Once again, I’m back for this series! My last review concerned CHARON’s debut release, Mikoto Nikki. Now, it’s time to spotlight Mix Ore. The following review encapsulates my experience rereading it after almost a decade.
Now, let us enter this amnesiac tale of love and lies…
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 from 1 to 5. Bear in mind that I’ll adapt the system in order to fit visual novels as a medium.
CW: Discussions of sexual harassment, bullying and murder.
Mix Ore is another very short game that’s similar in length to Mikoto Nikki, clocking in at an average playtime of one hour and thirty minutes (the extra time is because you can’t skip already-read text). The game contains three separate stories, with two possible endings for each one: the “true” ending and the “bad” one.
The story begins with the protagonist, Kantarou, lying in a hospital bed, devoid of his memories after a certain accident. The story then branches depending on an initial choice, slowly shedding light on the protagonist’s background.
Characters — 7
In this game, there are three main heroines: Nagisa, Rikana, and Ayano. Each girl has a different story. Nagisa is Kantarou’s dedicated, lovey-dovey girlfriend! Rikana is his cute and tomboyish little sister. Finally, there’s Ayano, the protagonist’s adorable kouhai and the manager of his soccer club.
Two smaller things that hold this game back are the pacing and length of the story. Although all the characters are very cute and interesting, Mix Ore‘s short length keeps the player from delving more into them. One of the heroines has her own spinoff game, and I wish CHARON had made one for each of the other girls!
I will write about all of them in more detail in the “plot” section, so keep reading!
The game’s primary issue is the protagonist. As I mentioned in my last review, CHARON has a tradition of making their protagonists’ names end with -tarou, which is common for masculine names in Japanese. That holds true for Mix Ore, with Kantarou as our protagonist. While Kantarou’s amnesia makes it easier to excuse his boring personality (or lack thereof), it’s unfortunate to see another self-insert protagonist. I guess I’m just not a big fan of that trope.
Art — 7
In my opinion, Mikoto Nikki’s art feels more grounded and stable to me than Mix Ore‘s. The sprites in the latter game appear a bit rushed, and some of the CGs seem derpy, as if they were drawn in Paint with a mouse. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Some players may find that charming. But after playing Mikoto Nikki I found Mix Ore‘s CGs underwhelming.
The art was produced by Nekofuji Kaoru, the same person responsible for writing Mix Ore‘s scenario.
Atmosphere/Setting & Soundtrack — 6
Similarly to Mikoto Nikki, all the music in Mix Ore is free and comes from Amacha Music Studio, Rengoku Teien, and Presence of Music. The tracks are simple, but they fit the mood of the game, just like the sound effects included (which were provided by The MatchMakers 2nd)!
My favorite track is this one; it feels a bit unsettling before it returns to normal again.
Writing — 5
As in Mikoto Nikki, the writing in this game isn’t anything particularly worthy of praise. In addition, terriball’s English translation could have been polished more.
Plot — 6,5
As I said at the beginning of this review, Mix Ore tells three short stories and we get one different subject for each heroine. I will talk about each of them but I will have to hide most of it because, duh, spoilers.
Strawberry Milk Route
This is Nagisa Ichigaulait’s route. She loves you dearly as her boyfriend and she’s not shy about it!
Overall, my score for this route is 6/10.
Honestly, it bothers me how Kantarou just forgives Nagisa and realizes he loves her after SHE KILLED HIS ACTUAL GIRLFRIEND. Like, bro, don’t be a simp.
I also wish that the relationship between Sanae and Kantarou, and Nagisa’s backstory, were explored a little more, but alas, this is a very short game.
Honey Milk Route
Ah, yes! This is the little sister route. She’s actually my favorite of them all; I just love how cute and tomboyish she looks!
I wish I could have seen more of her, though if I recall correctly, we do get to know more about her in her own spinoff game, Millefiori. I will play it soon, so look forward to it!
This route gets a 7/10 from me.
Unfortunately, our time with her seems shorter than before, since she disappears. I wish we had a longer Mix Ore remake for this reason.
Cafe au Lait Route
My second favorite heroine gets attention in this route … Ayano Cafeaulait, the dedicated kouhai and soccer club manager!
I give this route a solid 7/10!
Although the choices don’t create any significant changes to the story or dialogue, the horrible dialogue options, all in forms of sexual harassment, provide the player with something of interest.
I love how Ayano gets her revenge in the true ending, but I must admit that seeing her lose her memory after we almost kill her is a good ending, too. It’s ironic, in a way.
Mechanics & Gameplay — 5
Just like Mikoto Nikki, this game was made in RPG Maker 2000. It’s mostly used for the time between days which allows the player to interact with their room and discover more about themselves or the girls. However, since we can’t skip until unread text appears, the game’s pacing suffers greatly. One thing to do to avoid this is to save right before an important choice happens. The player is allowed to access the save point the night before the last day, but it still takes some time to get to the choice itself from there. Since that’s the choice that decides the player’s outcome, it affects Mix Ore‘s replay value.
As is typical of CHARON games, many choices are included that only affect one or two lines. Some of these choices can give the player an idea of what they want the protagonist to sound like (this is best seen in Ayano’s route, in my opinion), but it’s not true interactivity.
Speaking of choices, if the player is too lazy to see what the true choices are for each ending, there’s a guide that can help with that.
Enjoyment — 7
I’ve gotta say, I enjoyed Mikoto Nikki more because of how the game works with its short playtime. If you really want to enjoy Mix Ore without feeling like you are rushing, play each story in separate days!
Although this entry is weaker, it includes different character flavours (pun intended) for different tastes!
No need to overthink things—just take a sip and enjoy!
As for my score, I give Mix Ore a 3/5. There are many more games to come, so I can’t wait for my score to go up!