Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Monster Tale

Gamespot score:8.0(Great)

My score:8.0

(+)Pros:-Fun and addictive 2D platforming and combat elements,-raising chomp is good fun,-great boss fights,-plot is filled with great emotional moments,-alluring soundtrack.

(-)Cons:-Not nearly challenging enough,-too much backtracking.

Gameplay time:10-20 hours

Many a time when a game places kids as thier main characters, the game tends to be treated as a "kiddie" game. Its a shame because sometimes they may be missing out on something great, and so is the case with Monster Tale. The main character may be a little girl, but the game is pretty awesome, and will probably cater to retro platformer gamers, as it resembles many of the 90's platformers in so many ways. Mixing in gameplay elements from so many other games, Monster Tale has a little bit of everything that made platformers awesome back in the day, and is a game that should not be overlooked if you own a DS.

Monster Tale begins as a young girl, Ellie, wakes up after her sleep. She finds herself in a mysterious land she has never seen before, and realizes that its not a normal place for humans to be, with monsters roaming around. She soon finds a band that allows her to fire bullets out of it, and uses it to defend herself. Then, soon after that she finds a strange egg, that happens to be that of a monster's. As the egg hatches, the monster inside begins to acknowledge Ellie and starts following her. Soon, it becomes her travelling companion, and she names it Chomp. Ellie and chomp traverse the land, and soon find out that she is not the only human there. She also finds out that the other human kids are monopolizing the monsters and are using them as underlings, with the kids being the overlords. On top of that, Chomp's mother is being held as a prisoner to one of these children, and so she begins her epic tale of saving the monster world and beating up the other kid overlords.

Beat up monsters as Ellie alongside her trusty companion Chomp!

As a 2D action side scrolling platformer, Monster tale does a great job. The action and actual platforming are smooth and fluid, with little to no obstructions to movement. It doesnt feel stiff or laggy, which is definetely a plus. The combat is also a blast, borrowing a little bit from Megaman X and Metroid games. Ellie starts off with a band that allows her to shoot bullet like a buster, and gradually unlocks more abilities as the game goes on. These include burst cancels or charge shots, which are really awesome. She also gets to go melee and beat up enemies with her purse. As with the buster, she starts off with just a single hit attack, and goes upgrading it to a string of consecutive hits, forming a combo.

Firing the buster continously is pretty broken (given the fact that most enemies are melee), so the devs gave the buster an energy gauge, it goes down as you spam buster moves, and only refills via melee attacks, trying to give the game a little bit of a challenge. Another form of combat is utilizing the usage of Ellie's pet chomp, which usually resides on the bottom touch screen. As you call him out to fight, his energy gauge goes down, and he gets it back by going back to rest on the bottom screen. The abilities and strenght of Chomp depends on how you raise him, which brings us to a totally different game feature.

Combat can happen on both Ellie's and Chomp's screens.

How you feed and raise Chomp will effect what he will become. As you beat on monsters, you can pick up items that Chomp can interact with. These include foods or all kinds of playing stuff, like ice cream of soccer balls. As you collect these items, they fly to the bottom screen, and Chomp will interact with them. When he's done doing so, his stats go up depending on whatever item you give him. Different stats raised will promote different evolutions that Chomp will undergo. Giving him tons of ice cream will evolve him into something ice related, or giving him lots of bricks and iron balls will evolve him into something defense related. There are a TON of forms, and you can dump hours into the game just collecting items for Chomp to see all his forms and master all the possible powerful skills.

Of course, this form of "grinding" pays off, as you get into the great boss fights. Though there aren't many, the kid overlords of the land serve as some fun bosses after you go through a certain segment of the world. These kids are accompanied by a monster of thier own (like Ellie and Chomp), and these range from gigantic aqua transforming blobs to big green rabbits. They may not be the most challening of bosses, but they are so well made that you cannot help but have intense amounts of fun fighting them. Combined with the fact that a usual emotionally scene will follow afterwards as the master bonds with the monster, its always great to have bosses like these.

Battle the other kid overlords with thier
very own monsters.

When it comes to the flaws, Monster Tale has some minor flaws that take away from the experience. The most obvious one being the fact that you have to backtrack like mad. The game isn't particularly very short, but most of the time you spend into this game is due to the amount of backtracking. Since this game has a locator system to tell you where to go next, you will cringe your teeth as you see the locator blink at a spot you've been to ages ago, then you have to walk back there again. Yes, walk, there are no damn teleporters, and the overall game map isn't exactly the smallest. And yes, I think the game is too easy. I have only died thrice in thrice in the whole game, once to Mr Lobster (a boss) and twice to mobs. Towards the end of the game, Chomp becomes stupidly broken and can clear maps in seconds, which makes the game too easy.

For the most part, Monster Tale is a great game. Its a fun and cozy platformers that will appeal greatly to casual gamers. If you like platforming, give this a whirl, despite the kiddy main characters, it is a great game. Combined with the fact that the soundtrack is so god damn alluring, it made me all emotional when the end music played (its the same as the title music, but its just soo emotion invoking). The heartwarming story between a monster and its master is not something to underestimate. My verdict? This is a great game, it deserves more love than it has right now.

Happy gaming!