MazM: The Phantom of the Opera Switch Review – The Best Seats in the House
Title: Mazm: Phantom Of The Opera
Developer: Growing Seeds
Release Date: March 25, 2021
Reviewed On: Switch
The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most famous and commonly adapted pieces of media of all time. This pseudo-mystery gothic romance story has been told and retold in countless forms since it first appeared serialized in a French newspaper in March of 1910. Since then, we’ve had movies, television series, novels, radio productions, one of the most famous theatre performances of all time, and more, relevantly, video games. However, there aren’t many.
Korean developer Growing Seeds has seen the potential in these public domain stories, which lead to the creat the MazM series. Come 2019 and Mazm: The Phantom of The Opera was released for mobile devices before being published by CFK for the Nintendo Switch. An adventure game adaptation of classic literature, how could I not want to pick it up?
Mazm: The Phantom of The Opera uses a nameless private detective as our framing device for the story. This stylish truth seeker has been hired in the early 1900s by a young woman to investigate the death of her father, Joseph Buquet, a stagehand who died working at the Palais Garner Opera house some thirty years ago. He ventures his way out to the opera house to find anyone who could shed light on the mysteries surrounding it.
Questioning the townspeople at the theatre leads him to the story of the mysterious Phantom of the Opera. This strange being once lurked within the Palais Garner with a permanent hold on box five, the best and most expensive seats in the house. Further, it’s learned that bad things happen whenever people disobey the Phantom’s whims.
Around the time of Joseph Buquet’s death, he’d taken an obsession with one of the singers, Christine Daaé. Secretly tutoring and manipulating her as “the angel of music.” He plans to keep her under control and transform for her to become the darling of the theatre.
These plans are met with a spanner in the works when a distant childhood friend of Christine, the Viscount Raoul de Chagny, witnesses her first starring role and becomes enamored with her. The Phantom, fearful that his pupil will abandon him for Raoul, threatens and abuses her to keep her within his ghostly grasp, all the while concocting methods to take back control of the Opera.
Mazm: Phantom of the Opera uses chibi overworld sprites where you will guide the current viewpoint character from one place to another, triggering decently long-lasting discussions and plot movement. You’ll be able to examine your surroundings for your character’s thoughts and find hint coins you can spend on if you’re stuck. The title is very clear about your objectives, so you’ll always have them in abundance.
Each character’s design has been somewhat modernized for the current era, and the art is excellent. The CGs are very sparse, but they are imposing. If you’ve experienced the story of The Phantom of the Opera before, you’ll find this more in line with the novel’s version of the story, but there are a bunch of liberties taken. Changes in an adaptation can be questionable, but here they’re fantastic.
The initial framing device of the detective is new, and a lot of one-note characters have more substantial roles. Certain scenes are definitely made to make the Phantom appear much more threatening and whilst Christine may not be a fighter, she takes on even less of a damsel role than before.
There is no explicit options menu, and thus no way to adjust music or sound effect volume. You can switch your point in the story or read previous parts of the script at any point you’re able to move. The tips menu is extremely in-depth, going into the history of the real-life portions of the story and various contextual terms. The character profiles are constantly updating, so you can take a break and come back without getting lost.
For some reason, though, when reading through tips and profiles, the control stick controls are inverted, which had me stumped when reading for a while until I figured it out accidentally. The + and – keys on the Nintendo Switch serve the very important purpose, of disconnecting the controller. I’m not even going to ask who came up with that and why.
Additionally, every time you gain control of a character, the game freezes up to eight seconds. Every. Single. Time. You do get used to it after a while, but it’s extremely annoying. You can speed up the cutscenes too, but you can’t speed up the walk-cycle which can feel very slow at points.
Mazm: The Phantom Of The Opera is an extremely good adaptation that turns the classic novel into an enjoyable adventure game, and updates it for the modern audience. It faithfully recreates what the original story did well and improves upon what didn’t stick as much. Whether you’ve only heard the name of the story or you’ve seen multiple variations of the tale, you’re sure to get something out of this title, despite the strange lag.
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