Mugen Souls – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: Eastasiasoft
Platform: PC, PS3 (censored), Switch (uncensored)
Tested on: Switch

Mugen Souls – Review

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Good: Great soundtrack
Bad: Shallow gameplay doesn't stand the test of time
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Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Given how NIS America is slowly but surely working its way through its back catalog and are porting everything but the kitchen sink to modern platforms, it’s perhaps a bit of an oddity to see Mugen Souls appear under the banner of another publisher. Developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, Mugen Souls originally launched on PS3 back in 2012 with publishing duties being handled by NIS. This time around, however, Eastasiasoft is responsible for bringing the game to modern audiences. Back then, NIS made the controversial decision to censor quite a lot of the game for the Western release, but given how Eastasiasoft isn’t afraid to put outright hentai games on the Switch, it’s hardly surprising that they’re not holding back with this release. The Switch release of Mugen Souls has all the censored content lovingly restored, alongside every bit of DLC ever made for the game. Whether that makes picking up the game worth it, a decade after its original release, remains to be seen, however. How does Mugen Souls hold up for a modern audience?


It’s not often that a game puts you in the shoes of the villain but Mugen Souls does just that. Set in a universe that houses seven color-coded worlds, the nefarious wannabe dictator Chou-Chou dreams of total domination. She has the ability to turn other living beings into peons, rabbit slaves that do her bidding. Together with her second and third in command, Altis and Ryuto, Chou-Chou sets out on her massive airship for a by-the-numbers adventure. The story wastes no time getting started, and characters and their backstories are fleshed out through short cutscenes that play out between having conquered each of the seven worlds. Some effort was put into fleshing out the main story beyond Chou-Chou’s conquest, by having specific party members have ulterior motives and plotting behind our protagonist’s back, but ultimately, Mugen Souls’ main story arc is as cookie-cutter as it gets.


When Mugen Souls was originally released in the West, it was heavily criticized for the amount of censorship, but this new release has all the uncut content lovingly restored. This means that you’ll be able to ogle plenty of scantily clad anime girls if you’re into that sort of thing, which is probably one of Mugen Souls’ main selling points. Relying heavily on fan service to draw in sales isn’t something that publisher Eastasiasoft is a stranger to as evidenced by the plethora of Pretty Girls titles we’ve reviewed. We won’t be getting too much into that as it’s a fairly controversial topic, and there are a couple of other issues with Mugen Souls’ visuals that we’d rather get into. Given that this is an older title with fairly simplistic sprite art, it’s unforgivable to see how the game isn’t able to keep up a decent frame rate, and that’s without even getting into the god-awful camera controls that actively seem to harm navigation around the map rather than help the player.


Although Mugen Souls features Japanese voice acting in the form of DLC, there is no real reason to toggle it on as this is one of those rare occasions where the English cast does a far superior job. Performances are over the top and hammy, befitting Mugen Souls’ overall atmosphere. The soundtrack is fantastic as well, adding a sense of dynamism and flow to the game’s battles. You’ll be hearing these tracks plenty of times throughout your time with Mugen Souls so it’s a good thing that the tunes are so catchy.


Don’t be deceived by the title: Mugen Souls has nothing to do with Mugen, the beloved 2D fighting engine that lets you pit the likes of Goku against Bowser. Instead, what you’re getting here is a classic turn-based JRPG. Originally released back in 2012 on PC, the Switch release of Mugen Souls presents itself as the definitive version of the game and includes all previously released DLC as well. And my goodness, there is a lot of DLC included here. This is made immediately clear because the game tells you all DLC is toggled off by default. Should you decide to turn DLC on, you’ll be greeted by dozens upon dozens of popups when you start a new game, informing you of each individual piece of DLC that has been activated. We spent several minutes simply spamming the A-button over and over again as we clicked through these notifications, and that was before we were even able to start the game in earnest.

Get past those messages and what you get is a cute ecchi JRPG not unlike Seven Pirates H, coincidentally from the same developers. You take control of Chou-Chou as you travel around the galaxy in your ship, and invade the various worlds, gathering an army of peons that will aid you in your quest for total domination. It’s a fairly straightforward, and ultimately repetitive affair, which can feel like a grindfest at times as you’ll inevitably run into difficulty spikes whenever a new boss rears its ugly head.

