Scantily clad girls in video games are nothing new in japan, but they rarely make their way across to the west. Yet this year alone, there seems to be more of these type of games being published for western audiences particularly for the Vita amid controversy that these games are a poor influence on young gamers and how they are objectifying women. Games such as Monster Monpiece, Akiba’s Trip (where you rip the clothes off zombies), Bullet Girls (a third person sRPG style game with an all girls cast with plenty of sexual innuendo) are being made available and the fans are only crying out for more. Is the criticism overblown or warranted?
The first thing we should discuss is whether Monster Monpiece is a good game or not, and the fact of the matter is the core of the game is fun. Monster Monpiece at its heart is a card battle game with both a single player mode against the computer AI and a wireless network mode to battle your friends. The single player mode has a story (which is generally a real bore) and movement over nodes on a world map. At each of the nodes a number of events can take place such as a segment of the story, receiving some coins or cards or a card battle can take place.
The real meat of the game is building your deck of 40 cards and battling the CPU. Cards can be won after battle, or as said before collected on the world map or can be purchased in the in game shop for game currency (also real world currency, but a competent player probably never needs to spend his own money to buy cards). The battle takes place over a grid of 3 rows x 7 columns. The player and the CPU take turns putting down cards that have different values on them such as attack, health, intelligence, and magic points (for healing). The object is to wipe your opponents pieces off the game board and attack their castle a number of times as described prior to the match starting.
The strategy in the game is interesting. Most of the outcomes can be calculated so the player always feels like they know the result of their move. However the player always feels like there’s a number of options available and subsequent moves become less clear to figure out. The random element in the game is the hand of cards the player is holding and the drawing of a card at the start of the turn. This ensures every game is fresh and presents various challenges. The player can also take advantage of a number of buffs and special effects to make his pieces stronger. For example two cards of the same type can be ‘fused’ together to make that unit stronger. Also playing two or three cards of the same colour in a row rewards the player a small and large HP, Mana and Attack bonus respectively.
The game does get a little repetitive about half way through, even though the core game is very solid, by the time I was 10 hours in, that was already about 40 to 50 battles completed most with not very much challenge. The story as mentioned is among the worst I’ve had the displeasure of reading for a while. I basically pressed the fast forward button as fast as I could the entire time.
Playing the US version a number of cards with some barely dressed girls were cut from the japanese version and after seeing the cut cards I would have to say thats a good move. What’s in the game is pretty racy already and the core game is good enough it doesn’t need the distraction of incredibly risqué anime girls. But I get it, video games are a business and there’s a number of japanese men who want that sort of thing. In this world, there are going to be rich chinese uncles who want elephant tusks, japanese sailors who hunt down minke whales and rich chinese couples who want shark fin soup on the menu. Toning that stuff down is going to take a bit of time. It sucks that most of the talk about the game is about the girls but for the publisher, there’s no such thing as bad publicity I suppose. I think the game is great and even though some of it is a little too over the top, if you can over look that sort of thing, there’s a good card battle game here.
Score: 6.5 monster girls out of 10