Japanese Title: 猛獣たちとお姫様
Romanization: Moujuutachi to Ohime-sama
Translation: Beast and Princess
These shorter reviews seem to be working better for me right now so I think I’ll keep to this style for a while. This game was one of the games I was really anticipating for this year: a spin-off of Moujuutsukai to Ouji-sama (Beastmaster and Prince).
This will be a mostly non-spoiler review, but if I have spoiler thoughts, I’ll say explicitly when they come up.
Julia is the princess of the country Veykh. She’s lived in seclusion her whole life in this small part of the castle. While she has minimal contact with other people and none to the outside world, she has a bunch of animal buddies to keep her company that she picked up along the way: a white horse named Ryszard, a dog named Ludwik, a yellow canary named Mias, and a bear named Jozef. She also gets visited by her cousin, Henryk, once and a while.
One day, she finds out from Henryk that she needs to escape right away because her parents were assassinated by her uncle, Hubert. Realizing that she can’t take care of the animals anymore, Julia says goodbye to them and prepares to leave. However, Hubert makes an appearance soon after and orders Julia to kill herself. Before she follows through with it, her animal friends help her escape. She takes with her a pouch from her parents that holds something to be used for emergencies. While running away, the contents, rainbow-colored dust, falls on her four animal buddies and turns them into humans.
The art was probably one of the better aspects of the game. It was aesthetically pleasing and the CGs were pretty good as well. I felt like the CGs were consistent with the sprites and they felt pretty balanced of showcasing the guys on their own plus showing the guys with Julia. Personally, I also liked that while the style is different from the original Moujuutsukai game it isn’t such a difference that it would make the games feel like they were in completely different universes. If they used the artist for say, Kyoukai no Shirayuki, it would’ve looked very odd indeed.
As an extra note, I really liked the funny expressions they would sometimes use on the sprites and the fact that they could be used on both the humans and the animals.
One kind of spoilery complaint I had regarding the art is: Ryszard’s clothes were significantly nicer than the other three animal companions so I had a guess really early on that he was some missing prince, especially since he didn’t act like the other animals did. I was kind of disappointed that this proved to be true but it just felt like such a giveaway.
The music was alright. There were some tracks I liked and it seemed to match the mood of the setting but it wasn’t enough for me to want an OST of it like I often want for so many games. It’s almost not worth having a section about the music since I don’t have much to say about it. There was one track I recall not really caring for in the original game but I didn’t have that problem this time, so I guess they did better this time in that sense.
I wanted to be able to say that I loved the characters on the same level as Matheus and company from the first game, but I really didn’t. They had all the equivalents (eg. 4 animals to the 4 princes that stayed with the protagonist) but I can’t say they were very riveting. I mildly liked Ryszard, Henryk, and the Wizard, but not enough. They could have been interesting if more effort had been put into developing them and their stories/issues, but they felt very 2D. I might like 2D men a lot, but I like my 2D men to have depth. If you have low expectations, they’re passable as characters but they don’t hold up to the gang from Moujuutsukai. None of them incited that “doki” feeling in me that I would’ve liked to have and my sympathies for their situations didn’t go that far. I mean this is an otome game so really, if I don’t like at least one of the guys significantly by the time I’ve finished playing that’s pretty sad?
Something else that bothered me was that the animals didn’t really seem to have a hard time adjusting to being humans. Not that the plot itself is very realistic, but that aspect didn’t feel right to me because they’ve completely changed species yet they held themselves passably as humans without trouble. You could see the game tried to make them keep some animal aspects of themselves but it wasn’t a lot and only came up when it was convenient to make things happen in the game.
Not only were the guys disappointing but Julia was too. While I’m aware that she didn’t have much contact with anyone except her cousin and animal pals, she felt shallow as a character and didn’t end up developing much after each route finished either. It was like they took the traits “naivety” and “kindness,” smashed them together, and turned them into a person. I understand that not all heroines can be spunky, but she didn’t need to be in order to have been better. She just completely lacked agency in her own story and things just kept happening around her. From the original game, if I recall correctly, Tiana also cooked well and was kind, but she had more distinguishing traits and ambitions that made her feel more like a real character. She had a dream so there was more of a driving force to her actions and it felt like the guys fell in love with her because it was her. In Julia’s case (except for maybe Henryk because siscon), it felt like it didn’t need to be her. She just felt like a hollow character put in the game because they needed a heroine and she filled that role.
There was also like…zero chemistry with Julia and the guys at all? I don’t even know how or why anyone fell in love with her to be honest. It was as if she was the only person for them to fall in love with so they just fell in love with her because she was there. Or maybe it was because she was just so kind and everyone loved that. In the case of the main four guys, it could’ve been because their affection towards her as animals spilled over into their human forms but I just didn’t really feel a development there. Sure, they spent time together but I didn’t really see the falling in love bit. It was like “this is happening because this is an otome game and romance must happen.”