The turn-based combat is probably Mugen Souls’ best feature, allowing for ridiculously complex strategies if you’re into that. If you prefer a more simplified and fast-paced approach, that’s also an option here, although you’re giving up efficiency. Granted, the learning curve is quite steep, especially early on, as Mugen Souls seemingly keeps piling combat mechanic on combat mechanic. First and foremost among these is the so-called Moe Kill mode, which sees Chou-Chou herself utilize her personal charisma to emotionally manipulate an enemy to join her. This is done by charming them, berating them, or outright emotionally destroying them. Succeed here, and the enemy becomes one of your peons, which means your army gets exponentially stronger. As you progress through the game, you’ll also unlock various transformations for Chou-Chou, completely changing how she acts on the battlefield, and in turn, opening up even more strategies. The game is built around our plucky protagonist, although the peons that accompany her on the battlefield also have their role to play of course.

We could go on and on about Mugen Souls’ combat, because there is so much to cover here. Too much, in fact, to summarise everything. Unfortunately, outside of combat, things fall a little flat and forgettable. Not that there isn’t anything to do beyond battling enemies and bosses. Mugen Souls encourages you to explore its semi-open world maps to discover treasure, play mini-games and even get stuck in rock-paper-scissors-based air fights with your ship. The issue is that these aspects are about as deep as a kiddie pool. There isn’t anything wrong with putting a disproportionate amount of attention on a well-crafted combat system, of course, but if you come in expecting Mugen Souls to offer anything worthwhile beyond turn-based fights and ecchi visuals, you’ll end up being disappointed. We’re looking at a decade-plus old PS3 title at this point, and audience standards and expectations have understandably changed since then. A couple of small QoL changes could have gone a long way here. For example, battle animations cannot be sped up. You can either turn these on or off, and this all-or-nothing approach means you need to choose between sitting through battles that take a frustratingly long time to complete or missing out on the game’s visual spectacle almost entirely. The game also eschews an autosave feature, which is baffling in 2023.

The core Mugen Souls experience is on the short side comparatively, with a playthrough of the main story sitting at roughly 20 hours, and around double that time if you are a completionist. We highly recommend being very selective about which of the included DLCs you activate. While the majority of these are purely cosmetic, including the option to dress up your characters as the cast of sister series Neptunia, many of the DLCs provide you with powerful gear and a ton of currency. This means that you can start out the game with the necessary means to trivialize a lot of the early-game difficulty. Activating the DLC is therefore best reserved for Mugen Souls’ New Game+ mode, which unlocks after defeating the game once. Finally, we guess we’ll also have to cover that specific aspect of the game. This definitive version of Mugen Souls also includes the controversial bathhouse mini-game, which was cut from the original release. Here, you’ll choose your anime girl of choice, choose a scrub and some shampoo and accompany them to the bathhouse to wash them to boost their stats. For what it’s worth, it’s an underwhelming affair that isn’t worth buying the game for. In fact, we have a hard time recommending Mugen Souls in 2023 because it has so little to offer by modern standards in the first place. Eastasiasoft probably considers this release “good enough” but that doesn’t mean it’s just good.


We didn’t have the pleasure to have played the original 2012 release of Mugen Souls, so we don’t have any fond memories of the game, nor were we clamoring to see the previously censored content. The game is clearly a product of its time, and without nostalgia goggles, it’s difficult not to be underwhelmed by what it has to offer. The amount of additional content doesn’t make up for the game’s lack of QoL improvements. The shallow non-combat gameplay, poor visual performance, and cookie-cutter story don’t help this release either.

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Mugen Souls - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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  1. | Giant Wishes – Review
    December 19, 2023, 00:01

    […] library on the Switch eShop is fairly diverse, ranging from ports of relatively obscure JRPGs like Mugen Souls to the notorious Pretty Girls series, which comprises classic tabletop games with a lewd twist. […]

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