Review: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale

Developer: Millennium Kitchen Co., Ltd. | Year: 2013 | List Price: $7.99
Buy from Nintendo eShop

Attack of the Friday MonstersFresh off my first ever paycheck, I added $40 to my 3DS’ eShop account and proceeded to buy many things. I got this game along with Shovel Knight, SteamWorld Dig, Super Mario Bros. 3, and, with the awkward $5.02 remaining that can’t quite afford a proper NES game, I got Dragon Crystal (sorry Defenders of Oasis, I’ll get you another time!). Because I read that Attack of the Friday Monsters was the shortest game, I decided to play it last night after dinner, and I finished it before bedtime. It’s that short.

But is it any good? That depends. If you really like to immerse yourself in an environment and experience a good story, then yes, it is. But if you value gameplay at all, then no, because this game is basically a 3-hour slice-of-life anime that plays out before you, requiring nothing more from you than to run from quest marker to quest marker. Oh, and there’s a rudimentary card game you can play, but it’s basically rock-paper-scissors plus a bit of extra strategy mixed in.

Somehow, despite its meagre length and shallow gameplay, Attack of the Friday Monsters manages to be a completely enjoyable experience. This is because of its 1970’s suburban Tokyo setting, which gives it a charm which almost redeems it when coupled with likeable characters. You also experience the game through the eyes of a 4th grader, which lends a theme of innocence to the game as the protagonist doesn’t quite understand many of the events surrounding him.

In any case, let’s break this game down:

Design: 7/10: There is no doubt that Attack of the Friday Monsters is a labour of love. The story is memorable and charming, the characters are completely relatable and the overall atmosphere is pleasing and nostalgic. The only issue is that the world is extremely tiny, only comprising a single town and hillside, and that the entire experience is short and while the ending isn’t unsatisfying, it does leave some loose ends untied.

Graphics: 8/10: The setting of this adventure is absolutely gorgeous. The game really couldn’t have delivered its Japanese-ness without the anime-style hand-drawn backdrops and the 3D is also rather well done, even if I didn’t use it much. The only nitpick I have is that they tried to give the characters a little more 3D-polygon style and that clashed a bit with the strictly 2D backgrounds.

Sound: 9/10: This game does its sound correctly. There is ambient noise in the form of distant radios playing and railroad crossing lights, and the music is quite good. I wouldn’t say there are that many tracks, but because the game is so short, the music never gets tiring to listen to. As a bonus, there is also Japanese voice-acting and a fully voiced credits theme which is iPod-worthy!

Gameplay: 2/10: This is where Attack of the Friday Monsters really suffers. Gameplay basically consists of following quest markers and talking to people, with the occasional card-game thrown in, and even that is bare-bones and luck-based. Another complaint is that the perspective changes when you move from area to area, so moving in a straight line on the map requires you to change your direction on the Circle Pad constantly. You can hold B to strictly move straight, but then changing directions is still a pain.

Value 4/10: This game doesn’t really deliver much value either. At $7.99, it only gave me 2 hours 22 minutes of gameplay from opening to closing credits. Granted, there’s always the postgame where you can collect all the cards and tie up loose ends with sidequests, but I can’t imagine the game giving you any more than 4 hours total of gameplay. Replay value is also non-existent because the story will be exactly the same each time. It is a completely unique experience on the 3DS, however, and for that reason, I can’t really regret the purchase. No game has come before it on the platform and it’s likely none will come after.

Total: 30/50 (D)

List Price: $7.99 | Buy from Nintendo eShop

What do you think of Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale? Tell us in the comments! Also, want to know how this game stacks up against all the other games I’ve played? I’ve created a numbered list here that I update every time I play a new game. Finally, be sure to check out all of Kantaloupe’s other game reviews right here!

And watch out, because in the coming weeks I’ll make an effort to review many of the other games I bought this weekend as well as classics in my Nintendo library!

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