Hexamoon Guardians happens to be one of these games. A quick Google Search reveals that the only mention of this game in the English speaking world appears to be for database projects and the like… so why not shed some light on things?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: One thing, Main Character McMC is living his normal school days when suddenly a giant robot piloted by a cute girl crashes into his life. Soon, he finds himself surrounded by a bevy of ladies, each with their own unique mecha in order to defend the world from those that threaten it.
Hexamoon Guardians is primarily a Visual Novel but in each chapter, you’ll get to participate in a Turn-Based Strategy Battle. While you may see a handful of stats such as accuracy or energy which may be reminiscent of SRPGs, you can safely ignore them as what is needed to win each battle is the ability to read simple objectives and not charge your units in blindly into an enemy pack.
Instead, the system is rather simple, as each unit has a basic attack and a special attack that can be used when a Super Meter has been charged up. While there are some interesting features such as knockback and collateral damage where you can smash enemies into buildings and they will in turn rampage through the scenery to get to your units, do not be expected to be pushed to your intellectual limits.
There are no RPG elements like leveling up or unit customization. What you see is what you get. Just like a certain other Mecha Strategy Game/Visual Novel hybrid, this is clearly aimed at a more “casual” audience.
Aesthetically, the game feels rather retro with an artstyle that’s crisp and draws heavy influence from its time period – if you dislike the way modern Anime look nowadays and long for the old days of the 90s, you’ll find this to be a breath of fresh air.
The game actually does have some technical accomplishments going for it – for example, it has “talking animations” during its Visual Novel segments, which makes them feel a lot more dynamic than the simple “static sprites” of many Visual Novels. It also has full voice acting – which was not an industry standard at that point of time.
In addition, every attack in the game has its own unique FMV sequence and each mecha has its own unique “launch” animation. They look good, but invariably become old once you’ve seen them enough times.
However, you can chalk this up to giving the game a rather “old-timey feel” back when Anime used a lot of stock footage, especially mecha anime with its finishers.
Strangely enough, despite the set-up of the game, one potential disappointment is that it is completely linear – there are no specific romance endings with any of the girls.
Given that the budget seems to have went to the animations and that the simple gameplay might be enjoyable the first time but grating on replays, perhaps this is simply for the best.
And as a minor storyline gripe, as the game goes on and more character join the team, it feels to me that the character/mecha match-up feels like they were throwing darts at a wall rather than being an extension of their personality: for example, the athletic, sporty girl pilots a swift, lightly armored flyer, while the Japanese Ninja-like girl instead pilots… an extremely armored, massive ground-pounder of a robot. Huh?
As a Strategy Game/Visual Novel, one can potentially speculate that Hexamoon Guardians might have been developed to cash in on the craze of Sakura Taisen somewhat – except on the PSX rather than Sega consoles… like the Danganronpa to Phoenix Wright/Zero Escape series.
Unfortunately, judging from its extreme obscurity, it clearly wasn’t much of a success. Alas, it could perhaps have made a decent and entertaining Anime adaptation if had gained enough of a start.
If you had brought the game at full price, perhaps some disappointment might have been in order but at this point of time, it’s highly likely that you can find this game for extremely cheap. If you’re hankering to create some nostalgic Anime Mecha memories, then pick this up, perhaps you’ll find it to be a rather enjoyable experience.