In The Caligula Effect
, players control a protagonist and explore the fabricated world of Mobius, created by some angelic beings. You’ve been brought here against your will and to escape, you must team up with a club in the school you’re attending. As you explore Mobius, you’ll encounter other residents who will try to hinder your progress and you’ll have to defeat them in battle to press on. You can also interact with the normal people and build relationships for them. There’s a lot to do in Mobius, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Go at your own pace and do what you’d like, you’ll enjoy the school life more.
You’ll roam the areas as the protagonist with your sidekicks, errr I mean, club members in tow. On the screen, you’ll find a mini-map at the top right so you can see where you’ve been and where you need to go. Your character’s portrait will be to the bottom right, along with your character’s name and HP and SP bars. The rest of the screen shows you and your environment. On the mini-map, the blue triangle is you. Light blue circles are your classmates, while dark red circles are enemies. Some enemies will stick out like a sore thumb: They’ll be incredibly distorted and evil looking, but even some of your classmates can turn out to be enemies. You can identify them based on the information shown over their head. The circle with a percentage next to it represents their Erosion rate. If it’s above 50%, there’s a good chance they’ll attack you since you’re rebelling against the pop music. Think of the encounters like Pokemon encounters: If you stare at them too long, they’ll attack you. If you mind your own business and carry on, they (probably) won’t bother you. You can also tap the (X) button to send out a shockwave thing and get their attention so they’ll attack you. Doing this can split enemy groups and allow you to take on larger groups one member at a time. If only we could all enjoy the pop music and get along, right? Such is youth.
Combat in The Caligula Effect is a turn-based affair, which, in this day and age, may turn some people off of it. You take your choice of characters into battle and select actions for them from a rather large list. Commands aren’t as simple as just attack or use some skill, though. You’re given a multitude of abilities to choose from, such as an attack skill, dash, or some special skill and these cost SP. Once you run out of SP, you’ll need to use the recharge SP skill or some other means to restore your SP. SP is fully recovered once battle concludes also. Your HP and SP bars are shown next to your character, and, of course, if the HP bar is depleted, that character falls in battle and must be revived. Just don’t die, no pressure.
So let’s look at the combat a little bit more because there’s a lot to take in. This won’t be the last we talk of it either, so I apologize for that. Anyway, after you’ve selected the moves you want to use, you’ll get to see how your moves will interact with the opponent and your teammates. This is known as the Imaginary Chain. The concept of the Imaginary Chain is pretty easy to understand, though. Basically, it allows you to predict actions in battle. You’ll see a glimpse of how your actions and your enemy’s actions will interact. Efficient use of the Imaginary Chain allows you to coordinate attacks between your allies and take down your opponents with some flashy combos. You can even take down enemies stronger than you. Pretty nice, right?
Your fellow students in Mobius aren’t just there for decoration. Each student has their own personality and you can engage in conversation with them to get to know them better. Talking to them will increase your affinity with them and they’ll gradually open up to you more and more, letting you know what problems they have and asking for help. Helping your fellow students with their problems will unlock new items and equipment for you to use, and they may even be willing to help you with other things. There’s a lot of students to keep track of, which is where the Casualty Link comes in handy. This gives you a list of the students and how they may connect with each other. Some students may not talk to you unless you know someone that they know. Talk to as many students and help with their problems to assemble a mighty force to combat the horrors of Mobius.