Moe Mekuri 2 萌めくり2

A new Moe Mekuri is here! Just like the previous game, the goal is simply to flip over all the panels face up. Can you complete all the stages and add the cute girls' pictures to the gallery? The higher the difficulty level, the less clothing the girl in the picture will wear! It's a Moe-moe puzzle game that perfectly reflects on the developer's interests!

Kohei Gallery has been making XNA games for some time now and hit gold with the incredibly successful Moe Mekuri (????), a tile flipping puzzle game which offered plenty of challenges and stellar presentation. While the general sex appeal afforded by having girls in their summertime dress on the cover helped cement the game's place among the most downloaded as other developers have exploited to their benefit, Kohei Gallery's Moe Mekuri truly is an excellent, XBLA-worthy game and a must for puzzle fans. The developer even released a free DLC update which added more puzzles, making the already wonderful game even more of a bargain at its 80 points selling price.

Thus, when Moe Mekuri 2 appeared on in the Games Marketplace, it was an instant purchase, even at the new, higher price of 240 points. The first game certainly deserved it, and the sequel appeared to be of the same high quality. For the most part, it is. Moe Mekuri 2 has a new batch of high definition artwork depicting girls gradually losing their clothing as the player advances solving the game's puzzles, including an appearance by Ai from Maid_san's Caving Adventure. The vocal soundtrack, available for sale though only within Japan, is just as catchy and more plentiful this time around. So, why the more lukewarm reception?

It's because Kohei changed the game. In the original Moe Mekuri, players guided a cursor over a board, manually flipping tiles looking to clear the grid. Now, players lose that freedom of choice, limited to rotating specified tiles which redirect launched balls as they travel across the grid. Yes, though the visual of flipped tiles is still there, Moe Mekuri 2 is no longer a traditional tile flipping puzzle game. The goal in the sequel is to guide these balls, released at set points from the edge of the board, so that they turn over the panels. There's a disconnect here due to the change in approach, and while the puzzles remain solid in their own right, the joy of deriving the solution is less so this go around.

Each board will announce how many turns are required to solve the puzzle. Thus, if the game states that two turns are needed, the player surveys which panels can be interacted with on the grid and make adjustments which he or she believes will clear the board. The limited interaction and beginning hint in many ways makes Moe Mekuri 2 an easier game than its predecessor. It's not without its challenge, particularly in the later stages where more moves are required, but it's relatively simple track the possible outcomes given the limited possibilities. Moe Mekuri 2's puzzle design is still high quality stuff, but for fans of the original and particularly those expecting more of the same, it's here where the game disappoints some.

By the time of this review, Kohei Gallery has released an update, Moe Mekuri 2.5, but unfortunately this isn't the tremendous bonus we saw in the first game. Moe Mekuri 2 found itself pulled from the market for a short while as someone complained about the scantily clad girls featured. Fans of the first game will remember one of the girls just had bandages covering her nipples in her hard mode outfit, and Kohei extended that to basically every girl in the sequel. Apparently, this was too much and was removed with the update, making those who jumped on the game at launch having something of a rare edition of the game.

It's nice to own the uncensored version of the game, but it's far from the reason people became fans -- or should have become fans -- of the series. Despite reservations of the change in formula, Moe Mekuri 2 is an excellent puzzle game though just not as good as the original hit. Newcomers would be advised to check out the original and consider giving the sequel a trial run. It's a deserving game in its own right, just not the game fans wanted.

★★★★☆
November 30, 2011
September 2, 2011 | 240 points
Developer | Video | Download

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