Attack of the Friday Monsters! Review

by

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a Japanese child during the 1970s?  Do you lust for monsters, monsters, and more monsters?  How about experiencing an art-style reminiscent to a Hayao Miyazaki film?  If you answered yes to any of those then Level-5’s Attack of the Friday Monsters! is for you.

Attack of the Friday Monsters is a beautiful game with artistry that’s equal to that of most anime-based games, yet lacks much 3D support.  It’s simple yet stunning and is only brought more to life with the orchestral soundtrack.  It’s truly amazing how much effort was put into the presentation of the game though, sadly, the story can’t be measured the same way.

Throughout the story you play as a young fourth grade boy named Sohta.  His family recently moved into an area filled with monsters that appear during the night.  He makes new friends as he tries to figure out why the monsters come out on Friday nights and also partakes in Monster Card games.  That’s the basic gist of the story but it quickly becomes a confusing mess as you play through.  There are a total of 26 episodes, 25 main story episodes, and they all happen sporadically—you could be at episode two but then the very next episode you deal with is episode five.   It literally takes playing through the entire game to make any sense of the story.  The story is also primarily text-based, with a bit of voice acting here and there (Japanese dub only).  I can’t help but feel that if the developer could add voice acting in the first place, then why not have the entire game voiced?  Does this necessarily mean the story is bad?  No, it’s actually quite charming and imaginative, but the way it was presented was all over the place which, in this day of age, is completely unacceptable.

The gameplay fairs a bit better, as Sohta controls well, even with fixed camera angles, but that’s not the main center of attention: Monster Cards rule this game’s world.  The first thought that comes to mind is what the heck are Monster Cards?  Is it like the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game?  Nope.  How about Pokemon cards?  Still no.  The game actually is a game of Roshambo but with monsters.  The goal is collect five monster cards in order to start dueling your friends.  How do you get monster cards?  By getting monster glims, fragments of monster cards.  Granted, while it seems like a cool concept, it’s actually pretty dull and is more of filler than adding to the actual experience.  It’s something that could have been more fleshed out than it was and that’s a disappointment.

The game itself is about 2 – 3 hours long, which isn’t bad for a portable download, but after completing the game it’s hard to find much else to do.  I can’t help but feel that Attack of the Friday Monsters! would do well with downloadable content to expand the game’s world.  It’s a beautiful world worth exploring but there needs to be more content to make it worthwhile.

Do I feel this game is bad?  Actually no, in fact I feel it’s one of the better eShop games available.  Even though the story gets lost in itself, the ending is quite rewarding and once you figure out what’s going on you yearn for more.  The gameplay isn’t spectacular but the experience is still great and innocent.  It was like living through my childhood all over again.  Attack of the Friday Monsters! isn’t for everyone, in fact it may not be for most people, but those that persevere will find an enjoyable game.