Review: Monster Monpiece (PlayStation Vita)
- Release Date (NA): May 27, 2014
- Release Date (EU): June 4, 2014
- Release Date (JP): January 24, 2013
- Publisher: Idea Factory
- Developer: Compile Hearts
- Genres: Card Battling
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
As soon as you start the game, a few things are bright and clear. First, the game is not shy about much of anything. The visuals are vibrant and dialogue is heavy. It might take you an hour to pick up on, but there are no male characters in this game. Every single one is a girl:
God creates earth and humans. After some time, humans inevitibly start to tax the earths resources, exploiting the land for its goods. God introduces "monster girls" to correct the damage and keep humanity under control. When the balance swings in the monsters favor, God forces the monster girls to live in cards for survival. You play as a (you guessed it) girl in training to wield the cards at the academy. Strange events lead to people becoming "the lost" and it picks up from there, and you are the one chosen to stop it.
If you have played any kind of JRPG from the last few years you may be familiar with the tale in MM. The story is very generic and seems to only be a vessel to set up the gameplay, which is fine, since the gameplay really carries the game anyway.
The meat of Monpiece are the battles. Upon starting the game and engaging in your first battle, the female NPCs give you a lengthy tutorial covering the basics of the game. Card duels take place on a 7x3 grid., 9 on the left for you, 9 on the right for the computer, and 3 down the center which are a no man's land (or in this case, a no woman's land). Cards placed on the map move one space toward the opposing players side of the board every turn. To win a battle, the goal is to reduce the enemy's castle HP to 0, which sit on either end of the board. Its a pretty simple idea, but the cards really make the strategies run deeper.
The cards have 3 stats to take into consideration. Attack, HP,and INT. HP is obvious, attack and INT may need a little explaining. Attack is denoted by a sword on a melee card, and bow on a ranged card. Melee can attack directly in front of them, and ranged can attack 2 squares out. INT is important for your buffer and healer cards. Placing either behind your attackers will greatly increase your chances of that attacker making it to the enemy gates in tact. Healers do what you think they would, and buffers can boost the attack power of a melee or ranged fighter. On top of that, cards can be doubled up in battle based on family type.
Outside of battle you have a few things in the way of planning for the next encounter. Winning a battle usually nets you at least one card to open. Cards are random but only so. You could get lucky and get a decent one to augment your deck. You can purchase cards in the shop menu as well as DLC ones online however every card available to buy can be also be obtained in-game via grinding. Opening your cards requires a little use of the touch screen for examination. Once you collect your cards, there is a streamlined system for making decks of cards of your choosing. Its as simple as selecting what cards go in what slot.
Oh I have been waiting to use that!
Cards can also be upgraded twice. To do so, you must turn your Vita sideways and rub up and down with both the touch screen and rear touch pad, finding pleasure points along the characters body, and "pleasure" them for a about a minute before you are rewarded with a better card and less clothes. It should be noted that you can make it the entire way though the game without leveling a single card, except for the one in the tutorial. I think the mechanic was added just to get people talking about the game. It really wasn't needed as the gameplay is strong enought to carry the title on it's own.
+ Engaging gameplay and mechanics
+ Lots of interesting cards to collect
+ Great artwork
+ Lasting appeal kept alive by online community and DLC cards
- Story and dialogue add little to the game
- Mindless rubbing mechanic
The game is good, bland story and awkward upgrading mechanics aside. The card artwork is well done, even if the portraits for your character and friends look decidedly "RPG Maker"-ish. The 3D sprites that inhabit the game board are functional and charming. The music... well, it's nothing really to write home about, and every character is voice acted, if only in Japanese. If you can get though the dialogue, playing the game for the game-play (what a novel idea that is!) you will be more than pleased if you like card battling games, at least until something more substantial comes along. The game is a niche title and it knows it. Compile Hearts isn't going to apologize for MM, nor should they. Those of you opposed to this game have valid reasons. Those of you who don't care and want to play anyways, play away and happy card hunting. Just avoid any embarrassment by not playing in public.
Someone took some time thinking out how the battles would work out, creating a simple to learn, hard to master battle system. Battles flow turn by turn, and you are never quite bored or overwhelmed with whats going on. Battles never seem to drag on either.
Pretty high, seeing as there are tons of cards to collect, level, and organize into decks, like any real card game, bar the rubbing mechanic.
out of 10
(not an average)
The game is pretty good. The issues that many will have with this particular game are the weird "only Japan" things. The biggest is the card rubbing. Its awkward, time consuming, and generally kinda disgusting. The all female game cast and poor story don't hurt the game nearly as much as the rubbing does, but somehow I can't bring myself to give this game a (really) poor score.