Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Attack Of The Friday Monsters

I haven't turned on my 3DS XL for at least year. I like it, as a piece of hardware, and the 3D effect can be nothing short of magical, but I just haven't seen anything I wanted to play. What I wanted was a little world to sink into, like I was peering into a diorama, without having to kill one million foes and then kill Foozle in the end.

I started looking at reviews, trying to find an experience instead of just a game. The game that kept sticking out was Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale.  Here's a description:
A slice of Tokyo life through a child's eyes. Step into the life of Sohta, the young son of a family that has just set up a dry cleaner's shop in the idyllic town of Fuji no Hana. In his interaction with the town's unique residents, episodic mysteries are revealed that portend to the strange events surrounding the appearance of a giant monster every Friday. And finally, when Friday evening falls, the giant monster will appear right before your eyes!

A touching drama about family, friendship, and the innocence of being a child unfolds against hand-drawn backgrounds, charming music, and memorable characters.

This isn't a game in the conventional experience, because the only real game element is a monster card game that you play against your friends (with a very funny outcome). What you mostly do is explore the village and interact with everyone to uncover the story.

The basic concept is that in the 1970s, when giant monster movies were incredibly popular in Japan, actual giant monsters appear every Friday near this little village (not a spoiler--it's in every description I've seen of the game). It's a wonderful idea, and the game does an amazing job of establishing a sense of place. The village is a very personal, charming place, and there are so many small but intimate moments in the story that reveal vulnerability and regret.

Also, it's funny. Very, very funny at times, in all the best ways. There's nothing mean or ugly about this game.

Plus, it's beautiful. It looks like a Studio Ghibli animated film, even though I don't think they were involved (although they did collaborate with Level-5 on  Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch). The quality of the visuals and how they create the feeling of a real word is quite unique, and it really does feel like you're looking into a living, breathing world.

Attack of the Friday Monsters is short--three to four hours, tops--but it's special. It's gentle and sweet, and wonderfully imaginative.

If you're interested, it's $7.99 and you can pick it up via the eShop.

Site Meter