Mystic Messenger

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Mystic Messenger
Mystic Messenger logo.png
Developer(s)Cheritz
Publisher(s)Cheritz
Platform(s)Android
iOS
ReleaseJuly 8, 2016 (Android)
August 18, 2016 (iOS)
Genre(s)Romance
Mode(s)Single-player

Mystic Messenger (Korean수상한메신저; RRSusanghan Mesinjeo, lit. "Mysterious Messenger") is a South Korean otome game or oriented visual novel game developed by Cheritz.[1] [2]It was released on July 8, 2016 for Android and August 18, 2016 for iOS. The game is described as a "storytelling messenger game" and is available in Korean, English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.[3]

In 2017, Mystic Messenger was awarded Best Indie Game at the 2017 Korea Game Awards.

Plot[edit]

In Mystic Messenger, the player takes the role of a female character whose name is chosen by the player.[4][5] The female protagonist downloads a mysterious app that leads her into living in either a closed, secured apartment owned by Rika, the founder of a charity organization known as the RFA (Rika's Fundraising Association), or the Mint Eye HQ.[6] She meets the remaining members of the RFA and is tasked to organize a party by inviting guests. In Another Story, Unknown tricks the protagonist into playing the game and brings you to Mint Eye, keeping you by his side. The protagonist is able to choose one out of 7 available routes, each with their own backgrounds, as well as finding out the truth behind the RFA.[4]

Characters[edit]

The following Korean romanization follows the official romanization from the game itself; it may be different from the usual pronunciation.

Main characters[edit]

