I picked up Makai Kingdom yesterday. To give you a general idea of how I liked it, I had five waking hours after I got home yesterday. I've clocked 4 hours and 38 minutes in Makai Kingdom.
The gameplay is immediately accessible to those that played Phantom Brave, though combat is much smoother and more enjoyable with the real-time movement (that is, you move your character around the battlefield directly instead of picking a destination). Some of the dynamics are still a little fuzzy, like I'm not entirely sure what constitutes claiming or losing an item yet. Items aren't very important anyway; they're not even customizable. It's the characters that count. The Invite system, particularly as it pertains to facilities, is rather complex but isn't too hard to pick up with a little practice. I haven't gotten to the point where I can make buildings yet, which is apparently the main way of transmigrating characters (I don't know if there's a way to transmigrate without making a building). I have noticed that money is a little scarce but it's extremely easy to get maximum bonuses on a map, compared to earlier games. As long as there's at least one enemy left, you can build your score up as far beyond the minimum needed to advance as you'd like. You can increase your score by defeating enemies, destroying items, etc. Gone is the frustration of Disgaea where you just can't quite chain high enough to get that one prized item. However, if Zetta (a harmless, stationary book that acts as your base panel) is hit, half the bonus items vanish. You can pick up and throw Zetta as you would any other item though, so it's not hard to move him out of harm's way or even hold him above the battle.
Though the sprites are about Phantom Brave quality, they're much better animated, particularly the attacks. There are a lot of detailed animations in the game, yet they play so quickly and smoothly they don't slow down the action. Most of the cutscenes take place in a star-filled void and using in-game sprites but I haven't found this to be distracting. The little sprites can be hard to see but they're wonderfully expressive. The voice acting is, as always, exceptional.
The writing is wonderful and funny. It's much darker and more serious than Disgaea, and trades parodies for ironies. For instance, one of the first characters you meet, Dark Lord Valvolga, is composed of three separate monsters. The bottom monster is a loud and rowdy dragon that's always laughing maniacally and shouting. The middle monster is a vicious fallen angel that likes to piss people off and play tricks. And the top monster is an extremely effeminate, spineless demon named Micky. Micky's pinky-extended animations are particularly funny and well-done. The two main characters, Pram and Zetta, have clear personalities from the first time you meet them.
I had to play the first level a few times to gain a couple levels on some of my characters but after that it's been smooth sailing. It's challenging and I need to think strategy but I haven't gotten stuck or had to go back to do levelling yet. Since the maps can actually expand mid-battle, each level seems a bit longer than the ones in previous games. The point system lets you end the fight as soon as you've met its requirements so most of the extensions are optional and used to get better equipment and more experience.
I haven't yet gotten to the vehicles yet, which seem to be a major part of the game (those are customizable).
So far though, I could easily recommend this to fans of the genre. It's a funny, challenging, and stylish game that is both accessible and complex.