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Makoto Mobius – Review

How is everyone doing this fine day? I have been feeling inspired so here comes my next title!

For today, I offer you my review of the next work in the CHARON series – I hope you enjoy!

Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…
Mobius, I beg of you…

Note: As always, I’ll be using the CAWPILE system to rate the game—each category will receive a score from 1 to 10, with the entire game receiving a score of 1 to 5. Do bear in mind that I’ll adapt the system in order to fit visual novels as a medium.

CW: Discussions of sexual assault, incest, pedophilia and murder.

Makoto Mobius, just like the other two previous CHARON games, is short in form – a total average of 2 hours, though a lot of it is due to us players being unable to skip the introduction bit. The game has 7 endings in total, 6 of them being bad endings and the other one the True Ending. I will be hiding the spoilers in this review, but since the game is so short, I encourage you to play at least one ending before reading ahead.

Honestly, I left this game feeling a bit underwhelmed…. This game is a popular pick, but personally, I find it the weakest title. The flow of the game was a bit too slow and short for my taste; this is a pattern I’ve been noticing as I replay these games — they have interesting concepts, nice enough art, but the writing is rushed and lacks depth. I noticed it’s somewhat better in the latest titles, but it’s sad to see these stories left so undeveloped.

The story follows Watarou and his mission to save his classmate – Makoto – from her inevitable death. To achieve that, Makoto’s best friend – Mikio – tells him a type of spell that can send you back in time to your desired location.
What will he do to save Makoto from impending doom?

Characters — 6

Like always, our protagonist is not the focus of this tale and it shows. Everyone in this story is more interesting than him, even Makoto’s dad who appears only once or twice. He’s just a blank canvas left forgotten — not even one bit of personality put into him, just shallow motivations and that’s it.

I would honestly love to see more of Mikio — she was my favorite and I got the feeling she was more into Makoto than it meets the eye, if you get what I mean. That would explain her behavior somewhat.

I wish CHARON would flesh out more their characters or at least give the reader reasonable explanations as to why certain things happen or characters behave the way they do.

Art — 8

The art was produced by Nekofuji Kaoru, the same person responsible for writing the previous CHARON games’ scenarios. He always delivers when it comes to art! It gives me the kind of nostalgia only this artstyle can. I also enjoyed the character design a lot — Mikio’s especially. Unfortunately, though, we only have a few sprites for each character and it can feel a bit dull at times.

Atmosphere & Soundtrack — 7

I love these little songs so much. They set the mood and you never get tired or bored of them. They are nothing too grand but they also don’t feel too generic.
It certainly adds to the mystery and suspense while you are exploring.

Credits to IvyMaze and Maou Damashii!

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Writing — 4

So far this has been my biggest enemy with CHARON titles. I will say, however, that I see it getting better! I hope these improvements keep happening with time and experience.

The writing is slow and feels rushed, as I mentioned before. I can feel the passion in there, but it’s not enough to compensate the messy narrative and wording. Because of that, I couldn’t connect with the story and, since we’re just dropped into the story with no emotional connection to any of the characters, I did not feel the motivation behind the protagonist’s actions and determination.

Plot — 6

So, from the game’s synopsis, you get to Makoto’s house to try and save her. The main “catch” is that for Makoto to live, someone else must die in her place.

As you go around the house, you can do different things that will either get you new options of action or directly lead you to one of the 7 endings.
I personally do not tend to love these types of stories, where each ending portrays a character in a completely unique way, completely ignoring previous narratives — however, the way they were all interconnected here (if you followed them in order, that is) made me appreciate them.

Though the concept is very curious, the execution feels a bit forced at times due to the story just rushing to the big conflict part of the story without time to build any connection to the characters.

While the game somewhat explores time travel in a more limited time and space period, it is only to show the inner troubles our main heroine has to deal with. And this is where I go into spoiler territory…

For each ending, we see a different aspect of said troubles.

#1 — I was Watching

In this ending, you simply leave Makoto’s house without doing anything. You don’t interfere with her tragic fate, peeping on her room from the outside instead. Now, in case you are reading this and you haven’t played this game yet, I’m going to describe what we see.

Makoto’s father is shown to often sexually assault his daughter; that day, he decided to kill himself and take her with him, but backs off last minute and ends up only killing Makoto. You see all this but, thanks to the time loop, she will keep repeating the same day…

While I don’t think sexual assault especially is treated with its due respect, I also don’t feel like it’s sexualizing it or there solely for the shock factor. It adds to her sense of despair, especially since it’s her own father who does that and kills her — someone who is supposed to protect and provide for you, to be there when you need him. Someone who lives with you every day (when you are a teen like her) and has a power dynamic you are vulnerable against, especially as a girl.

I found it interesting that her father did not have the guts to finish it all, killing only her and running away. It just shows how utterly egoistic and horrible his mentality was. Violence like this will leave you scarred in one way or another — be it repulsion or “attraction” to certain people, or even apathy. The latter one is what we see Makoto’s behavior as, and it’s one sign that can be ignored for so long because it’s not “in your face”, especially if the victim doesn’t talk about it or doesn’t know it’s not okay.

