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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Fresh" Review: Attack of the Friday Monsters!

I don't even. What? I... WHAT.
I reviewed The Starship Damrey when it came out not too long ago, because I really loved Guild01 and I was willing to try out the Guild02 games. While that title had its fair share of quirks, I loved the experience of the title because it relied so heavily on using ignorance as a story mechanic. That game was very different from Attack of the Friday Monsters!, which uses ignorance to blow my freaking mind.

In case you didn't know, the Guild series was put together by Level-5 in collaboration with a number of well-known developers as a mini game compilation that eventually became individual eShop releases. Attack of the Friday Monsters was directed by Kaz Ayabe, and takes place in a fictional Tokyo where... you know, monsters come out. On Friday.

And it was weird. Weirder, dare I say, than the title implies.

PROS:

-With a game as "Japanese" as Attack of the Friday Monsters! is, the story, its simplicity, and its beauty is never lost on an American viewer. While some dialogue is a bit choppy, it flows extremely well, and the characters and the story progression are top-notch.

-Music used to evoke the mood of an era or place is often detrimental to telling a story, and Attack! features a small, though extremely endearing number of tracks. They paint a picture the simple life and times of a young boy.

CONS:

-Where is the gameplay? Monsters! has a wonderful and silly story, but it features little in terms of challenge or deep gameplay mechanics- its most in-depth mechanic has to do with a decent Roshambo card-battling system that you're required to use only twice in the entire story.

THOUGHTS:

I've somewhat condensed this review because Monsters! is an eShop game, and very few have enough content or mechanics that really warrant much in-depth discussion. While I enjoyed Monsters!, I think the game had its fair share of flaws that those interested should be aware of before picking the title up. Don't get me wrong, the game is absolutely adorable from a storytelling standpoint and uses its setting and characters to their fullest extent. But the truth is, Attack of the Friday Monsters! is less of a game and more of an "interactive adventure"- with little emphasis on interactivity.

I've often been critical of adventure games because of their tendency to railroad the action via dialogue, and Monsters! is no different- you go from one place to the next, talking to people and interacting with the environment one step at a time. There's a "checklist" that tells you what dialogue trees have yet to be completed, but since they only progress at certain points in the story, there's no need to fret about not completing them. Of course, you also have the actual gameplay, which is an odd monster-battling-card-game that shows up every now and then. While the post-game opens up more opportunities to use the card battling system, you shouldn't have to play through two hours of a game in order to... you know, play a game. And the card battles are so strange by nature that I never felt like I had a solid grasp on outsmarting my enemy until I unlocked the late-game "dual-purpose" cards, which would probably suck to have to deal with, were the card-game real. Fortunately, they let you know how that would feel when you face the final, story-based card-battle.

But for all that is tired about Attack of the Friday Monsters!, there's also a wealth of positives. If you're the kind of person who enjoys a good story, you won't find a better eShop title, and as a Studio Ghibli fan, I found the quirky concept and dialogue of this title to be extremely endearing. The art is lovely and gives an authentic feel to the setting, and the story is too wildly enjoyable to pass up. It's charm is infectious and it's hard not to enjoy the odd stereotypes.

Final Verdict: If you're looking for a game, Attack of the Friday Monsters! isn't for you. But if you are looking for an irresistibly cute slice of life story about youth, responsibility, and nonsensical silliness, this game is full of it, and there's little else like it. If Attack of the Friday Monsters! were an animated film, it would have my full support- but it's lack of substantial gameplay may be a turn-off for some.

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