Review: My World, My Way

In the real world, pouting gets you nowhere, unless you have a gullible significant other or friends who would do anything for you. But would they change the entire shape of the land for you? Would they silence monsters from casting spells? Would they increase the drop rate of items from said monsters? Not likely. Luckily, in Atlus’ My World, My Way, pouting can and will get you everywhere. This light-hearted but wholly strategic RPG is one of the newest from Atlus’s usual fantastic lineup, and a breath of fresh air in an age of games where most storylines make you want to, well, whine a little bit.

Princess Elise is a spoiled rotten princess. Everything she has ever wanted, she has gotten simply through pouting to beat the band. One day, she meets who she believes to be a handsome prince at a ball her father has thrown. Believing she can have his hand as her new boyfriend since she is an expert pouter, she approaches him. However, he has no interest in her with her spoiled and greedy ways. Suggesting that she cut her long, luxurious hair and abandon her silky, custom-made dresses, he may pay attention to her if she takes up the mantle of an adventurer and begins earning things rather than simply pouting and whining for them. With that, Princess Elise cuts her long, beautiful hair, throws on some armor, and thrusts herself into a world of new adventure. Of course, her father the King knows that she cannot simply waltz out into the rugged world of adventurers without a bit of help. He sends a trusted soldier along to watch over the Princess and to create a “world” for her to roam about, defeating monsters and running errands for various townsfolk. Little does Elise know that each area she travels to is actually an elaborate hoax set up to coddle her and to get her used to being out on her own.

On Elise’s adventure she will come across various towns that are accessible via the overworld map. In every town, there is an inn where Elise can eat a hearty meal that will raise one or more of her stats and get some rest, item and weapon shops, town squares, and a Mayor. Elise soon catches onto the strange coincidence that the innkeeper and the mayor, as well as shopkeepers, tend to look exactly the same as the ones from the previous towns. Peculiar! Each town’s mayor sends Elise on different quests to fulfill in the world’s field. This can range from “defeat X Warcats” to “collect X berries.” When Elise has completed the quests, she can return to town and receive the key to a gate leading out of town. When this is done, she has full reign to travel through finished areas as she likes.

When Elise is not venturing through town, the true meat of the game shines through. Replacing the traditional overworld seen in most RPGs, you have a grid of typically 5 x 5 squares each representing different terrains. You can use the D-pad to navigate each square. With the A button you can search the area for enemies or items. However, where the game truly shines is in its Pout Points systems. Elise, with her snobbish and whiny ways, can pout enough to completely alter her surroundings. Do you need to find a certain monster who lurks only in the Dancing Forest? Simply pout that “this area stinks!” and instantly the square in the grid will be changed to a Forest. The ability to change each area to your convenience lends a strategic edge to what would otherwise be dull grinding in any other game. Aside from simply changing the terrain of the world, Elise can pout about many other things. Item drop rates, money drop rates, and even the experience points left by monsters can be altered. If you don’t feel like going through with a battle, Elise can pout enough to end it or at least take the first turn. These Pout Points use precious PP, so it should be noted that they need to be used sparingly. Usage of these points honestly do make the player begin to feel as if he or she is whining to get their way, as the abilities often mirror players’ sentiments. Even their titles mirror what an impatient, annoyed brat might say: “Everybody, talk to the hand!” or even “GET LOST!”. This humorous display is part of the game’s enjoyable personality, something many adventures these days are lacking.

Aside from the Pout Points, battles feature the good, old-fashioned attack, spells, items, and what-have-you that we have come to expect from RPGs. However, Elise is not always alone. At a certain point in her journey she is accompanied by a lovable Mimic Slime who is able to copy any monster’s stats and abilities. This is especially useful during boss fights, as afterward you will have a powerful ally. Choosing how and when to utilize the Mimic Slime can make or break your experience, so it’s imperative that you make informed decisions when changing from monster to monster.

After Elise has completed the required quests and received a gate key, she often must fight a boss monster, located in a dungeon area that is much different from the grids seen in the overworld. Perspective switches to an isometric view of a dungeon where Elise will fight multiple lackeys of the boss. This occurs after the occasional completion of two or three small villages, but it is a welcome change after gallivanting throughout the countryside grid, changing terrain along the way.

My World, My Way is, well, cute. Anime-inspired character portraits are displayed along with text in conversations, but there is no avatar you see on the map as you move around. Monsters are rendered in 3D, and are reminiscent of early Nintendo 64 models. Everything about the game exudes cuteness and style, and the color palette surely reflects such. Quirky, cheery music scores dialogue and scenes throughout the game, but sadly there is no voice acting. It would have been a welcome addition to a cute and imaginative game, and since Final Fantasy IV pulled it off well, perhaps a future installment of this title could as well.

All in all, this is another strong effort from Atlus and a game that makes a comfortable home for itself on the DS. The tone of humor from Princess Elise and her friends along her journey is reason enough to give this a try. Fans of RPGs or those simply looking for a simple little adventure, pick this one up.

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