Friday, August 3, 2012

Monster Tale Review

Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is shaping up to be one impressive 3DS exclusive adventure but my interest for the game shot through the roof after playing the most recent game of the developer Dreamrift, Monster Tale.  Much of the team comes from an impressive DS puzzle/platform game called Henry Hatsworth but for me, the almost unknown Monster Tale released last year for the Nintendo DS has me absolutely captivated.  Never before has a completely new and original game so perfectly blended together so much that I love.  Trying to explain the elements outside of breaking everything down individually is too difficult so here's a quick breakdown of how the game elements relate to other games:

  • Mega Man X: The abilities of wall climbing, wrist blaster and charge blast all make the main character of Ellie feel like a baddass version of X and this feeling is amped even more considering she doesn't have all the clunky armor, just her dress and satchel.  Honestly, after seeing this, I wish Mega Man was given to Dreamrift to flesh out into a full action/adventure game series which would go a long way to revitalizing the series.
  • Metroid/Castlevania: This game is a Metroidvania all the way and I couldn't be more happy about that considering how underused this sub-genre is compared to things like RPG's, FPS and Sandbox games.  The game even improves upon this by indicating on the map your next objective without being pushy, something even Metroid Fusion couldn't get completely right.  Your health ups and abilities are boosted by finding them like Metroid but can be enhanced at shops like Castlevania.  This is a perfect compromise that keeps the game challenging despite its kid friendly presentation.
  • Pokemon: You have a partner monster in the game that gains experience/levels up but is also used outside of battle to overcome obstacles for Ellie.  This monster also learns new abilities and even evolves and grows into different elemental versions of itself.  You find yourself battling just to upgrade your partner and learn new powers.  It's an awesome mechanic that allows you to become attached to your monster without overwhelming you like the Pokemon series had in the Red/Blue era.

Overall, I can't recommend this game enough.  Its got a little something for everyone and wraps it all in excellent presentation featuring great music, attractive graphics and compelling gameplay.

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