Protagonist
She is often referred to as MC, which stands for Main Character. Her default avatar comes in 5 various appearances, but she appears to have brown, long silky hair and is drawn with her eyes hidden under bangs as shown in the CGs. After suddenly becoming a member of RFA and being forced to live in Rika's apartment, she takes Rika's role and organizes the party that the RFA members have been longing for. In the official webcomic adaptation, "Invitation of the Mystic Messenger", MC is given a new name, Hana Kang.
Jumin Han
Voiced by: Yongwoo Shin
Jumin Han (한주민, Han Ju-min) is a 27-year-old heir of C&R International, a company owned by his father.[7] He has short black hair, grey eyes and is always on business trips, he likes to wear tuxedos,[a] and is not used to 'commoner' food. Jumin is a cat lover claiming that only cats understand and are loyal to him. He owns a Persian cat named Elizabeth the 3rd and hates when someone else nicknames her - especially 707, who gives her the nickname "Elly". Due to his very privileged upbringing, Jumin has a very different perspective on the world, which often brings him into direct conflict with Zen. Regardless, he doesn't particularly seem to care what others think about him but does not hesitate to use his authority to help RFA members when one of them is in trouble.[8] He and V are childhood friends due to their family background and because of them being neighbors and schoolmates.
Jumin is also very close to his father and they often exchange gifts, though most of the gifts are extremely extravagant. He is not fond of his father's many on and off girlfriends. Jumin also loves wine and can hold his alcohol well. He enjoys teasing Zen and holds a complicated relationship with him.
Zen
Voiced by: Jang Kim
Zen (stylized as ZEN) is the stage name of Hyun Ryu (류현, Ryu Hyeon), a 24-year-old musical stage artist.[9] He has pale skin, red-brown colored eyes, and white-colored hair that is short at the front and long at the back, implying that he's an albino. Despite being a self-absorbed due to his looks, he wants people to acknowledge him for his skills and personality instead. Zen loves to workout and rehearse constantly to perfect his skills. He is seen to be oversensitive towards Jumin, nicknaming him "Mr. Trust Fund Kid" and refuses any help from him because he reminds him of his brother. He is allergic to cats (specifically cat fur), sneezing even when the word 'cat' is mentioned.[10] Zen is also very protective of the other members, especially the protagonist, and always warned her to be wary of the guys and their 'wolf attitude'. In Another Story, a running joke is how he has a lot of outdated electronic items he picks up from junkyards much to Yoosung's frustration.
Zen has an older brother who is a lawyer. In Zen's storyline, it is revealed that he has a difficult relationship with his parents and he left home at age 16 to pursue acting. He owns a motorbike kept in storage and was once rescued by V after an accident.
Zen's birthday is on April 1st and he became the focus in the game's April's Fools DLC.
707
Voiced by: Youngsun Kim
707, or his baptismal name Luciel Choi (최 루시엘, Choi Lusiel) is a 22-year-old genius hacker and intelligence agent, he is also the one who made the RFA Messenger app. 707, also referred to as Seven, has short curly red hair, amber eyes and is a self-proclaimed devoted Catholic who loves to eat junk food (especially Ph.D. Pepper and Honey Buddha Chips). He has a very mischievous attitude and loves cats in a 'unique' way. He tends to talk in a very strange way that none of the members understand except the protagonist. His hobbies include collecting sports cars and hacking. His house is so well guarded that it's required to speak Arabic to pass his security system. Despite his seemingly carefree, easy-going personality, he always warns the other members to "keep their distance" from him because of his job as a secret agent. 707 tends to break the 4th wall more than anyone in the game.
707, whose birth name is Saeyoung Choi (최세영, Choi Se-yeoung), grew up with his younger twin brother, Saeran, in a toxic household. They're illegitimate children whose father was a candidate for a presidential election at that time. This caused their mother to be driven into depression - she asked him for money in exchange for the information of the twins being kept secret, and so she kept them locked up in the house. Being the healthier twin, Saeyoung was tasked to occasionally do some errands which allowed him to briefly leave the house. On his way home, he met various people at a Catholic church as well as Rika who later helped convert him to Catholicism, and he gained his baptismal name Luciel. At the age of 15, Saeyoung was promised by V a better life for his brother in exchange for him working as a hacker and thus had to cease all contact with his family, leaving him unaware of what happened in his absence.
Yoosung
Voiced by: Kyuhyuk Sim
Yoosung Kim (김유성, Kim Yu-seong) is a 21-year-old college student and an addicted online gamer of a game called LOLOL (stands for League of Loneliness of Life), a parody of the MOBA League of Legends, he is ranked 2 in the server, with 707 apparently beating him in the first rank.[11] Due to his addiction, he doesn't have time for studying, despite being smart enough to get a scholarship at his school, SKY University, and get an internship offer from Jumin. Yoosung is also Rika's adoptive cousin, Rika was adopted by Yoosung's aunt who immediately regrets adopting Rika. He is unable to move on after her death, whom he admired so much even though they only met when he was a 6th grader.[12]
Rika was Yoosung's biggest influence. She's also the reason in Yoosung taking a medical major. Rika's death apparently hit him so hard that only playing LOLOL could distract him from his sadness. Due to this, he also initially compared the protagonist with Rika so much to the point that he would see her as Rika's replacement.
In Valentine's after ending, he appears to have cut his hair, abandoned his hairpins, wear red-framed glasses that the protagonist gave him in the after ending, and talks in a deeper tone.
Jaehee Kang
Voiced by: Jeonghwa Yang
Jaehee Kang (강제희, Kang Jae-hee) is currently the only female member of RFA besides the protagonist.[13] She is a 26-year-old Chief Assistant at C&R International and Jumin's personal assistant. She has brown pixie-cut styled hair, brown eyes and initially appeared as stoic, serious, and suspicious of the protagonist's sudden appearance. Despite this, she's a big fan of Zen, and her personality changes when she's talking about Zen. She tends to be overworked by Jumin and is forced to take care of Elizabeth the 3rd, even though she hates it when cat hair is all over her house. She is also forced to keep her hair short and wears glasses even though she has fine eyesight due to Jumin's policy.
