It’s been a while since I had this much fun with a game, where I power it on to try it out for a few minutes only to end up playing all night with out realizing it.
Yes, from the folks that brought us socially acceptable child abuse on the WII (Babysitting Mama) comes a surprisingly addictive side scroller for the DS. Monster Tals starts off with our heroine Ellie hearing a loud noise in some woods behind her house. When she goes to investigate she finds a bracelet that transports her to the world of monsters. Shortly after arriving she happens across a monster egg that hatches to reveal a tiny, hovering orange monster. Not wanting to leave a newborn alone Ellie names the monster Chomp and the two battle their way around the monster world in search for Chomp’s mom and a way for Ellie to return home.
The easiest way to describe the game play is like 2D Metroid games because you pretty much explore an area to find power ups that will allow you to explore more areas. Also because the first power up is just to the left of the starting point… just like every 2D Metroid game. The DS twist come from Chop. While on the top screen he will follow Ellie around and randomly help fight on his own or Ellie can make use one of his monster skills with the shoulder buttons. By pressing the X button Chomp will retreat to the bottom screen where he will replenish his health as well as interact with treasures dropped by other monsters.
The way Chomp levels is interesting as well. Ellie grows stronger by getting new skills and heart tanks. Chomp will level by getting EXP from defeating other monsters or by interacting with treasure drops on the bottom screen. The interesting thing about the item interaction is that by interacting with enough of a certain item will cause Chomp to evolve into a new form. Each form has its own level set and by leveling each form Chomp will learn skills. Level even more and Chomp will master those skills and will be able to use those skills in other forms. Each new form will branch out into other locked forms that will give you hints on what type of item will unlock them.
Overall I’m having a blast with this game. It’s smooth and polished and most importantly… its FUN! Using Ellie’s melee to juggle defeated enemies will often result in bonus money or items being dropped making even the most tedious enemies fun to mangle.
Also Majesco threw in a little nod to old school gamers, using the “Konami Code” at the title screen will unlock a yellow dress for Ellie as well as a 5% discount in the stores.
For you younguns hit UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT SELECT at the tile screen. Ellie will confirm if you input the code correctly.