Review – Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles (PS5)

Discover the Melodic Madness of Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles, a collection of two games, Rhapsody II: Ballard of the Little Princess and Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom. Previously only available in Japan, this marks the first official English release of these beloved PlayStation One and PlayStation 2 games.

Rhapsody II: Ballard of the Little Princess

Prepare for a whimsical adventure with Rhapsody II: Ballard of the Little Princess, a tongue-in-cheek JRPG filled with musical cutscenes and turn-based battles. What sets this game apart is its lighthearted setting. You assume the role of Kururu, a young princess eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps and find her prince charming. Despite being constantly told not to, Kururu sneaks out of the castle, leading to delightful musical cutscenes where characters dance, sing, and even involve NPCs. It’s a unique gaming experience that showcases the true essence of Rhapsody II.

Visually, the game retains the charm of a remastered PlayStation One title, but offers graphics options for players to experiment with. Choose between pixelated, CRT filter overlay, or smooth graphics to find your preferred visual style.

  • Pixelated
  • CRT filter overlay
  • Smooth graphics

The gameplay revolves around turn-based battles, which occur frequently through random encounters. While the areas you explore aren’t overly complex, some may feel repetitive, making it crucial to remember your path. The game’s simplicity and abundance of over-the-top, silly attacks cater to players who prefer a less strategic approach. Watch in amusement as Kururu battles with her puppets by paying them to unleash hilariously absurd moves.

Rhapsody II is structured into chapters, providing a linear but occasionally exploratory gameplay experience. Take the opportunity to visit shops in the first city, where you can purchase equipment and jewels to enhance both your protagonists and puppets. The game’s approachable difficulty level makes it unnecessary to go all out, unless you desire to utterly obliterate your opponents.

The humor and comedic moments in Rhapsody II never cease. Without spoiling anything, be prepared for characters and NPCs to reference past incidents, much to Kururu’s dismay. Interacting with NPCs throughout the game reveals amusing interactions and fresh dialogues, even after completing a chapter.

Music is where Rhapsody II truly shines. From the full musical title screen that sets the tone, to the catchy and unforgettable tracks throughout the game, prepare for a euphonious journey. The charming town music captures the essence of a small princess searching for her prince in a bustling city. With numerous lyrical songs weaved into the game, the musical experience alone is worth the adventure.

Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom

Continue the captivating tales of Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles with Rhapsody III: Memories of Marl Kingdom. This sequel to Rhapsody II: Ballard of the Little Princess offers updated features, including enhancements to the battle system. While still turn-based, the game introduces increased difficulty as enemies hit harder. Combined character attacks and an improved battle camera screen add a dynamic 3D effect to the battles.

Rhapsody III’s visual enchantment contributes to its enhanced appeal. Enjoy improved character portraits and vibrant, less pixelated backgrounds that resemble illustrations from a fairytale storybook.

Before completing Rhapsody III, make sure to play Rhapsody II: Ballard of the Little Princess to tie up loose ends. The beauty of Rhapsody Marl Kingdom Chronicles lies in the fact that both games are easily playable in short bursts, offering substantial playtime without feeling overstretched or fleeting. With a charming and humorous narrative that maintains its allure, it’s no surprise that the game has garnered a devoted following. And now, I proudly consider myself part of that devoted fanbase.

A PlayStation 5 Review Code was provided by NIS America