game, they are also a delight to listen to (sadly not in English) but I’ll never say no to some J-pop.

The gameplay is your standard J-RPG affair. Run around, take on random battles and equip your party with various equipment, the main change of course is that during your adventure you can recruit foes and even specific NPCs as party members. So your team of four can become a team of sixteen, three followers to one leader. The way you build these teams will affect overall damage from the leader with the added bonus of building friendships with the creatures in your party, causing them to act on their own accord during a battle for more damage. The teams you create will also have synergy effects which you will learn about as you experiment and try new things.

This is a fantastically charming game and world to sink time into. If you’ve played the first game then everything here is a must-play to continue the story. Of course, if you haven’t then that’s not a problem as the game does very well in telling players information they need to know to understand the circumstances that they’re in.

A beautiful game, with beautiful music and a laid-back attitude full of humour that isn’t afraid to take its self non seriously.

9/10 star rating

Platforms: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Role-playing Video Game, Adventure game, Strategy Video Game
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America






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