Friday, July 8, 2016

Review #333: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale

 It's so beautiful!
 Attack of the Friday Monsters! is... a bit hard to classify, but I guess 'a slice of life adventure game' fits the bill relatively well.

 You play as Sohta, the new kid on the block, who is sent by his mother on an errand to deliver the clean laundry to the baker's... something that Sohta forgets about very early and is never brought up again till the 'true ending'. Before leaving his home, his mother warns him to be careful, since Friday is the day monsters come out. And this is the game's first peculiarity, the nature of the monsters, of the town, is never made clear. Are the monsters real?  Are they partially real? Is this an elaborate prank by the adults? Is it a movie stage? The answer is left pretty ambiguous. The game is divided in 26 episodes, but they are more like 'tasks' or 'mysteries', they don't follow a numerical order, and you'll advance each at seemingly random intervals. To be honest, the story is relatively simple, but the cast of characters and the situations were incredibly charming, more often than not I found myself making the largest, dumbest grins as I advanced the plot.
 Throughout the entire ordeal you'll be doing three things: Walking from place to place, talking with NPCs and battling other kids with cards. As you walk around town, you'll come across shining spots, called 'Glims', collecting about 7 of them will grant you a card. These cards represent different Kaijuu, Japanese giant monsters like Godzilla, and they each have their own unique flavor text accompanying them, which makes collecting them a reward in itself. But cards are more than mere collector's items, they are used to play a game card game against other kids, by facing five of your cards against five of them. Initially each card has one of three symbols: Rock-Paper-Scissors, but later in the game you'll come across dual type, like Cutting Rock. After selecting your five cards, you'll be given two to three 'hints' on whether your card loses, wins or draws against the enemy card directly in front of it, and you are allowed to switch to cards. Who switches cards first depends on who's got the 'winning set up' at the start. I didn't much care for the game itself, but you'd do well to collect as many cards as you want, as there's a relatively challenging mandatory match near the end of the game.

 After you clear the game you are free to search for missing glints, complete unfinished episodes and challenge a new kid to the card game. If you want to 100% the game you are going to need to collect every card, which means challenging the new kid. Not only is she the hardest opponent in the entire game, but the chances of her dropping the glints you need are entirely random. This was the only thing I found annoying in the game, and honestly, the ending you get after getting every card isn't really worth it, so after you clear the game just finish every episode but the fourth one(The one that requires all cards). Unless you really enjoy the card game, in which case you've a reason to keep playing it!
 And that's all there is to say about Attack of the Friday Monsters! It's a simple, but wholly charming game, filled with entertaining moments to keep you smiling all the way through. And as with any game of this kind, it's not for everyone. The card game is almost entirely optional, there's no puzzles whatsoever, so the only thing you'll be doing is walking around and talking with NPCs, which probably doesn't sound very appealing, and it certainly will only appeal to a few. But for those few, the game is incredibly worth it. The game was originally released alongside four other games in Japan, as 'guild 02' or something like that, but all us westerners got was a digital release of each game individually. Regardless of how cheap you may get it for, if the game doesn't sound like something you'd be interested in, then chances are you probably won't like the game at all.
 8.0 out of 10

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