Platform: SNES, Wii
Billed as an RPG for beginners, Mystic Quest provides an experience so simple that my cat could win it if you gave her plenty of catnip and a turbo controller.
Released after Final Fantasy IV and before VI, Square decided to release this in America rather than Final Fantasy V. I realize RPGs hadn’t quite taken the country by storm yet, but the answer was not releasing an easier game. Some of the NES RPGs were difficult, or at least annoyingly time-consuming, but the SNES release of Final Fantasy IV was fairly easy and beginner friendly. What Mystic Quest does is remove virtually all of what limited challenge exists in RPGs and holds the player’s hand from beginning to end. This would be tolerable if the story was fantastic, but the plot is a retread from the original Final Fantasy.
As for the game mechanics, I’ll give the game credit for making everything work really slick. It certainly is beginner friendly. There are no random encounters, so you always know what you’re going to fight and when. There are only two characters, so managing each battle is straightforward. The graphics are very clean, if unimaginative. Bizarrely, the enemies look really good, while the playing characters are bland as are most of the backgrounds.
I think I pushed through this game because I was young, had no other RPGs to play, and it was never annoying. But if this was the first RPG I had ever played, I doubt it would have inspired me to see what else the system had to offer.