Developer: Millennium Kitchen
Publisher: Level 5
Platform: 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: July 18, 2013
ESRB: E for Everyone
A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review
So, here we are. Attack of the Friday Monsters! a Tokyo Tale is the third and last of Level 5's Guild02 games, following The Starship Damsey and Bugs Vs. Tanks!. With the previous two titles receiving rather lukewarm reviews from us at Game Podunk and the internet alike, this third title will help gamers decide if the whole Guild02 project was a success or failure. Will Attack of the Friday Monsters! be the must-have title of the Guild02 games?
In this title, you take control of Sohta, a fourth grader that has just moved to a rural area of Tokyo in 1971. As Sohta is tasked with taking the laundry to the bakery (his parents are dry cleaners), you get to explore the little town and meet its inhabitants. Sohta's little world and the people around him are introduced in episodes, though not in the way that most games handle episodes--instead they are simply unlocked and you make progression as you get through the main story. The episode progression isn't linear in any way... in fact, by the time I finished the game I hadn't even completed Episode 2!
When you explore the rural area, an unusual fact starts to sink in: Every Friday, monsters come out to terrorize the poor town, and superheroes come along to save the day. The children and parents alike simply live with the trouble and potential danger, though the kids do tend to sneak out of the safety of their homes to go watch the fights on Monster Hill.
You can figure out what's going on pretty quickly, but it's the game's whimsical nature, playing as Sohta, that really makes Attack of the Friday Monsters! shine. It reminds us of our own childhoods, when even the smallest thing was a big deal and everything was real. Granted, a plot takes some turns that will throw everything on its head, but the feeling is still there, and it makes the game simply a joy to play through.
This infectious whimsy even bleeds into the title's card game, Monster Cards. It's a very simple card game, more a glorified version of rock-paper-scissors than anything else... however, when you beat one of the children at it, you become their boss. As their boss, you can cast a Ninjitsu spell on them to make them fall down. More importantly, you can also get them to spill the beans on what they know about the monster attacks, which is at one point required for progression. It's a nice little diversion.
As fun as Attack of the Friday Monsters! is, there are a few small problems with it. First, the game is very short, clocking in at just over two hours. This normally wouldn't be too big of an issue, but considering its price of $7.99, some people might not think the short time is worth their money. Also, there's no real gameplay to speak of: You go around talking to the townsfolk, collect Glims to turn into cards, and occasionally play Monster Cards, but that's it. While I believe that the story and setting of the title is well worth the price of admission and lack of gameplay, those that desire a bit more bang for their buck might be left slightly disappointed.
To put it bluntly, this is the best game Guild02 has to offer. Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale offers a quaint place to explore through the eyes and mentality of a child, and it's because of this that it offers something that few games do. Eight dollars or not, this game is well worth the download for anyone... except for avid haters of the point-and-click adventure genre, I suppose.
+ Fun, whimsical story brings back childhood nostalgia
+ Very easy to play in short spurts or one long playthrough
+ A few plot twists near the end throw everything on its head
- Very short, which makes it harder to recommend for eight dollars
- No real gameplay to speak of
Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10)
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale isn't perfect, but it's a fine downloadable title worth a couple hours of your time.