Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monster Boy Review

Monster Boy is a game I played back in winter, but I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. Normally, I review games shortly after finishing them, but in this case, I've come to appreciate this game more the longer I've had time to reflect on it.

Monster Boy is a hand-drawn 2D Metroidvania game and is a successor to Sega's Wonder Boy series. Throughout the game, the player character increases his ability to explore the environment by learning to transform into various animals. Each animal offers new traversal abilities such as crawling through tight spaces, swimming, or flying.

  • The animation and artwork are gorgeous and impressively detailed. Each of the animal forms of the hero feels like they could be a main character in a kid's cartoon and even background NPCs have a distinct sense of personality.
  • In addition to being cute and charming, the different animal forms are a lot of fun to use. The game provides you with ample uses for each one and switching between them is a snappy process. I had so much fun changing between the animal forms, I was actually a little bummed out when I gained the ability to turn back into a human (i.e. the lamest animal).
  • Most Metroidvania games are content to provide a mix of exploration, platforming challenges, and light combat. Monster Boy adds an extra layer of depth by incorporating environmental puzzles into each area. I thought this was a great addition to the standard genre formula even though there were some situations where it wasn't clear what I was supposed to do next.
  • Compared to any other Metroidvania I've played, the game world of Monster Boy is absolutely massive. In fact, it took me over 24 hours to finish this game's campaign; a little over twice as long as any other game I've played in this genre. While I'm glad it wasn't any longer than that, I feel like it kept things interesting for pretty much its entire running time.
  • The story of this game is nothing particularly interesting but it does a good job of introducing the player to the world of Wonder Boy (which I had no prior experience with). I also got a good chuckle out of some of the dialog.
  • I finished this game back in March and I still find myself humming some of its music. Monster Boy has a very strong soundtrack.
When I went to Best Buy to pick up a copy of Monster Boy, I initially balked at the $40 price tag, a heftier price than I've ever paid for a game of this type before. However, after seeing the level of polish in this game's presentation and gameplay, as well as the sheer amount of content on offer, I'm really glad I was able to get over the sticker shock! I think anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Metroidvania genre owes it to themselves to give Monster Boy a shot.

Score: ⭐⭐⭐
Completion Time: 24 hours, 33 minutes (78.5% completion)

Acknowledgment: This post is part of the #Blaugust2019 event held by Tales of the Aggronaut. In fact, this year's Blaugust marks the third birthday of this blog! For more info about Blaugust, check out this article.

1 comment:

  1. It's always nice when letting something settle in your mind helps form (and even improve) your thoughts on it. Really impressive that you came away from it so positively given how simple (if utterly charming) it looks on the surface!