Modern Review: Attack Of The Friday Monsters (Nintendo 3DS)

Review-Attack-of-the-Friday-Monsters-3DSEvery now and then, an unheard gaming gem is seen and heard by so many people without even realising it. Think Psychonaughts for example – many of us in the gaming community know of its brilliance but let’s be honest – who actually bought it? It isn’t comparable to Tim Schafers’ effort in terms of genre; it couldn’t be further from it if it tried. Brought to you by the juggernaut that is Level 5 (Prof Layton fame) and super heavyweight game helmer Keiji Inafune (that guy that just happens to be the creator of Megaman), you know that this has quality stamped all over it.

Attack can be described as a coming of age (of sorts) tale seen through the eyes of a young boy called Shota. He and his family have recently moved to a sleepy suburb of Tokyo – his father running the local dry cleaners. This is basically the set up – you are the new kid in town who is a part of a modest Japanese family. The game begins with your father giving you the mission of delivering some dry cleaning to one of the locals. From here you are free to explore the small sleepy town and meet some of its inhabitants, unlocking random quests as you go. The quests pop at random when you talk to people – these occur in a random order, but don’t worry, you won’t miss out if you push the main meat of the story on, it is so well written that at times you can wrap up two or three tasks at once.

I suppose I should talk about the title of the game! Every Friday, giant monsters appear and do battle with one another. As you start the game, there are many townsfolk warning you of what day it is and the danger this brings. This gives you an added sense of danger – but it is so strange having this juxtaposed with the idyllic and always serene nature of the town. Just what are these monsters? When will they attack in the game? How can a little boy stop them? The game always keeps you guessing until the script plays out. It is just as much fun exploring the town as it is driving the narrative on so you find that there is no rush to answer the questions the game leaves.

attack-of-the-friday-monsters-screen1

The town itself is sumptuously realised and really brings in the immersion. River brooks babble, the crickets chirp in the surrounding grass land and there is a mysterious train that rumbles through the area constantly. You can hear it in the distance on screens where you are further away from the train line – every little detail has been looked at to keep you in the fantasy. The graphical style reminds me of a Studio Ghibli film – the characters are all traditional Japanese people and play to the eastern culture and ideology. The music score is fantastically orchestrated, it complements the atmosphere perfectly.

Boiling Attack down to its gameplay core mechanics – it is a basic, bare bones fetch quest adventure. This doesn’t sound too appealing, but the charming world on offer is undeniable. There is also an element of collectibles in the form of a paper, scissors, rock monster card game. Cards are strewn all over so it is not difficult in finding them and when you complete a task you get even more. Cards can be levelled up by combining duplicates so there is a bit more padding to sink your teeth into. The game itself is quite challenging to start with and it sometimes feels like the computer has cheated you, but it is a fun distraction.

You can power through Attack in a couple of measly hours – it is not long at all. But if you do this you are really missing the point. The game is supposed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace – you can’t die and there are no time constraints so what is the rush? The whole point is to lose yourself in a world beautifully crafted and realised. It simply isn’t possible to play Attack without a huge beaming smile plastered across your face. For me it took me back to my own childhood and how I saw the world as a kid. You complete such trivial tasks which Shota sees as insurmountable quests – this is what connects you to his character.

I can not recommend Attack Of The Friday Monsters enough. In a world where the death match is king this is a wonderful change of pace. The game is download only on the 3DS store. It was advertised on the store start screen for a while so we all saw it – but just how many of us simply dismissed it without questioning why monsters only come out on a Friday?

Attack Of The Friday Monsters Gameplay


Last Updated ( 02 April 2014 )  

James 'ewjim' Evans

Jim is a self confessed know it all when it comes to 16-bit gaming. With a strange fondness of playing rubbish videogames for the fun of it, there is no stoop too low he won't go to for entertainment.

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Comments 

(Link to this comment) ollie809 2014-04-02 17:46
Very nice read. It's a game I've passed up because it download only sadly maybe ill catch it one day on sale it sounds like a lovely romp.
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