Marl Kingdom: Happy Hunt (lost mobile web game; 2001)
Nippon Ichi Software is undoubtedly best known for its tactical role-playing video game series, Disgaea. However, their claim to fame before this was the Marl Kingdom games series, which follows a family descended from a race known as the Ancients, who have the power to communicate with puppets.
The series has three main installments: 1998's Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom (released in America as Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure in 2001,) Little Princess 2 released in 1999, and Angel's Present: A Marl Kingdom Story in 2000. The first two games in the series received mobile ports in 2006 and 2007, respectively, as a part of the i-Mode mobile web content service, but prior to this, Nippon Ichi Software published an exclusive mobile web title known as Happy Hunt! (ハッピーハント) which was available from 2001 to 2005. After the game was replaced with Marl Kingdom i and Little Princess i, it subsequently became unavailable to play.
- The service that the game was provided through cost 300 to 350 Yen (approximately $3 to 3.50 USD) per month.
- The game forced players to pace themselves, so many missions required long, real-time waiting periods before they could be finished.
- The title was split into three chapters, with bonus scenarios and features that haven't been documented in any surviving walkthrough guides or articles.
- Because of technical limitations, the game had no music or sound effects. This did, however, allow it to run very well on a great many different models of phones, both old and new.
- This installment presumably reused a bulk of its graphics from the first two Marl Kingdom games.
- The hint and bestiary features that are present in Marl Kingdom i, Little Princess i, and Rhapsody DS were introduced in this game.
- There were at least eight recruitable puppets in the game. The puppets were original characters and had new character designs.
The 16-year-old protagonist who lives in Panna Cotta Village with her grandmother. She acts as the older sister figure for MIG. Like the protagonists of the other Marl games, she has a mysterious ability to communicate with puppets, though Chocolat commands puppets through a flute.
A puppet who was created by Kokone. Only Chocolat can hear him. He's described as a troublemaker.
Chocolat's grandmother. She's a top-class puppet maker but doesn't have her granddaughter's ability to talk to puppets, so Chocolat usually translates MIG's chatter for her.
- Prince Lunin
Prince of the Carrot Kingdom.
Please note that the following summaries are taken from machine translations, and therefore likely contain errors.
- Chapter One
Chocolat and Mig meet Prince Lunin, who gets turned into a doll. They set off to meet the great sage Polansky to find a reversal of the puppet curse. Chocolat and Mig meet the eight recruitable puppets in this chapter: Maria, Genshin, PenPen, Bengal, Rabbie, Lilith, and Tetsu.
- Chapter Two
Prince Lunin sends a letter to Chocolat asking her to attend an official ceremony with him, with the true intention of sneaking out so they can go on a date at the circus instead. Chocolat and Lunin eventually uncover a plot involving a surviving Ancient who's targeting Lunin's family in a revenge plot.
- Chapter Three
There is no synopses of chapter three online, though the chapter announcement on the game's official site hints that it takes place in Rosenqueen Land, a location from the second Marl game.
There are no screenshots available from this title; in fact, the only surviving graphics are those that were provided on the 10th Anniversary digital art collection (Marl Kingdom Golden CD) and some promotional materials. Because of the nature of the game (each chapter was automatically overwritten once cleared) and the fact that service for the title was discontinued once the i-Mode version of Puppet Princess was released, there are presumably no copies of this game left in the hands of consumers.
Full artwork is taken from the Marl Kingdom Golden Art CD.
- (ARCHIVED) Official website of Happy Hunt, archived on the Wayback machine.
- Japanese Wikipedia article on the Marl Kingdom series, with a blurb on Happy Hunt.
- The only surviving online walkthrough for the game; however, it only reaches the end of chapter 2, so it is still incomplete.
- Another walkthrough for the game. This one only summarizes the first chapter, so it has even less content than the first one, but it does go into the menu options.
- (ARCHIVED) An online article about the game, complete with screenshots; however, the image links are now dead, and weren't archived through the Wayback Machine.