Monster Tale Review

Monster Tale (DS)
Developer: DreamRift
Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
MSRP: $29.99

Monster Tale is brief yet crammed of ideas. Some borrowed, some new, but nonetheless totally addictive. Leveling your monster, unlocking new forms, gaining new powerups, exploring a somewhat large world – it’s all here, crammed in a ten hour narrative. Once you start delving into the minutia though, every extra gameplay addition negatively affects the game until you hit a wall where you’re then forced to make up for its poor meshing of mechanics.

Your adventure takes place in a large world, much akin to Metroid and Castlevania. Each area is broken down into three or four unique areas, but doors that require new abilities constantly halt progression. Gaining these abilities means backtracking to previously explored sections, and then immediately returning back to where you just were. This happens all too often, and if the abilities you learned had much of in impact on gameplay, it wouldn’t matter as much. But they don’t, meaning that about twenty percent of this game is laborious backtracking without tangible reward.

The other, better component is leveling your monster companion, named Chomp. As Chomp increases in level, you unlock new forms. Using new forms unlocks attacks and buffs that can be used on any form as long as you have leveled that form to a high enough level. The problem is that new forms aren’t as strong as the one you were previously using, so every time you unlock a new form, if you want to learn its abilities, you have to use a weaker version of Chomp. You feel like you’re taking once step forward then a half step back, making progression less rewarding. Seeing as this game is only ten hours long and there are over 30 different version of Chomp to use, there isn’t enough time to craft the monster you want…unless you level grind for three hours, like I did. There’s simply too much crammed into this short game, so it’s up to you to make up for the lack of content.

During my time with the game, I initially changed forms, got some of the abilities, used a new form, and repeat. It was unsatisfying. I then level-grinded to create a boss Chomp, which was temporarily satisfying, but as I continued with the adventure, there was little sense of progression. It, too, was unsatisfying. Even though all of the surrounding mechanics were implemented poorly, the core game is incredibly addictive. Dodging enemy attacks, experimenting with new Chomp attacks, crafting the ultimate Chomp – it’s an engaging game, and if were longer, had more intuitive monster progression, and had less backtracking, Monster Tale would have been a far better game.

 

 

 

Quick tidbits:

– I swear I don’t only play cartoony games. I beat Batman: Arkham City, and I’m still playing through Skyrim (because, ya’know, IT NEVER ENDS).

– I got this game for a measly $10. I’m glad I didn’t pick it up when it came out (I had Pokemon Black to consume me at that time, the handhled equivalent to Skyrim).

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1 Comment

  1. One of my favorite games for the DS that came out this year, not surprising as it’s from the people who made Henry Hatsworth.

    Reply

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