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200% Mixed Juice! (PC) artwork

200% Mixed Juice! (PC) review

"Unfamiliar Cameo Pokémon"

Most of the time I have exactly zero idea of what is going on in 200% Mixed Juice. It introduces and then abandons characters rapid fire, giving them half a minute to establish themselves then banishes them to the shadows as soon as they’re defeated. You’re already supposed to know who they are; the game’s specifically designed that way. It’s a Tenth Anniversary celebration of all the titles published under the Orange Juice doujin of which I’ve played exactly one, QP Shooting Dangerous, which, itself, already assumes you’re familiar with the cast. 200% borrows heavily from that title, but also plucks from the cast of SUGURI, 100% Orange Juice and Red Flying Barrel, among others. I’d imagine that returning fans of the developer (for which there is a decent number) will be overjoyed as the sixty or so cameos are rolled out. It was chaos for me. I’m not adverse to a little slice of chaos.

That these encounters are shot out and then forgotten so quickly means that it’s not really a big deal that you don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s not important to the overall scheme in which all these people exist for only two reasons – to be defeated and to be collected as cards. 200% is a simplified Pokémon-esque RPG spearheaded by a protagonist whose name is protagonist, and is guided by a flying pudding angel called Navi. She’s probably making fun of her Zelda counterpart but stops short of shouting “Hey! Listen” until your ears bleed and instead gets busy declaring war on the fourth wall. What unfolds is pure Japanese bedlam, poking fun at how characters are too similar to each other right down to sharing the same colour scheme or arguing about which dopey overly-energetic girl is the most dopey and overly-energetic. There are speeches about the power of friendship, because of course there are, and enough text drops to make a visual novel jealous.

200% Mixed Juice! (PC) image

Your first battle has you trying to protect a fleeing dog girl from a seagull that’s trying to steal the piece of bread in her mouth. This introduces you to your cards which you use to battle against other cards using a clearly marked stone-scissors-paper mechanic that’s easy to understand. All cards are recorded as one of the three symbols and using attacks of their corresponding weakness is super effective. Winning these battles gifts you with experience which level ups your hand, and stars which you can use to purchase random cards from set points in each map. At the start of each round, you roll a dice which grants you the amount of SP you have at your disposal. You spend SP on attacks.

Sometimes it’s as straightforward as that. Sometimes it’s not. Bad dice rolls or expensive attacks might mean you need to defend a few rounds to stock up on SP and hope you have decent enough stats to survive the unanswered onslaught. You probably do; if anything, 200% exists on the easy side of the spectrum, troubling boss fights are just a switch up of cards or a spot of grinding away from overcoming. Or you can try and find the right combination of cards to try and merge. Most combines work via an item that you sometimes obtain when spending stars on buying cards, or, sometimes, if you match two friendly cards together they become a double team. Of course, lack of familiarity makes this a painful slog of trial and error as you try to mash cards together that stubbornly refuse to merge, but late game battles against fully evolved enemies give you some clue as to which pairings work.

200% Mixed Juice! (PC) image

But a lot of people don’t need those hints; there’s a decent underground following for the quirky little games Orange Juice have been quietly kicking out from the Orient for ten years now made all the more obvious by the well-populated online battles you can just stroll into without much of a wait. It’s easy to select your mode of choice (like nuking every card to level 1 to completely even the fields, or banning certain rarity tiers from battle) and throw pixel-mapped chibi trading cards at each other until one of you loses. 200% Mixed Juice is a simple, short game that might only last you a handful of hours. Unless you feel the need to collect them all. Or want to hunt down that last elusive combine. Or that one guy on the online battles has been kicking your arse and you need to power-level a new card to put bigger dents in his rock-style starter. In that case, you might be here a while.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (October 26, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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