Tuesday, January 16, 2018

REVIEW: Mystic Messenger (game) - Christmas Special 2016 (Zen and 707)

Christmas Special 2016 is one of two available DLCs for Mystic Messenger. It's different from After Ending and Valentine's Day, in that you don't need to have completed a character's route in the main game before doing one of their Christmas routes. If it weren't for the fact that it costs hourglasses, I'd say it'd be a great way for newbies to Mystic Messenger to dip their toes into the game and see how things work. It's much shorter, only 2 days of chats, emails, and phone calls.

I purchased Christmas Special 2016 when it was on sale near Christmas. I timed my first playthrough to coincide with the story - the first day takes place on Christmas Eve, and the second day takes place on Christmas. I aimed specifically for Zen's "good" ending (I assume there's also a "bad" ending) the first time through. The second time, I aimed for 707's "good" ending.


Zen's route was surprisingly stressful. The poor guy wanted to spend Christmas with someone special, but his job swooped in to consume his every waking moment, making him feel depressed, overworked, and lonely. Considering that Zen is usually Mr. Positivity, I felt so bad for him. Things worked out in the end, of course, but for a while there I was worried that I was going to get a "bad" ending for him and have to watch him stress himself to pieces.

One thing I noticed about both the Christmas Special routes I played was that Cheritz had clearly used a different artist. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the change. Zen looked different, younger and a bit awkward.


Whereas Zen wanted to spend Christmas with someone special, 707 didn't want to spend Christmas with anyone, period, due to bad memories from his past. The game only gave players a few details, so I'm looking forward to playing Seven's route in the main game and finding out more. I think I'm going to save him for last, though, because, according to multiple things I've read, his route answers a lot of the game's questions.

Partway through Seven's route I was genuinely worried that I had accidentally wandered down the path to Unknown's ending instead. Which, uh, I didn't really want to do. Unknown's email and phone call were super creepy - if I had one complaint about how the story progressed, it was that the player character never once told any of the guys that she'd just gotten a creepy email and phone call. I'd absolutely have let everyone in the RFA know, if I'd had a choice about it.

While I was vaguely unsatisfied with what the new artist did with Zen, I actively disliked what they did with Seven. Also, ugh, I somehow managed to miss getting one of Seven's images.


This DLC was okay. Even though I disliked what the new artist had done with the characters, I enjoyed the story aspects. Because it was so short, it was easy to go and do another playthrough. Unfortunately, because it was so short my second playthrough also felt more repetitive. I didn't feel like playing any of the other characters' routes after finishing 707's and, considering how closely tied it is to Christmas, it'll probably feel weird to play it at other times of the year. Still, worth getting if you're a fan of the game and want to read something new featuring your favorite characters.

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