As you relax into your chair and watch the latest concert from Noriko (your favourite idol singer) on the television, something strange happens. She is suddenly sucked into some otherworldly portal and then...so are you! You find yourself in a mysterious forest and begin your quest to rescue her in this digital comic.

Gameplay is treated in a traditional manner, with a menu system allowing you to chose options such as look, examine, listen, use, move etc (all in Japanese) and the game flow consists of several areas to explore and find the way to escape. Some areas are standard maps that you move from location to location in, others are 3D corridors where you need to explore what is going on in the adjoining rooms to progress. You pick up objects along the way, including a small compact mirror in which you can communicate with Noriko.

As far as digital comics go, Kagami no Kuni no Legend is OK. Because of the exploration format of the game, it can take some perseverance to progress if you are unable to understand the language. To avoid complete frustration, it's probably best to at least familiarise yourself with what the basic commands are and knowing a little bit of katakana can be an advantage.

The story is a very cartoony affair, with silly characters that pop up to block your path. The makers also seem to have an obsession with mirrors and you'll find a lot of the early game is spent talking to them. I admit to getting stuck several times and it was only sheer tenacity that made me keep going until I found a way to progress. There are a few points where you can actually get a Game Over, so best to save a lot, but luckily these are pretty infrequent. Defeating the final guardian in the game was somewhat of a chore, as you keep getting wiped out if you choose the wrong thing (and bluffing around in the Japanese menu system means this happens often), so you have to really pay attention and try and try again.

Graphically it is generally decent enough to look at. The chip music is unremarkable (sometimes a bit annoying) and many areas are concluded with a sequence in which Noriko performs her songs accompanied by some animation that really shows how strapped they were for memory on the original CD System card. The songs aren't exactly J-Pop at it's highest standard, but at least she's in tune most of the time and if you love all that cheesyness you might get a kick out of it.

So in conclusion, Kagami no Kuni no Legend has enough visual niceness to warrant playing if you're a fan of digital comics, but loses some points on the 'stupid westerner' scale for getting tedious when you can't work out what the hell you are supposed to do next. Give it a try if this is your kind of thing.




Gameplay Video Visual Scenes (audio edited out for copyright reasons)

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