The people at Orange Juice are at it again! Last year, I reviewed 100% Orange Juice, a board game that served as a crossover for the developer’s other titles. Since then, they’ve actually released one of their many bullet hell games over here. However, this game is yet another crossover. While last year’s title was akin to Mario Party, this game is more like a simpler Pokemon. It’s interesting to say the least.
As for the story, it’s kind of wonky. You play as a young unnamed princess. One day, your little fairy friend decides to make a game for you. That game involves traveling across various worlds, befriending various characters, and fighting enemies via a card game. Like I said, it’s wonky. You’ll visit a few different worlds, meeting characters like QP and Marc. They think you’re just another girl, and find this whole “worlds mixing together” thing to be quite a nuisance. You see, dozens of characters from across OJ games are sort of mixing together. This allows them to travel between worlds and wreak havoc. It’s up to your team to solve this mystery and fix it once and for all.
The plot is completely irreverent. Characters crack jokes, get angry when they meet another character who looks too much like them, and basically take very few things seriously. Don’t expect to be properly introduced to characters or to have a straight forward plot. People come and go seemingly at random, and keeping up is kind of impossible. As such, some of the jokes fall flat. The overall tone is pleasant though.
One look at this game and you can tell what aesthetic it’s going for. This game is designed to look like a Game Boy Color game. Particularly, the battle screen apes Pokemon for all its worth. Your character stands on the bottom left, while your opponent stands on the top right. Attacks are accompanied by various animations, but said animations are simple and crude. For example, one character fires a large bullet as one of his attacks. The animation involved is simply the bullet moving from left to right. The backgrounds are blurry and nondescript, the menus are basically text boxes, and the title screen is black with the game’s name in white. It’s not a looker by any means.
As for the sound, you basically have a small suite of chirps and beeps that play as you navigate the menus. There’s also music that pays homage to the kind of tunes you’d fine in old GBC games. The tracks are short, kind of cute, and loop continuously. After you’ve played for about an hour, you’ll have heard them all. At that point, there’s hardly a reason to keep the sound turned on. There is no voice acting in the game whatsoever.
Much of the game plays like a visual novel. Characters speak to each other through text boxes, and all you have to do is keep tapping the confirm button to move forward. Oh right I forgot to mention. This game doesn’t use the mouse at all. Instead, you use the arrow keys to navigate the menus. Then you have a confirm button and a cancel button. It basically simulates an old handheld.
When you’re not going through text, you’re either digging through menus or battling. The menus allow you to move to different locations, check your cards, and visit the shop. You can have up to three cards equipped at any time, and each represents a character that has their own level and abilities. They gain experience as you win battles, building their base stats. Later on, you can combine some cards to create new ones, although the new card will go back to level one. You can also spend money earned in the game to buy a random card from the shop. If you get duplicates, you can always sell them back for a small amount.
The battling system works with a simple rock, paper, and scissors mechanic. I mean that literally. Each card has a base affiliation of either rock, paper, or scissors. They also have a few different attack options in battle. Each attack has its own affiliation as well. The idea is to try and use attacks that are good against your opponent’s affiliation.
There are a few more kinks to battle as well. At the start of each turn, you roll a die to determine the number of points you get. Those points are used to launch your attacks. If you don’t have enough points to use a skill, you simply can’t. The good news is that you can always defend to reduce incoming damage or evade to try and dodge the attack altogether. There are also three different types of attacks. There are close combat, bullet storm, and single hit. The difference comes in the speed of that attack. Faster attacks land first, meaning using a single hit when you opponent uses a slower move means you might be able to take them about before they fire a shot. Battles end when either your team falls, or you take out everyone on the opposing team. It’s that simple.
For a game that only lasts about four hours, you’ll find you have to stop and grind for experience frequently. The power level of bosses spikes greatly from world to world, and you have to keep up. This often means revisiting a location multiple times in a row to keep battling the same opponent over and over. Levels come fairly slowly, and you’ll have to repeat this process every time you want to try out a new character. It gets old quickly.
In the end, the game is a very simple turn-based RPG. You pick your characters based on type, fire off attacks that will do the most damage, and collect your experience. Much like Pokemon, you’ll start to one shot most enemies before long. There is a multiplayer element as well, but I couldn’t find anyone to play against. It basically allows for some rules modification and simple battles. This is an OK game. It’s nothing special, but it’s inoffensive. Play it if you like the developer or need to kill a few hours.
Short Attention Span Summary
200% Mixed Juice! is an okay turn-based RPG that dresses up like better games before it. The presentation is simplistic, the combat is easy to figure out, and the game won’t take more than a few hours to get through. However, it’s cute and a decent way to kill some time. It could stand to be a few bucks cheaper, but overall it’s an inoffensive piece of software.