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July 8, 2016 (Android)|
August 18, 2016 (iOS)
Mystic Messenger (Hangul: 수상한메신저; RR: Susanghan Mesinjeo, lit. "Mysterious Messenger") is a South Korean female oriented visual novel game developed by Cheritz. It was released on July 8, 2016 for Android and August 18, 2016 for iOS. The game is described as "storytelling messenger game" and is available in Korean, English and Chinese.
In 2017, Mystic Messenger was awarded Best Indie Game at the 2017 Korea Game Awards.
In Mystic Messenger, the player takes the role of a female character whose name can be changed and has no default one. The female main character, who is often referred to as MC, heroine, or simply protagonist, downloads a mysterious app that leads her into living in a closed, secured apartment owned by someone named Rika, who is also the founder of a charity organization known as the RFA (Rika's Fundraising Association). There, she meets 6 new people (the remaining members of the RFA) and is tasked to organize the third party that the RFA members have been longing for, by inviting guests. The protagonist is able to choose one out of 7 available character routes, each with their own backgrounds, as well as finding out the truth behind the RFA.
The game is divided into many different parts:
- Original story: Access to the original story. Player can select a game mode of either Casual Story, Deep Story, or Another Story. Zen, Yoosung, and Jaehee's route are accessible through Casual Story; 707 and Jumin's route are accessible through Deep Story; V's and Ray`s route are accessible through the Another Story.
- Chatroom: This is where the main conversation happens and where all of the player's choice affect the storyline. Some days and routes have a visual novel mode, where the story is told in either first or third view perspective in visual novel style.
- Text messages: Takes the shape of a real text messaging system. It is an extra that doesn't really affect the storyline, but the player can gain hearts, heartbreaks, or nothing - depending on what choices they make for the reply. The player can answer the texts sent by any of the RFA members only to a limit set by the game.
- Phone calls: Players are able to receive an incoming call from one of the 5 characters after some chatrooms or visual novels. The phone will ring for 10 seconds. If the player doesn't pick up during the time limit, the phone call will remain as a missed call and the player is able to call them back after the next chatroom is available, most of the incoming calls. Players are also able to make an outgoing call to one of them in a specific time. They will either pick up or entering a voicemail when they're busy.
- Emails: To invite guests into party, the player needs to invite as many guests as possible. To have them attending the party, the player needs to answer their questions correctly. Answering 3 right questions will guarantee they come, while answering only two questions right will get you a 50-50 chance.
- Extra: After clearing an ending, player is able to access these chat rooms, unlocked CGs, and guests mails for the second time.
The story in the game lasts for 11 days per route. 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 a party. The game plays in real time, where players can receive text messages and join group chats in a special messenger (which takes its place in the game). Throughout conversations in the first four days, the player can give favorable responses to certain characters to increase your likability with them (the likability is symbolized as Hearts; just like its name, takes on the form of heart-shaped objects). By the end of the fourth day, the player will encounter a Caution. It branches the game and the player will either get a route or a bad ending depending on the player's accumulated hearts and chatroom participation for four days. During the route, the story has three Cautions in different days. Like the fourth day Caution, the player will either progress the story or get a bad ending, depending on the player's choices and chatroom participation.
Every route has one good ending, one normal ending, 3 bad story endings, and 2 bad relationship endings. Although there is a Prologue bad ending that happens in the prologue, Casual, Deep Story, and Another Story bad endings happen after the caution on day 4. To achieve a good ending, the player must first acquire a route, surpass all cautions, and have at least 10 guests who will attend the party. To obtain a normal ending is similar on how to get good ending, the difference being that the player must have 9 or less guests who will attend the party. To obtain a bad story ending you must choose choices that will trigger the bad ending. Most options to get the ending are pessimistic or mean to the characters. To get bad relationship ending, the player must not reach enough likability with your route character after a certain amount of time by missing most or all chatrooms or by acquiring too much likability points from other characters. An after ending for each character can be unlocked permanently by getting their good ending and consume 20 HG. 707's good ending will also unlock access to the "secret ending", which unfold more secrets behind the RFA and Mint Eye.
There is an in-game currency known as Hourglasses. They allow the player to gain access to chats that the player missed in the past, load a saved file,[a] unlocking after and secret endings, unlock a save slot, unlock Specials, make outgoing calls or call back missed calls, and skips Common Route to get directly into a route.[b] These can be gained randomly in the chatrooms, by purchasing with real money, exchanging 100 Hearts for one hourglass, every new update (usually 10 free Hourglasses are given), and by reading the story for each unlocked guests for the first time. Heart is another in-game currency in which you can convert 100 of hearts into 1 Hourglass. The player can acquire hearts by choosing options in the chatroom and in messages (although they sometimes don't give something or give heartbreaks), or tapping the Honey Buddha Chips icon when the spaceship gauge is full, which located below the menu under Original Story.[c]
In December 2016, Cheritz added a new "special content" section to the game. These content contains side stories and can be bought for 100 Hourglasses each. The DLC contains new chatrooms, messages, CGs, phone calls, ringtones, and background music. The Christmas episode was added on December 19, 2016; the story spans 2 days with 8 endings The April's Fools episode was added on March 21, 2017; the story spans 1 day with 3 endings. These special contents remain available even after said events.
In early February 2017, Cheritz added 5 Valentine's after endings, which could be unlocked for 20 hourglasses each.
On September 8, 2017, Cheritz released a route for initially side character V. The route labeled as 'another story' and the main character appears prior to the time in the original story. The route costs 300 Hourglasses.
On January 31st, Cheritz released a route for Saeran/Ray, and the route was added in Another Story. It cost 250 hourglasses for players who had already purchased V's route.
