Because Monday Monsters would just be silly…
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale by Level-5 Games tells the compelling story of fourth grader Sohta, a ten year old student who has been moved into the small and quaint town of Fuji no hana, a quiet suburb in Tokyo’s Setagaya district based in 1971. As the player, you take the role of Sohta, exploring your new neighbourhood and engaging in conversations with the local folk who reside there.
Your father runs the local dry cleaners, while your mother enjoys cooking and taking care of her son. It’s made very clear at the start of the game, that the father is trying to set up business in the dry cleaners and takes pride on his work, but suffers from low-esteem, while the mother takes the role of the more dominant of the two. The story depicts the emotions and challenges of the characters and their personalities very well.
The town has an idyllic and beautiful atmosphere, giving the impression of a quiet, undisturbed environment, where you’ll explore and play and interact with other students in the area. The long summer days are only disrupted by a local mystery of monsters that strike on a Friday, giving the game a dark undertone. Are these monsters real? Or just something re-imagined from your typical Japanese TV show?
As a ten year old, your innocent exploration takes becomes a journey of investigating the town, becoming acquainted with the townsfolk and occasionally engaging in immersive conversations. Sohta is a curious child, and takes to his adventures with a small backpack given to him by his mother. He will do deliveries and run errands for the residents of the town, defeat monsters and occasionally wander quietly in and out of the captivating environments.
During your adventures you’ll be challenged to participate in a monster card battle game, which will involve each participant having five cards to be used in battle. However, when you lose a game of monster cards, you become the winner’s servant until you win against them. The game is a bit strange, but is fundamentally a rock, paper, and scissors style game. It’s an interesting mini-game and gives you a distraction from the main storyline.
Much of the mechanics of the game involve moving and investigating quiet alleyways with strange footprints to understanding the local students who seem troublesome. During your journey, you’ll engage in monster battles and collect glims, which are left behind from monsters you have defeated. If you gather seven glims, you’re rewarded with a monster card. Collect more than five and you can participate in monster card battles against other characters within the game. There are hints highlighted if you’re not sure where you need to be, giving the player a clear indication of where they are going.
The game has a very nostalgic feel about it and definitely feels like a Studio Ghibli style role-playing game. However, the storyline is not deep and gameplay is rather light, it’s almost like reading and playing inside a storybook. Having said that though, it’s a truly beautiful experience, and tugs at the old heartstrings along the way. You feel emotion for the characters and what they’ve endured in their lives, while at the same time your curiosity will drive you to progress. You’ll become aware very early on in the game where you need to travel for the plotline to continue, so the experience is much more linear than I had hoped.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is a strange and interesting game filled with beautiful environments and colourful characters. The fact that it’s priced at £7.19 seems a bit high for a 3DS eShop title that can be completed in around four hours, but that can be forgiven for such a graphically stunning and immersive game.
Both the hardcore gamer and the more casual 3DS player will find enjoyment in Attack of the Friday Monsters, with one able to finish all of the quests while the other simply follows the interesting storyline. While the game plays more like a visual novel than your typical RPG, it’s the presentation, story and characters that make this one of the most enjoyable 3DS games that I have ever had the pleasure of playing.