Jaehee's mother married a man who was at least 20 years older than her who then died quickly. Her mother then died not long after that, forcing a relative to take care of young Jaehee despite their unwillingness. Because of that, Jaehee tends to not rely on other people and is also afraid that if she no longer works for C&R International, something bad will occur. In her route, she takes an interest in coffee and wants to open her own coffee shop. After retiring from C&R International, she let her hair grow and no longer wears glasses. Her route is the only route that is not explicitly romantic.[14]
V
Voiced by: Hosan Lee
V, whose real name is Jihyun Kim (김지현, Kim Ji-hyeon) is 27-years-old and a childhood friend of Jumin and the leader of RFA. He was Rika's fiancé and another person who was driven to sadness upon her death. V is very protective of his friends and would rather be put to blame or hide secrets from RFA to keep them from getting hurt. He does not appear in the messenger often and is often criticized for keeping too many secrets from RFA. It is revealed that he wears a pair of sunglasses to hide his eyes after getting into an accident where he began gradually losing his sight. V's eye injury was caused by Rika during one of her manic episodes. V has always suspected Rika's death was faked and he has been secretly posing undercover in Mint Eye as a disciple to get closer to Rika and Saeran. This is the reason why he has been inactive with the RFA and kept his actions a secret from the RFA, especially from Jumin and 707. In Another Story, he suspected that the protagonist was secretly being held hostage by Mint Eye and attempted several times to rescue her.
In the Secret Ending, he is accidentally shot and dies in the process during Saeran's rescue.
Initially being a side character, in September 2017, Cheritz released Another Story which allows the player to develop a relationship with V. The Another Story puts the main character 2 years prior to the main story shortly after Rika's "death". It is revealed that V's mother was a talented violinist who started to lose her hearing during her pregnancy with V. Having an unhappy marriage, his parents divorced and V was separated from his mother. While raised to follow his father's footsteps as a businessman, V's mother encouraged him to follow his true passion for arts, particularly drawing and painting.
In the Christmas 2016 DLC, it is revealed that V and Jumin often exchanged handwritten letters and that V has poor handwriting
Rika
Voiced by: Hyunjin Lee
Rika (리카) is adored by RFA's members since the organization was founded by her and V, her ex-fiancee. When she was "alive", she wanted to make everyone happy, with one method being a charity party to raise money for those in need. She had severe mental issues from an early age caused by her dad leaving her and her mother committing suicide. Her mental issues worsened after her dog, Sally, wound up dead due to her blindness. It is later found out that Rika is not dead, but instead founded Mint Eye, a cult that is after RFA. She attempts to steal party guests from the RFA to invite to her new organization. She claims that she wants the entire world to be happy, and wishes for them to come to "Paradise." She works with Unknown in Mint Eye and is called Savior by her followers.
Rika is not Yoosung's biological relative. Rika's DLC, "Rika Behind Story", explains her tragic upbringing and how her childhood affected her mental life as an adult. It is revealed that she was adopted by Yoosung's Aunt and Uncle but was treated poorly by her foster parents. She lived in an orphanage for sometime before being adopted and was estranged from her foster parents during the events of Mystic Messenger. She has a great relationship with Yoosung and his family and often encouraged Yoosung to find a positive purpose in life. Rika and V have impacted the lives of all the RFA members, it was Rika who first discovered Zen, encouraged Yoosung to do volunteer work and be a vet, gave Jumin Elizabeth, and met Seven and Saeran when they were still children at church.
In Another Story, it appears that Rika may show interest in the main character. One of the Bad Ending route options allows the player to be with Rika.
Unknown / Saeran / Ray
Voiced by: Kang Soo-jin
Unknown (also referred to as '???' in the visual novel mode and 'Ray' in Another Story) is a hacker who led the protagonist into Rika's apartment and is part of a mysterious cult called "Mint Eye". Unknown also appears to hold an especially strong grudge towards 707, and is revealed to be his twin brother in 707's route whose real name is Saeran. He appears as an antagonist and causes most of the bad endings in the game.
In 707's Secret Endings 707 rescues Unknown and begins the long process of rehabilitating Saeran from the effects of Mint Eye's brainwashing.
Unknown's real name is Saeran and he is the twin brother of 707. He was the weaker of the twins and was often abused and locked up by their mother. Sometime after 707 was recruited into the intelligence agency, Rika and V rescued Saeran but the rescue was short-lived as Rika started to slowly groom Saeran to be a hacker and kidnapped and brainwashed him into Mint Eye soon after.
In Another Story, he is called Ray and appears to have a split personality who is referred to as Saeran. Ray lures the main character into Mint Eye under the premise of her testing a game, trying to convince her that people from the RFA are AI's and not real people. Saeran's personality is very aggressive, arrogant, and full of rage while Ray is very gentle, thoughtful, and clingy towards the main character, both have an unwavering loyalty towards Rika.
At the end of his route, his two personalities become one, and he is referred to as Saeran, although the MC can still choose to call him Ray.
Saeran also exhibits many traits of borderline personality disorder, such as a distorted sense of identity, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, severe mood shifts, an intolerance for being alone, impulsive and self-damaging behavior, and an immediate and intense attachment to the MC. His voice actor Kang Soo-jin, who himself is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, has interpreted Saeran as having the diagnosis as well, which he discusses in his Free Talk for Secret 02.
Vanderwood
Voiced by: Gyuchong Lee[15]
Vanderwood (벤더우드) is another agent working in the same agency as 707, he serves as someone who is tasked to make sure 707 is working, he also cleans 707's house. He brings a taser gun and an Arabic dictionary due to 707's security gate. He is initially introduced as 707's maid almost every time and in the earlier versions of the artbook[b]