The plot was just…bad. It had terrible pacing, and even then, there wasn’t much to pace through. A lot of what went on felt like fillers. You spend most of the game running away and settling into a new place and then you have this witch thing that suddenly becomes an issue. It’s kind of happening in the back so it’s not like you don’t expect it to come up at some point, but it was just thrown in there. It was as if they just needed to have a witch adversary so they made it happen. The whole thing felt very mechanical.
The main “mystery” of the game was only really revealed in the Wizard’s storyline and I was not satisfied with it at all. I admit that for part of the route, I did find it a little interesting when I noticed they were tying it to Moujuutsukai a little more concretely, but it wasn’t and engaging storyline. It also felt odd to have so many untied ends in everyone else’s routes but suddenly lots of reveals happen in this one character’s route. Everyone else’s routes kind of ended in some random place most of the time. They had very weak resolutions and they didn’t even address all the issues brought up.
It was disappointing because there was so much opportunity to make it a good story but they didn’t take it. I mean, they even developed this map:
They had these four countries Veykh, Aruce, Pycex, and Mettenz (I think that’s how you spell them based on the map) and the countries themselves seemed like they were known for certain things but it didn’t really come up in the story line (except in Pycex a bit since a good portion of the story takes place there). Why even spend time making these different countries if you’re not going to do much with them?
To my disappointment, there was no “skip to the next choice” option like in Period:Cube (WHY IS THIS NOT A THING COME ON, OTOMATE). They did at least have the Chapter Jump section which let you start later in routes, which was helpful in getting the Bad Ends. At some point, I restarted Ludwik’s route and made different choices when I was hunting for CGs I was missing (this didn’t actually pan out and I found out the CGs I was missing came from elsewhere anyway). While choosing a different option did change the scene quite a lot, I was so bored with the storyline I didn’t care so much about how this showcased how making the “wrong” choices influenced your “Fame,” which is usually something I like seeing in games. Speaking of the “Fame,” this actually influenced whether you got a Good or Bad End (this game only has two endings for each character).
Pretty simply, to get the Good End you need high affection from the character and a high level of Fame. I didn’t check this a lot while playing because I used a guide so I can’t say how much of each you need, but if you like playing without a guide you can use this to gauge how you’re doing. If a choice you make raises Fame, you get some live feedback from this little Fame up icon that would appear on the right side above the text box after making the choice.
The mofumofu system was terrible. I was looking forward to being able to use the touch screen because I played Moujuutsukai on the PSP, but using the touch screen to mofumofu the characters often led to me accidentally hitting them several times. I gave up and went back to using the joystick and the “O” button because that seemed to be the only way to consistently mofu them nicely. It’s very disappointing that they didn’t make the mofumofu system workable, like do the creators think the touchscreen of the Vita is just for show or what?
The game also had this “if” route that you could play once you finished all other routes. The content itself was basically like what would’ve happened if Julia never had to leave and all the info was more forthcoming. All the characters (with sprites) that you meet in the game interact with Julia back at the castle and all the mysteries come up and get solved at one time. I didn’t find it too interesting personally and it also confused me that this “if” route had so many CGs. I thought I had been missing CGs from the individual character routes but that wasn’t the case.
Another complaint I had was regarding that Mofumofu Master trophy. I thought you would get it from successfully doing all the mofumofus in the game, but you actually would get it after doing all the mofumofus in the FMMS section that you can access from the Extras menu option. Luckily I was able to look up online how to get this trophy so I didn’t struggle with it too long, but it was kind of annoying and added nothing extra to the game.
Unfortunately, I really can’t recommend this game. I can’t even recommend it just for the nostalgia for gamers who played Moujuutsukai because there’s not enough in here to make it worth the play. It pains me a little to say that because I really enjoyed Moujuutsukai but it just felt like Otomate didn’t put a lot of effort into this game. Like usual, they expected the glory of the previous game to invite in past gamers (which it did it for me) but they didn’t put the stock behind it to make it a good game in its own merit. It was like they were aiming for mediocre.
Especially playing this after The House in Fata Morgana, the shallow set-up of the story was very clear. I don’t expect every game to have as much much depth as Fata did but they could’ve at least tried to do something with this game. I was bored the majority of the time and was playing it just to finish it. If you’re going to put all that money into producing it, shouldn’t you at least try a little harder to make it a success? I’m not in business so I don’t know anything about the numbers, but I feel like making a mediocre game wouldn’t bring in enough money to make up for all the production costs so why make the game at all? I notice this happens a lot though, so maybe I’m wrong…
In any case, planning on cleansing myself with Haitaka. I have high expectations of this since everyone I know who finished it seems to be content. At the very least, it should be more satisfying than this game was.