Be happy! Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness (PS4 review)


Some protect the peace while others disturb it. This simple line is the basis for the newly released Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness visual novel, based on the original Psycho-Pass anime. Set inside the world of the crime-solving anime, you will work as one of two new agents alongside all of your favorite characters from the first season to take down a new threat. Take the role of either an Inspector or an Enforcer to protect mankind from those that the Sybil system have determined to be a threat.



Prior to playing the game, I made sure to finish a quick refresher of the first season of Psycho-Pass just to ensure the characters and the world were fresh in my mind. Mandatory Happiness’ story is self-contained mostly within the first half of the anime’s first season. It gradually introduces all the characters and key components of the anime with short biographies as the player progresses to fully explain the nuances of certain factors like the Sybil and hue system. Starting out you have a choice of which character’s perspective to play from between Inspector (Nadeshiko Kugatachi) or Enforcer (Takugama Tsurugi). Regardless of which character you choose, you will still tackle the same 3 cases; however, both characters’ perspectives can vary wildly based on your ability to solve the case as well as how you choose to resolve the case.

Mandatory Happiness plays like every other visual novel out on the market; however, it focuses much more on storytelling rather than bombarding the player with decisions every two minutes. This leads to the game being a little more self-driven than I expected. I still found myself just enjoying the ride that I was on. This almost makes it arguably closer to being more connected to feeling like you’re just watching a new episode of the anime, except you get to make the tough decisions in key situations. When making any of the key pivotal decisions, you will usually have anywhere from 3-5 options, giving you multiple branches at each decision to counter the lower number of decisions the player will make. Besides these key decisions, the characters will act autonomously according to their personalities through the minor decision. It’s also enjoyable to be able to sit back and watch with others even while they play. Like other visual novels, there are many decisions where you must react appropriately, or risk losing your chance at reaching the true endings. If you do end up getting any of the various bad endings, you can either restart the story or load from your last manual save.



Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness does a lot of things right, including the creation of the three new characters that feel authentic to the world of Psycho-Pass. The anime’s original cast of characters are also teeming with authenticity and the extra tidbits of backstory segments for each were fun to watch unfold. Lots of extra info is thrown at the player but key terms are accompanied by a quick explanation at the top of the screen in a small chat box so as to not disturb the story. In regards to the story,  even though there are only 3 main cases to solve, each are varied enough by giving the player up to 5 choices of how they want the situation to play out, adding to its replayability.

Finally after clearing the game, you unlock a simple yet addicting little puzzle game that requires you to slide numbered tiles together to form specific numbers. As you progress the game will add extra challenges in such as boxes that won’t move when shifting the puzzle or ones that move with your pieces. The first 6 or so levels are pretty simple to solve as long as you pay attention to what you’re doing. After level 7 you will start seeing requirements for much higher numbers in addition to other fun little surprises to prevent you from solving the puzzle. You can only move as long as you have space in the 4×4 grid. Once you fill up all 16 slots, if you have no moves, then it is game over. Besides the stages there is also a free play mode that challenges you to keep matching pieces for as long as possible.


Final Reaction

As far as visual novels go, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is much more enjoyable for those who like to take more of a backseat in visual novels, but not so much if you want lots of action and decisions. It’s nice to only have to watch a minimal amount of the source material to be knowledgeable of the world since it’s completely set inside the first half of season 1. For those who don’t have the time, it serves as a perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with Psycho-Pass.  It boasts great replayability for players who want to see all the various outcomes, and its bonus mini game is a great distraction for those who enjoy number puzzles. I highly recommend this to fans of the anime who want to learn more about their favorite characters and the world of Psycho-Pass.


Final Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

*Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness was reviewed using a retail download key provided by NIS America.

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