Minor Characters[edit]

Choi Sarah
Choi Sarah is one of the main antagonists of Jumin's route and the sister of Glam Choi.
Choi Glam
Choi Glam is one of the main antagonists of Jumin's route and the sister of Sarah Choi.
Chairman Han
Jumin's Father
Carolyn Han
Jumin's Mother
Chief Kim
V's Father
V's Mother (Name is unknown)
Echo Girl
Echo Girl is the main antagonist of Zen's route.
Believers
Believers only appear in Another Story and are members of the Mint Eye cult.
Saejoong Choi
The illegitimate father of Saeyoung Choi(707) and Saeran Choi(Unknown/Ray) who is one of the main antagonists in Ray's route.

Gameplay[edit]

The story lasts for 11 days per route.[1][16] The first day concerns the game's prologue, three days for the "common route", six days focusing on a route of a character, and one day for the party.[16] The game plays in real time, where players can receive text messages and join the group chat in a special messenger.[17][18][19] Throughout conversations in the first four days, the player can give responses to certain characters to increase their likability with them, symbolized as hearts.[17] By the end of the fourth day, the player will encounter a Caution; it branches the game and determines whether the player will get a route or a bad ending depending on their accumulated hearts and chatroom participation within the four days.[20] During each route, the story has three Cautions in different days.

Routes[edit]

There are 7 routes in total. 3 routes are available in Casual Story (Zen, Yoosung, and Jaehee), 2 routes in Deep Story (Jumin Han and 707), and 2 routes in Another Story (V and Ray).[21]

The game originally had 2 stories (Casual Story and Deep Story) and 5 routes, until on September 8, 2017, Cheritz released a route for V in a separate story. The story is named "Another Story" and the main character appears a year prior to the time in the original story. On January 31, 2018, Cheritz released a route for Saeran/Ray in the same story. The routes cost 550 Hourglasses in total.[22]

Downloadable contents[edit]

In December 2016, Cheritz added a new "special content" section to the game. The DLC contains new chatrooms, messages, CGs, phone calls, ringtones, and background music. The Christmas episode was added on December 19, 2016; the story lasts for 2 days with 8 endings.[23] The April's Fools episode was added on March 21, 2017; the story lasts for a day with 3 endings.[24] In early February 2017, Cheritz added Valentine's after endings for each character (excluding V and Ray).[25] These special contents remain available even after said events.[26] On September 8, 2017, Cheritz added V's after ending, "Judge or Forgive" which consists of 6 episodes and with 2 different endings. On February 14, 2019, Cheritz added "Rika Behind Story" consists of 8 episodes. In December 2020, Cheritz added two new DLC for Ray/Saeran's after ending, which consists of four days with 10 endings as well as "Bad Jumin & After: Life in the Mansion", a continuation to Jumin's bad ending 2 which consists of four episodes.

Others[edit]

Music[edit]

The game features two songs - the opening theme is sung by Han titled "Mysterious Messages"[27] and ending song sung by Han and Sirius titled "Like the Sun in the Sky". Both are composed by DoubleTO.

