It's been a couple years since the top-notch Mary Skelter: Nightmares released and now, you can enjoy it and this sequel on Switch.
Let me just say right off the bat that if you enjoyed Mary Skelter: Nightmares then you'll love your time with Mary Skelter 2 as it's a very similar experience yet with plenty of fun twists that help keep things fresh. For the unfamiliar, the world of Mary Skelter is inhabited by anime versions of classic fairy tale characters known as Blood Maidens. However, you wouldn't want your kids to dive into this twisted fairy tale world as it's full of weird oddities such as loads of cartoon gore and almost-naked characters that you can wipe blood off of in a strange mini-game. That being said, the sheer absurdity of it all makes for one lively and off-the-wall world that remains engaging from start to finish. Thankfully, the artwork and voice acting is spot-on which helps bring this highly unconventional yet captivating world to life.
Mary Skelter 2 tells the story of Otsuu who's betrothed to Little Mermaid. Meanwhile, she's the only one who understands Jack who sacrificed himself to rescue Little Mermaid thus transforming into a Nightmare. Watching these 3 characters interact is often hilarious and as you progress, you'll encounter loads of other characters such as Gretel, Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and even Alice who starred in the first game. The story involves Otsuu and chums who form the Dawn group as they try and explore the living dungeons while weakening and confronting the Nightmares within.
As with the first game, Mary Skelter 2 boasts a huge array of mechanics to keep in mind as you explore the grid-based dungeons. In fact, there are so many to consider that it can be overwhelming, especially when you're still learning the ropes which can take hours to get to grips with and even when you do, you'll be regularly surprised by how many curveballs get thrown your way.
For starters, the dungeon has Hunger, Libido, and Sleep desires as well as mood shifts which can make the challenge either easier or trickier. Next, every character has a special ability that you must utilize to solve puzzles and it's easy to forget what each character is capable of so I wish there were more obvious hints on top of the mostly vague ones that you'll find on the dungeon floor. You can even plant Blood Crystals in the dungeon to grow Blood Flowers that spawn pieces of equipment. Whenever prompted, you have to use the correct key items because if you don't, you might receive damage. As you can see, there's a ton of things that'll keep you on edge as you play and once a Nightmare approaches, you'll have to run away from that sucker in order to survive. It gets intense!
Whenever you make it back to your home base, you can configure a whole load of aspects such as customizing each character's room, granting more skill slots to characters, appraising and using Blood Packs for permanent boosts, changing party members' jobs, earning bonuses after lowering characters' levels, spending Blood Crystals to enhance equipment, buying and selling gear at the store, taking on side-quests at the Work Order Center, and managing your Blood Crystal farms. Wow, that's a lot! On top of all this, you can unlock and upgrade passive and active skills for each party member at any point which allows you to optimize your skill loadout.
After spending an hour or so configuring all of that, you can head straight to the dungeons and let me tell you; Mary Skelter 2 has some supremely rewarding and well laid out dungeons to explore. Uncovering the maps while solving puzzles, unlocking much-needed shortcuts, and taking part in mini-games such as one where you have to balance on a rope is an absolute treat. I would even go as far to say that Mary Skelter 2's dungeons are the most engaging and exciting ones that I've ever played through in the genre.
Finally, although I found Mary Skelter: Nightmares to be too easy, Mary Skelter 2 is much more challenging. I frequently found myself having to grind for better equipment before transitioning to a new floor because the monsters get much tougher just 1 floor away. Although I enjoyed the grind at the start, having to do it repeatedly became quite a pain in the ass after I reached the third dungeon. It seemed like no matter how strong I was, I always had to do just a little bit more in order to stand a fighting chance.
Very few dungeon crawlers are as rewarding as Mary Skelter 2. Even with its few easily forgivable flaws, its supremely satisfying gameplay shines through while its cast of characters remains charming even though they inhabit such a twisted world.
- + Same fantastic dungeon crawling formula with tons of variety
- + Great cast of characters and English voices
- + Rewarding dungeon layouts
- - Still way too many factors to keep in mind while playing
- - Grinding can be a pain