#2 — Dependence

This one is pretty straightforward. You — the player — discover the truth about her father in ending 1, so in this ending you get the kitchen knife and kill him. Makoto survives the night and recovers over time, finally looking more alive. However, she soon discovers you killed her father and accuses you of murder; you explain what would have really happened. She insists he was only a victim and kills herself, unable to bear it all.

The way she explains how “he did nothing wrong” really portrays the way trauma and grooming can affect people, especially children and teenagers who are still very dependent on their parents. The fact that her mother had left them and they only had each other was even more pressure for her.

#3 — Mikio’s Desired Future

You decide to use the telephone in the kitchen and call Mikio for help. You tell her Makoto will die that very night and that someone needs to take her place for her to survive. As soon as she hears this, she thanks you and hangs up; the next morning, you discover Mikio commits suicide in order to save Makoto. It ends in a bittersweet way, as Makoto mourns her friend’s death, regretting this future.

I enjoyed the realistic way it faces this problem — Makoto being bitter at this result but eventually resigning herself to this reality. It’s not meant to solve any problem in a satisfactory way, and I like how it recognizes that; it’s a bad ending, after all.

… Just kidding! She actually avenges Mikio by killing you, since there must be other ‘Watarous’ around in other realities. Ending 3 — Unforgivable.

I feel like this last bit is more for shock value but it really shows how co-dependent she is on others who seem to care for her. First her father, then her best friend. I could be overanalyzing it but murdering someone because they indirectly influenced a suicide is messed up and really shows how frail her mental state is.

#4 — Someone, Somewhere

I haven’t noticed when I first played it, but I’m noticing how each ending follows the other — kind of like the protagonist is learning from his mistakes and trying new things.

This time, you try to drug Makoto’s father with sleeping pills as to avoid the tragedy without killing anyone. However, fate is a cruel mistress… When you ensure Makoto’s safety and return home, you find your house burning in flames. Your mother dies, in exchange for Makoto’s life.

The feeling you can’t trick fate is a constant theme of the whole game, but this one really shows how easy it is for you to destroy your own life when time travel is involved…

#5 — Punishment for Resignation

This is… a weird and morbid one. As you finally understand how futile it is to try and change fate, you decide to put Makoto out of her misery; you grab the kitchen knife and approach her bed. She opens her eyes, thanking you for coming to save her — and that’s when you stab her. Quite poetic, isn’t it?

It’s still not over. Suddenly, you get hit in the head by Mikio, who refuses this reality and prays so she can kill you right off the start in the next reality, thus saving Makoto.

This ending, along with the third one, really shows just how obsessive Mikio can be over Makoto. For her, anyone is an object she can use to save Makoto. In a sense, she is the true yandere of the story — just hopelessly devoted to someone else.

#6 — Endless June 23rd

So, you tried everything you could think of. Time for some exploring! You end up finding her diary and read it. Afterwards, you decide to leave her house but she stops you from leaving, telling you she knows this is all a time loop prison and so, she wishes for you to stay with her forever…. It ends with Mikio observing you, as if she knows more than she lets on.

I’m not sure if she is just jealous of you for being near Makoto, but she really is suspicious, as if she is the one controlling this curse; though that would contradict ending 3.

True End — Classmate

The way you get to this is similar to the sixth one, except in this you also grab the kitchen knife. As you leave her home, you realize something from previous timelines… no matter what you did, one person had to die that day — be it her or someone else in her place. You tried everything…. Well, everything but one thing. You decide to kill yourself and disappear from this world as the irregularity you feel like. Everything is in its place, and she is now free from the curse.

Honestly, this might just be the grand sacrifice and all, but it felt underwhelming. I mean, weren’t they classmates? Didn’t they barely know each other? It’s surprising enough he even decided to try and save her in the first place, to be honest. Maybe it’s just what poor view of himself and no perspective of future does to someone, but he really did not find any value in his life — maybe Mikio’s speech finally got to him?

Mechanics & Gameplay — 5

Almost every CHARON game — especially the oldest ones — contains a part of gameplay in RPGM form. This time, that happens whenever you are exploring and interacting with Makoto’s house. It’s a means to an end and there isn’t anything that sets it apart. It could easily be switched for a normal choice like in most VNs — although I do enjoy more the act of directly interacting with the objects myself.

Enjoyment — 7

Even with all its shortcomings, this is still a nice read — especially if you enjoy time loops and all the drama that comes with it. However, I will remind you this is a short story and isn’t as developed, so beware that.

I still think it has its own charm and it’s still one of the first titles from CHARON, so I’m not judging very harshly. The art is very adorable and somewhat unique and it’s mostly what makes me keep reading these stories — aside from their fun and interesting concepts!

I’m looking forward to the next title — The Dark Side of Red Riding Hood — as it was one of my favorites from my childhood and one of my introductions to CHARON.


Weird little gremlin who likes all the fucked up stuff; if a story doesn't leave you in shambles, what's even the point? Functional fujoshi, at your service.

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