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Goth anime dungeon crawl Mary Skelter: Nightmares is out now

Idea Factory’s Wizardry/Etrian Odyssey-esque dungeon crawl Mary Skelter: Nightmares did well enough for itself over on the Vita, and made the jump to PC today. Before you go running for the hills, look up there at all those stats and bars and colours! It’s anime excess bleeding into the interface itself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Judging by the trailer below, it should help pass the dungeon-crawl void shape in my heart until Nippon Ichi’s Labyrinth of Refrain arrives.

In what feels like a Japanese twist on Fallen London, Mary Skelter is set in the “Jail”, formerly a human city that was swallowed up by the earth (naturally settling at a depth of 666 metres, because Satan uses metric) before being conquered by demons. Protagonists Jack and Alice have lived a humble life of constant torture and bloodletting down there, but are broken out of their prison by the Blood Maidens. This all-girl gang are (of course) named after fairytale heroines and fuel their powers with monster-blood. So far, so teen anime.

Mechanically, the game has my attention. Combat is turn-based, and looks agreeably complex, with your party being able to switch between a large number of classes as they level up. Dungeons appear large and complex, and in an interesting twist, bosses are free to roam the halls, hunting. They’re invulnerable until you’ve destroyed the dungeon core, so are probably best evaded until you’re ready. It reminds me a little of the roaming high-level bosses in the Etrian Odyssey series.

In one more odd twist, the Blood Maidens themselves are apparently a bit unruly. Your protagonist needs to either sacrifice their own blood or use a special gun to get them back under control if the girls go overdoing it on the monster-claret. This being an Idea Factory game it’s probably at least a little bit inappropriately raunchy in places too, so be warned. Still, the trailer seems innocuous enough, so far as hyper-goth anime weirdness goes.

Mary Skelter: Nightmares is out now on Steam for £11.69/€12.59/$15, and is a little cheaper still on GOG.

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Dominic Tarason

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