Having developed JRPGs since the early days of the SNES, Kemco knows its way around the genre.
It may have taken a break for a few years while it waited for mobile game development to become lucrative, but that time hasn't dulled its creativity.
Mystic Chronicles - which started life as Fantasy Chronicles for iOS - is both a nostalgia trip and a fancy modern touchscreen RPG. It does just about enough to compete with other PSP JRPGs, but its smartphone origins hold it back on this considerably more hardcore platform.
A fantastical journey
Aside from a purportedly improved English translation, Mystic Chronicles is largely the same game that it was on iOS - right down to the in-game purchases.
Protagonist Lux becomes a member of the Holos guild to protect his town. But he fails, and his town is overrun, so he sets out on a journey across the world to exact revenge on the evil force that changed his life forever.
It's a genuinely interesting story, even if it is heavy on the cliches.
You've got your orphaned protagonist, mythical beast soul partner, wide array of ridiculously named enemies, and a difficulty curve that's more than intimidating. It's even got the cursory introductory gameplay that has you playing for hours before you have any idea what the true nature of Mystical Chronicles really is.
It's a by-the-books Kemco RPG, right down to the return of the mushroom-looking Pancho enemy that appears in every game.
Mystical Chronicles is also one of the purest JRPG titles you'll come across, freemium mechanics aside.
This is partly down to the wonderfully crisp pixel-art visuals that hark back to SNES-era adventures, and to the basic but strangely addictive turn-based combat.
There's plenty here to keep you occupied. At any point you can visit the Holos guild and take on a quest alongside your missions, which helps to bolster your wallet and your item bag.
You can take resources and items to workshops to be crafted into any number of useful swords, items of armour, and accessories as long as you have the associated recipes.
There's a generous amount of content on offer, but relatively little of it has anything to do with Mystical Chronicles's main adventure. As with every game of this kind ever, you'll spend your time bouncing around the gameworld on incrementally empowering errands, stopping every now and again to advance the story.
And it's all very familiar. In essence, Kemco has taken a slick but generic and repetitive iOS JRPG and tweaked it slightly for the PSP to create a game that hits all the marks, yet remains distinctly average.