About 23 tracks of background music, composed by Flaming Heart, were released along with the opening and ending song and 13 tracks of free talk with people involved in the making via the game's special package.

Official merchandise[edit]

In June 2016, Cheritz opened a pre-order session for the game's limited edition special package called RFA VIP Package. The package contains original soundtracks from the game, 2 artbooks, characters' name card, and 2 DVDs of the freetalk session with the voice actors involved in the game. It also contains serial number to unlock the game's VIP membership, which enables player to fast forwarding a chatroom, calling the characters without limits, and 1000 Hourglasses.[1]

In July 2017, Cheritz released dakimakura covers for 707 and Jumin Han, who topped the popularity poll, for Mystic Messenger's first anniversary.[28]

Official Comic[edit]

"Invitation of the Mystic Messenger", the official webcomic adaptation was published on April 11, 2020. The prologue was published on April 3, 2020. This webcomic was written by GIMAN (기만), illustrated by meriG (멜쥐), and was published by BookCube. The webcomic is available in Korean, English, Indonesian, Thai, German, and French.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ From the game's official guide book
  2. ^ until the third batch, which released around September–October 2016

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "RFA VIP Package". Mystic Messenger official website. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Oscar (2018-09-26). "Love in the time of AI: meet the people falling for scripted robots". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  3. ^ "Game Info". Mystic Messenger official website. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Talk Talk KOREA". www.korea.net. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  5. ^ "Feeling Lonely? Here Are 5 Dating Sims To Make Life a Little Less Lonesome". IGN Southeast Asia. 2020-04-10. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  6. ^ "Protagonist". VNDB. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Mystic Messenger Jumin route chat times schedule - Days 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Deep mode)". VG247. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  8. ^ "Mystic Messenger Trash: How Abuse Hides Itself As Love in Jumin's Route". Sidequest. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  9. ^ "Mystic Messenger Trash: #MeToo and Toxic Masculinity in Zen's Route". Sidequest. 2018-05-28. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  10. ^ "Mystic Messenger Zen route chat schedule - Day 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Casual mode)". VG247. 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  11. ^ "Mystic Messenger Yoosung route chat schedule – Day 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Casual mode)". VG247. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  12. ^ "What We Loved (And Hated) About Hit Dating Sim Mystic Messenger". Kotaku Australia. 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  13. ^ "Mystic Messenger Jaehee route chat times schedule - Days 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Casual Story mode)". VG247. 2017-11-29. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  14. ^ "Mystic Messenger Trash: Gals Being Pals in Jaehee's Route". Sidequest. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  15. ^ "수상한 메신저 벤더우드 성우 인터뷰 Mystic Messenger Vanderwood Voice Actor Interview". YouTube. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Mystic Messenger: essential things you need to know". VG247. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  17. ^ a b Schwartz, Oscar (2018-09-26). "Love in the time of AI: meet the people falling for scripted robots". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  18. ^ "Revisiting How Mystic Messenger Gamified Emotional Labor in Relationships". TheGamer. 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  19. ^ "Mystic Messenger: essential things you need to know". VG247. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  20. ^ Zavarise, Giada (2018-05-08). "How to (not) save your boyfriend: examining gender roles in Mystic Messenger". Medium. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  21. ^ "Mystic Messenger guide: win Zen, Yoosung, Jaehee, Jumin, 707 and V's hearts". VG247. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  22. ^ "[MM] Release of V Route and 1.8.2 update". Cheritz Team. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Mystic Messenger v1.6.0". Cheritz Official Tumblr Page. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  24. ^ "[MM] April Fool's DLC release + 1.7.0 update". Cheritz Official Tumblr Page. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Version 1.6.7. Update notice". Cheritz Official Twitter Account. Cheritz. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Christmas DLC Availability". Cheritz official Twitter account. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  27. ^ "Mystic Messenger opening movie". YouTube. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  28. ^ "[MM] 1st Anniversary Character Popularity Poll Result". Tumblr. Retrieved 9 July 2017.

External links[edit]