To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Ratalaika Games have released yet another small indie title that is both very cheap and chock full of easy Gamerscore. Mochi Mochi Boy is a puzzle game developed by PixelTeriyaki, and the story is a simple one. Mochi Mochi Boy and his pals have trespassed into the Devil’s domain and been kidnapped by him. He has locked them away in his tower, and it now falls to our hero to rescue them by working through various floors. Sounds promising, but with Ratalaika’s tendency to release titles that are pretty hit-or-miss, will Mochi Mochi Boy be worth your cash or will it be one you should steer clear of?
The Tower Mode will be your main port of call, and serves as this game’s story mode, even if there are no cut-scenes or dialogue. Mochi Mochi Boy plays like a hybrid of the popular mobile game Snake, but your goal here isn’t to chase a tiny square around the screen though. Instead you need to cover every available square in each level with Mochi. You can’t cross over yourself so you’ll need to nail it in one fluid run. Once you manage to do it, you’ll be pushed onto the next level where you have to do the exact same thing over again. Rinse and repeat for 138 levels. It’s a really simple concept, and anyone could pick it up and understand what to do within five minutes.
The difficulty does ramp up though and some of the later levels will really require you to think carefully so that you don’t accidentally block a square off. The game also throws some new mechanics at you, and on some levels you’ll be able to move off the screen and appear on the other side, like Pac-Man. On others, there will be teleporters which move you around the grid. There are also hazards to watch out for such as bombs and spikes.
You’d expect with all these features that Mochi Mochi Boy would be a challenging experience. It’s not. These few token mechanics don’t distract from the fact that the gameplay stays overly-simple throughout. The levels remain essentially the same, and there is little to differentiate between them. As a result, the game becomes very repetitive, very quickly and the levels start to blend into one. I suspect many players will quit out of this mode as soon as they pop the achievement for reaching level 30.
The colour palette and soundtrack doesn’t help either. The former is bland; an unappealing mix of browns and yellows. The latter is incredibly irritating as the same one song seems to be on permanent loop. They really add to this sense of repetitiveness that prevents the game from ever becoming truly enjoyable. It’s a shame, because a good colour scheme and soundtrack can distract from the fact that you are essentially doing the same thing over and over. If only things changed up every ten levels or so, players might be encouraged to play on through to the latter stages.
After dabbling with the Tower Mode, players should jump into the Dungeon Mode. It’s essentially the same as Tower, and it still has that same uninspired colour scheme and annoying soundtrack. It still has the same end goal of covering every square with your body too. In fact, the gameplay is exactly the same. Even so, there are a few differences which make this slightly more enjoyable than Tower.
The biggest is that the levels are random, and you never know what you’re going to get until you’re plopped down onto a grid. There is also a time limit to contend with. It’s always ticking down, but every time you mess up and have to restart a level it will take a good chunk out of your time as a penalty. Once it hits zero, it’s game over and you’ll have to start again from the very beginning. There are also a lot more hazards put in your way, and although they are the same ones as those found in the Tower Mode, they come at you thick and fast.
You’re really thrown into the deep end with Dungeon Mode. You’ll need to think carefully and move quickly to get through all ten levels and beat it. It can be a real challenge, and this is something that the Tower is ultimately lacking.
Once you’re finished with Tower and Dungeon, there are some more menu options available. Paint lets you change Mochi’s colour, and it’s a nice feature to have, and does help to break up the browns, yellows and greens that dominate the game. There is also the Gallery menu, where you can see every slime that you have managed to rescue on your quest. From here, you’ll be able to read three or four words about each one. Again, it’s a nice feature to have and the game doesn’t suffer because of it. Ultimately though, neither really add to the core experience and are nothing special.
Like anything Ratalaika Games put out these days, the achievements are some of the easiest going; so easy that I was done in about half an hour. So if you’re on the lookout for some easy Gamerscore, pick this one up. If you aren’t, I’d recommend avoiding it. A bland colour palette and even blander level design means Mochi Mochi Boy on Xbox One becomes very repetitive, very quickly. The gameplay is too simple and stays that way throughout, and even though the Dungeon Mode can be challenging it does little to differentiate itself from the lacklustre Tower Mode. All in all, there is nothing remarkable here, and I can’t imagine anyone seeing the whole game through.