Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monster Monpiece (PC) Review

Monster Monpiece was released on the PS Vita two and a half years ago, and was a competent card-based strategy game that was unfortunately mired a silly controversy.  It could also be a bit creepy.  Regardless, it has made its way to Steam, and is now in 1080p!  It looks pretty good, too.

It also boasts having all of the original artwork from the Japanese release, which should mean those four censored images are restored.  This also means all the whiny people can finally chill out and play the game.  However, the PC port lacks multiplayer, which is an odd omission to be sure.  I'm not big on versus multiplayer, so it doesn't effect me personally, but I know others love it, so I'm sure there will be people bothered by this.

As you and your friends make your way around the game world, you will frequently encounter characters that you must battle.  The card battles take place on a 3x7 grid.  Each participant can place a card in the closest 3x3 section, leaving the middle column neutral.  On a card's second and subsequent turns, it will move forward one space (if able), and attack if it is in front of an enemy card.  There are four types of cards- melee, ranged, heal, and support.  Melee fighters usually have higher damage and health, ranged fighters can predictably attack a few panels in front of them, healers restore HP of the friendly card in front of them, and support will increase the attack of the friendly card in front of them.

Monster girls cards have HP and Atk values, and heal/support ones have MP.  Your Atk value does that much damage to HP, and if you run out of HP, the card disappears from the field.  MP dictates how many times a card can heal or buff another card.  Cards also have a family or type, and a color for their border.  If you place a card of the same type on top of another, it will fuse them for the duration of the battle, which adds their stats.  If you summon the same color card multiple turns in a row, you get bonus mana and subsequently, extra health and attack.  These make sense once you start getting into the game and deck creation, plus it adds a few layers of strategy.  At first you don't need to use them, but later in the game you will need all the tricks at your disposal and have a well-balanced deck to succeed.

Now to the infamous part of the game's mechanics.  You can power up cards in your deck by using rub points to...well, rub the cards.  You have to find the right spot on the girls to poke, rub, and pinch to fill up the gauge.  If you fill the whole thing in time, the card will level up, and hopefully get stronger.  Admittedly, it can be a bit creepy, but it's a little better than the Vita version since you aren't grabbing both sides of the Vita and rubbing furiously.  I tried both the controller and mouse for this, and the mouse is easily the better of the two options.  The controller works, but is much slower.  I would very much recommend using the mouse, even if just for this section of the game.

Since the it's a card game, I didn't see much need for the controller.  I did try it and preferred it, but by such a narrow margin that I could easily stick to using the mouse and keyboard.  When I first tried to play the game, it wouldn't work.  I suspect my graphics card wasn't working properly.  Once it was, the game started up and ran just fine every time I played it.  It saves and loads quickly, and the game runs well on my i7.

I enjoyed Monster Monpiece on the Vita, and now that the card artwork integrity is intact, hopefully anyone that had a problem with that will now give the game a chance.  Sure, it had to give up versus battles, which seems strange, but I'm not sure it was a heavily used feature to begin with.  The story give you plenty of battles as you make your way through, that you might not need to fight your friends.  It might not be for everyone, but the card game and battle mechanics are very solid and worth trying out for CCG fans.

The Good:
The game was bumped up to 1080p and contains all the original Japanese artwork on the cards.  It's also a fairly fun and involved strategy card game.

The Bad:
Increasing a card's level doesn't always make its stats better, limiting the usefulness of the function until you can max out the card.

The SaHD:
I'm sure the people who moaned about the Vita release will find something else to complain about for this version...

(Review code for Monster Monpiece was provided by the publisher)

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