Review by Skarm

"MMPPP at it's finest"

Mermaid Melody: Pichi Pichi Picchi Pichi Pichitto Live Start (MMPPPPPLS from now on) can simply be described as DDR for GBA. To really understand this, I'll have to give you a bit of background information on the game. It's based of the anime series Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, where a group teen mermaids turn into girls, end up falling in love, defeat evil sea monsters by singing etc. You may think this sounds stupid as hell, but I didn't even know this until I watched an episode of the anime.

Basically, the game takes the numerous songs from the anime and puts them in a DDR style environment. It's very addicting, and well worth the play time. It is in fact the only GBA game to date that I've actually picked up to play often, and constantly. Don't let the anime reference scare you off, all you non-fans out there. To tell the truth, I never even watched Anime, and wasn't even a fan at all of it until I played this game.

Anyways now onto the actual review, and I'll break it down on why this game is so great and deserves more attention:

Graphics (10/10)

Basically it's like watching Anime, and playing at the same time. The intro "fmv" to the game is taken directly from the series, and the numerous backgrounds as you're playing the game are interactive. Due to this, it gets a perfect score. You'll realize this is going to be a pattern here. I like the movie backgrounds, I like the intro video, I find that very any GBA games have those. MMPPPPPLS is the first game I've seen with such things, and thus it's getting a top rating for that.

Storyline (9/10)

I'm basing this off the fact that this game made me watch the anime. There's a story mode in the game, where there's these long drawn out intro scenes to each playing battle level. I couldn't make heads or tails of the actual storyline from playing this mode, but it interested me enough to watch some of the actual series. I found out that the storyline they used, though somewhat lacking to give you a good idea of what is actually going on, is entirely accurate. There are no destroyed storylines here, thank you very much Konami. The story here might not be good for all people, as it's the typical Romance frustration-save the world with special powers Anime type thing. Keep in mind that I wasn't an Anime fan before playing this game. It's that addicting and fun.

There are various other modes, but none of them have a storyline. You could think of these as exhibition and warm up matches. Still, to be fair, you can't say that DDR has any storyline either.

Gameplay (10/10)

The best the most important category in my mind. MMPPPPPLS delivers big time here. It's DDR on handheld! It's easy to pick up, and hard to do well. At first you'll get 90% ratings on Easy settings for most songs, then you'll quickly realize that you have to work your butt off to obtain 100%. Then you can move to Medium difficulty, and find that it's quite hard. Hard mode is of course, extremely hard. There's an Exhibition mode so to speak where you can select the song you want, the difficulty, and the variation. Variation meaning how many tricks and such you want. These range from the song randomly shooting arrows at you at a super fast speed, to certain symbols disappearing and a lot more.

There's the story mode of course, where you also get to choose difficulty and variation, but that is pretty straight forward. You have to do good enough in the song to defeat the enemy, to put it simply. I have never failed one, but then again I have only played through that on easy do to the tedium of watching the slow moving storyline between games.

Then the hardest part of the game. I'm going to call this mode Survival mode, because I don't know what else to call it. There are 100 songs you must survive. If you do to poorly, you lose your 100 health points quite fast. You can replay any song you want, but overall this is really hard and I've never managed to get past song 30 or so, even on easy. This mode gets hard very fast, as the variations mount to a point where it may deviate rapidly throughout the song. If you're looking for a major challenge, this is the mode for you.

Sound (9/10)

The game is based on music and sound, so this category is uniquely important to this game. I like the songs myself, I think they're full of energy so that they don't get boring. At least, they haven't gotten boring to me yet, and I've played them over and over trying to achieve 100%'s in every song on every difficulty. They may not be for everyone, because they are Japanese-Anime style, but they are good nonetheless. This game uses different layers of sound, because some songs give you the option of choosing the lead singer from one of the three main characters. While the songs only sound perfect when Luchia (the pink mermaid) is singing lead, I can't blame them for trying. This is the only reason that Sound does not get a 10/10 rating. It's a good idea to let them switch, but it makes the song sound a little off.

Controls (8/10)

Well, they're simple. Directional pad for the directional arrows, A and B for the other symbols. Easy to pick up, easy to play. Nothing complex here, but the size of the Directional Pad on the GBA makes it hard at times when there's a lot going on. This is my only complaint with the controls for MMPPPPPLS.

Overall (9/10)

MMPPPPPLS delivers. That's the best statement I can use to describe this. It's fun, it's addicting, and it has amazing replay value. Heck, this game even got me started into a few Anime series. While some may say that's not good, I don't really care. There's no reason not to try this game, I tried it when I was "against Anime" in general. You have no reason too. If I can ever find this game in English on a Cartridge, I'd buy it despite how much I've already played it. I cannot get enough of this, at least before you judge it, give it a chance.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/02/04

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