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Mystic Messenger: East vs West vs the Romance Genre

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If you’ve followed me for at least a year, you’ve seen how excited I was for the Mystic Messenger release early this summer. Due to technological issues caused by both my outdated phone and cumbersome bugs in the app, it took me until now – October 2016 – to complete all five good endings and both secret endings. In that time, I saw the game grow in popularity and I am so happy to see Cheritz hitting mass appeal (even if it means giving up the mythology built in Dandelion and Nameless).

Cheritz is a company based in South Korea that advertises “sweet solutions for female gamers”. So far, each of their titles showcase romantic routes that encourage personal growth. According to their page on the visual novel database, Mystic Messenger has only been localized from Korean to English, where Dandelion was also released in China and Nameless in Japan during the initial release. Cheritz is one of very few otome game developers that releases their games in English for the west, while others outsource translation and localization, or are adapted by fans (Nitro+Chiral, I’m looking at you). As a result I can only assume that westerners make up quite a bit of their market, which cannot be ignored when you look at their motivations when constructing Mystic Messenger.

Instead of a review this time, I’m going to go through many of the events, themes and characters of Mystic Messenger and assess where the appeals are stacked. Is this for Western audiences in the Americas and the UK? Is it for Korean audiences in Cheritz’s home field? Or is it something indicative of the romance/Dating sim genre? I’ hope this may explain why certain elements in the game didn’t appeal to me or you, and why that is.

Please be aware that this post contains potential spoilers for all endings and routes. Read at your own risk.

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