- The following Korean romanization follows the official romanization from the game itself; it may be different from the usual pronunciation.
- the female protagonist
(Youself a.k.a "MC" My Character)
- The player takes the role of her and gives her a name and a custom avatar. She has no default name, and cannot be named using too many characters; the game will crash if so. 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 RFA's members had been longing for. When voiced, other characters will refer her as "you" in various forms of Korean.
- As the playable character, the protagonist has no fixed background - the player is able to choose any option referring to her background when asked, without affecting the storyline. Her default avatar comes in 5 various appearances, but she appears to have brown, long silky hair if shown in the CGs and is drawn with her eyes hidden under bangs.
- 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. He's always on a business trip, likes to wear a tuxedo,[d] and is not used to 'commoner' food. Jumin is actually a cat lover - claiming that only cats understand as well as 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 seems 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. He and V are childhood friends due to their family background and them being neighbors and schoolmates.
- Jumin is also very close to his father and they often exchange gifts, though mostly each gift are extremely extravagant. He is not fond of his fathers many on and off girlfriends. Jumin also loves wine and can hold his alcohol well.
- 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. He has pale skin and white-ish colored hair; implying that he's an albino. Despite being a narcissist due to his handsome face (to the point that he would take selfies and share them in the messenger, talking about how handsome he is), he wants people to acknowledge him for his skills instead. Zen also loves to workout and rehearse constantly to perfect his skills. He is seemed 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 cat allergic; he would sneeze even when the word 'cat' is mentioned. 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 junk yards much to Yoosung's frustration.
- Zen has an older brother who is a lawyer. In Zens 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.
- Voiced by: Youngsun Kim
- 707, or his baptismal name Luciel Choi (최 루시엘, Choi Lusiel) is a 22-year-old genius hacker and a secret agent, he is also the one who made the RFA Messenger app. 707, also referred to as Seven, 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 no other member can understand except the protagonist. His hobbies include collecting sports cars. His house is so secured that people need to bring an Arabic dictionary to pass the security. 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. When he's genuinely in love with the protagonist, he intentionally tries to hurt her feelings so that she won't suffer should he have to suddenly vanish due to his dangerous job. 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 illegal 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, young 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, unaware of what happened in his absence.
- 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 MMORPG League of Legends, he is ranked 2 in the server, with 707 apparently beating him in the first rank. 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 adoptive-Rika's 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 her so much even though they only met when he was a 6th grader.
- Rika was Yoosung's biggest influence. She's also the reason in Yoosung taking a medical major. Rika's death was apparently hitting 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 cut his hair, abandoned his hairpins, wears the red-framed glasses that the protagonist gave him in the after ending, and talks in 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. She is a 26-year-old Chief Assistant at C&R International and Jumin's personal assistant. She initially appeared as stoic, serious, and appears to be 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 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 and died quickly. Her mother 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's taking an interest in coffee and wants to open her own coffee shop. After retired from C&R International, she let her hair grow and no longer wears glasses.
- 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 fiancee and another person who was driven into sadness after 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 was 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 RFA & kept his actions a secret from RFA especially from Jumin and 707. In Another Story, he suspected that MC was secretly being held hostage by Mint Eye and attempted several times to rescue her.
- Sadly 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 an Another Story which allows 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 lost 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 footstep 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.
- 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. 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 is appears that Rika may show interest in the main character. One of the Bad Ending route options allows player to be with Rika.
- Unknown/ Saeran/ Ray
- Voiced by: Sujin Kang
- Unknown (also referred 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 caused 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 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. As Ray, he 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. While Saeran's personality is darker and wouldn't hesitate to torture people, Ray is very thoughtful and clingy towards the main character and an unwavering loyalty towards Rika.
- In the end of his route, his two personalities become one, and he is referred to as Saeran, though the MC can still choose to call him Ray instead.
- Voiced by: Gyuchong Lee
- Vanderwood (벤더우드) is another agent working in the same agency as 707, serves as someone who tasked to keep 707 working and to do that, he also cleans 707's house. He brings a taser gun and an Arabic dictionary due to 707's security gate. He initially introduced as 707's maid almost every time and in the earlier versions of the artbook[e]
Mystic Messenger's unique combination of narrative and interaction has influenced many other non-traditional story telling platforms. One of the most notedable places where Mystic Messenger's influence can be seen is in the increase of number of social media story telling accounts. The account most clearly influenced by Mystic Messenger is instagram.com/hugo.the.coconut.reviews. Where the followers are likewise taken through a story hidden within a otherwise normal seeming Instagram account.
The game features two songs - the opening theme is sung by Han titled "Mysterious Messages" 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.
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.
- After version 1.5.3 update
- After version 1.7.3 update
- After version 1.5.0 update
- From the game's official guide book
- until the third batch, which released around September–October 2016
- "RFA VIP Package". Mystic Messenger official website. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Game Info". Mystic Messenger official website. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Protagonist". VNDB. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "System". Mystic Messenger official website. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Mystic Messenger v1.6.0". Cheritz Official Tumblr Page. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "[MM] April Fool's DLC release + 1.7.0 update". Cheritz Official Tumblr Page. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- "Christmas DLC Availability". Cheritz official Twitter account. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "Version 1.6.7. Update notice". Cheritz Official Twitter Account. Cheritz. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- "[MM] Release of V Route and 1.8.2 update". Cheritz Team. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "수상한 메신저 벤더우드 성우 인터뷰 Mystic Messenger Vanderwood Voice Actor Interview". YouTube. Cheritz. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- "Mystic Messenger opening movie". YouTube. Cheritz. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "[MM] 1st Anniversary Character Popularity Poll Result". Tumblr. Retrieved 9 July 2017.