Mind Zero is an innovative take on the classic JRPG that combines turn-based combat, visual novel-style conversations, and some dungeon crawling elements.
But while it isn't afraid to try something different, it never quite gels together into a coherent whole.Mind over matter
You play a teenager who can control an inter-dimensional being known as a MIND.
The first couple of hours of the game involve clicking through dialogue as the story and the characters are introduced. And then you're thrust into a war between the Inner and Outer realms.
Combat is turn-based. You control your party members and their MINDs, and each character has their own special attacks and skills.
Each member of your party has three bars. These show the amount of health they have, the amount of energy they can expel with their MIND, and how long they can have a MIND in play.
You need to keep an eye on these bars to make sure they don't get too low. A super powered Strike attack can hit all of the enemies on the field, but it'll quickly deplete your power too. You need to find the right balance to succeed.Digital dungeons
You wander through the dungeons in first-person at a deathly slow speed. The corridors have a low poly aesthetic reminiscent of old dungeon crawlers like Might and Magic.
It's an interesting visual quirk, but it can get annoying when you get snagged on some lo-res scenery.
As you might imagine there's plenty of skill and equipment management. MINDs have a variety of skills, from healing powers to highly effective AOE attacks.
Healing items are hard to come by, so having a healer in your party is pretty important in some of the more drawn out dungeons.Zero points
While the writing in the game isn't terrible, sometimes it does feel like you're stuck in a conversation that's never going to end.
There's one sequence that sees you sock shopping with a character, and it's just as tedious as it would be in real life.
There's plenty to like here, especially if you're a fan of JRPGs. The turn-based combat and anime visuals are a lot of fun, and the first-person dungeon crawling offers a pretty interesting new perspective.
Unfortunately there are far too many boring conversations to read through. And on top of that the game takes an age to get going.
If you can get past those problems there's a pretty engaging RPG here, but it's unlikely that any but the most ardent fans of the genre are going to stick it out.