Could you really fill the gaps in your memory by venturing out into a vortex of certain doom? Who knows? As a Missing One, though, it’s not like you have much of a choice. You get drafted into the Expedition Corps with the hopes of recovering your memories. What lies within the Mists?
At first glance, the art style of Mistover reminds me very readily of Darkest Dungeon. It’s probably the thick lines and flat colours, but more anime-esque than the gothic leanings of the latter. It plays akin to Etrian Odyssey, with map exploration being key to the game. You don’t draw your own maps, but uncovering all the nooks and crannies is crucial for the plot of the game.
You will bring along a motley crew of people you hire, like the caravan of Darkest Dungeon. Since they’re already pre-generated, you cannot change their looks. Names are free game, within the character limit. The characters can get “jinxes” – various passives that can benefit or hinder, on top of existing passives. Positioning is important not just for activating said passives, but also for skill uses. Jinxes can be rerolled, provided you have the required materials. The maximum you can bring in a corps is five members. Each week will see new recruits available, with higher levelled, more skilled members available through “Support” – basically, research.
Research isn’t as simple as it sounds. I expected to use resources, yes, but they’re random Journal drops, and you need multiple of them. I mean, you’d be going in to the equally randomly generated dungeons, but it definitely will make the game a little harder to tackle should you not get any. Don’t forget to resupply at the Shop too. Corps members will be needing food and illumination, but any that you don’t use will be corrupted by the Mist. Supplies will remain usable, but can cause harmful effects.
Maps are randomly generated, within a set parameter. Each area has a rough gauge of size and monster level. You’ll be able to pick up quests: sometimes fetch quests, sometimes hunting ones, the usual. You can find flowers to top up your illumination level, that sometimes require you to sacrifice some HP. You can’t top up fully, but it’ll be a lifesaver if you are out of seeds. Lighting these flowers and map completion will determine how much the “Doomsday Clock” moves when you return. Retreating will cause it to advance a lot, but thorough investigation will not. The Doomsday Clock is your plot timer, and after some time, the world will most assuredly end if you’re not strong enough.
Corps members will heal up and use the fullness meter, so here’s where you’ll be needing food. The game encourages you to move diagonally so that you can save on steps, though I find it to be a little finicky. You need an open space above and below the spot you want to move to, so you might accidentally waste time and bump into something thinking you can move. Obstacles require HP to destroy, but having a character like a Paladin with their map skill can avoid that. Do check out your character skills and swap leaders around if you have to.
There are other little conveniences. Shortcuts let you quickly consume food or seeds, and there’s a restore formation button (!). Veterans of Etrian Odyssey may remember needing to shuffle their teams again when characters die. Incidentally, for Mistover, its rogue-lite elements mean characters will die, permanently. Characters can enter a Limbo state in battle – hello, Darkest Dungeon – and can Call for SOS. This can mean giving the turn to another party member, or… who knows…? Recovering from Limbo will give a character a status effect, so keep an eye out. If effects like Bleeding aren’t cured, well, the character can die as you take steps.
I would say the randomness is not particularly egregious, and Normal difficulty is decently challenging for fans of the rogue-like/rogue-lite genre. Juggle your resources appropriately, and conquer the dimensions within the Pillar of Despair. Will you save humanity, or will you fall to whatever ancient evil lies within? If any of this piques your interest, definitely give Mistover a try on your preferred platform.