[Vita Review] Mind Zero
Mind Zero is an action-packed dungeon-crawler RPG for the PlayStation®Vita system. Play as Kei, a high school student whose life turns upside down when he forms a contract with a “MIND,” a weapon/being with deadly powers. With the government and other forces trailing him and his friends, Kei will need to discover the secret behind “MIND.” Will these newfound powers help him or ultimately be his doom?
For some reason the government is telling people that MIND is a drug that is affecting some if the members of the population, in order to try and explain why some individuals are acting violently, shouting about demons and magic.
After running into someone “under the influence” of MIND, Kei is taken to a weird store run by a woman called the Undertaker. He is told to select a weapon there, but he has to be careful because selecting the wrong weapon will bring instant death… but if you choose wisely, you will enter into a pact with a MIND, thus unlocking power beyond your imagination. Oh, and you HAVE to select a weapon, or you will never be able to leave the Undertaker’s sanctum.
With everything that is going on, your group decides to find shelter with Detective Ogata, a mysterious man that supposedly can vanquish demons. Since he seems to know a thing or two about MINDs, and of what is really going on, the kids are thrilled about this situation. The detective will provide you with valuable information and advice, but he will also require your help with his research, and, therefore, he will present to you some requests to investigate the labyrinths behind the mysterious doors that are appearing out of thin air.
Now, on to the battle system. As is the case with pretty much ALL dungeon crawlers, in Mind Zero you will run into random battles as you walk around each labyrinth. During each fight, you must always keep an eye on the 3 bars for each character: HP, MP and TP. Hp is your health bar, and once it runs out the character will collapse and won’t be able to fight anymore. MP is the bar for your MIND, and it will go down with every hit you receive while your MIND is active. Once this bar runs out, you will enter into MIND break, losing a whole turn with no defense, and your MIND will be unavailable during your second turn. Finally, TP is what you need in order to use your skills, and this bar can recharge slowly on each turn, or you can use the Charge command to increase it twice as fast while you defend.
To add ANOTHER layer of customization to the mix, you can equip each of the characters with any of the magical cards you find, and this will in turn set the skills they can use. Basically, you could make any of the three characters in your active party take the role of healer, or maybe even make sure they can all have access to a healing skill. The higher your character’s level, the more cards you’ll be able to equip, and you will eventually be able to upgrade cards to unlock more powerful skills to aid you on your quest.
As you can see, there’s a lot to manage during each fight, but this also helps make things feel fresh and different from other dungeon crawlers. Staying in human form is a gamble in case you want to charge your TP to unleash a strong skill with your MIND during the next turn, so you must be careful and properly plan your strategy.
Since I played the game on hard, I had to do a couple of hours of grinding to be able to complete one of the labyrinths, so do take this into consideration if you’re going for a single trophy run. On hard, the game does not hold your hand, so you better be ready for it. At first you’ll think that money is hard to get, but grinding for experience points will also reward you with enough gold to upgrade your equipment.
As for trophies, the game features a full list, but if you’re going for the platinum you’ll need around 70+ hours depending on how lucky you are since one of the trophies requires that you obtain one of each item, and a large group of them are enemy drops.
Mind Zero is a great dungeon crawler with dozens of hours for you to enjoy. The likeable cast, good voice acting and interesting fight/customization mechanics make this a great choice for Vita owners who want to scratch that RPG itch. Just remember that if you want to go for the platinum in one go, you’ll have to be extremely careful as you play on hard.
[review pros=”Interesting gameplay mechanics.
Gret voice acting.
” cons=”Long loading time at the start of your session