I sat down to play Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale last Friday evening. Over the course of that first sitting, which lasted maybe an hour, I had a grin running all the way across my face.
This tiny game is fantastic. It just launched for the Nintendo 3DS as a downloadable title, and it’s selling for $7.99 on the Nintendo eShop.
Attack of the Friday Monsters is the story of one boy’s summer Friday afternoon in a sleepy Tokyo suburb. Players explore the small village, talk to locals, run errands and battle local kids as they learn the story of the giant monsters that fight in this town every Friday.
It’s a lot of good natured fun.
A Beautifully Nostalgic, Japanese Summer
The first two things you’ll love in Attack are the art style and the music.
The art in this game has been entirely hand-painted, and it looks like each scene was ripped out of a Studio Ghibli flick. The music is all orchestral and sweeps your from moment to moment with ease.
These two aesthetic features pair up to make Attack of the Friday Monsters! extremely easy to digest. The dialogue is slow and scripted, the battles (we’ll get there in a second) are quick and simple and the plot is paced perfectly.
If you’ve ever been to Japan during the summer, you know exactly how hot, slow and friendly small towns can be. That’s exactly what this game feels like, and it’s wonderful for that reason.
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Monsters
Within the art and text driven adventure game that is Attack of the Friday Monsters! lies a card battle system. Don’t get your hopes up too high, stat nerds, this mini game is exceptionally simplistic.
That’s not a bad thing. Like I said before, this game is all about the innocence of children and the era of growing up. The card battle system within the title is little more than a diversion and catalyst for the game’s storyline.
Basically, players will collect sparkly things called “glims” throughout the game. These fall on the ground or are delivered after a card battle. Each glim is a piece of a monster card. Collect enough glims and you’ll unlock a new monster.
These monster cards are little more than rock, paper and scissors elements with a strength number. The literally have a RPS badge on their faces so that players can determine which monster represents which attacking element.
You’ll approach another kid in the game, and you’ll ask to battle them. Each player picks five cards and lays them face down. The game tells you who is winning as of that moment and gives hints on which cards will lose and draw. From there, you have the option to swap cards around in order to better your position. The cards are flopped, and, well, that’s it.
Beat another kid and you’ll be labelled his boss. You’ll also be able to cast a spell on them so they fall down on command. Yep, it sounds childish, but even this goofy aspect plays a role in the overall storyline.
Pretty Much Worth the Price of Admission
All told, my Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale save file checks in at exactly two hours and 35 minutes. I can still explore the world, unlock monsters and battle friends in the card game, but that system is so simple that I have no desire to return.
Which wouldn’t really be a problem were it not for the game’s price. I loved Attack of the Friday Monsters!. It’s a great, beautiful and well paced game. Its $8 price tag, though, is a turn off. If that’s outside your spending budget for a two hour and 30 minute experience, then I suggest waiting for a minor price drop.
However, if you think of the game like a lengthy movie in theaters, $8 sounds just right. If you go about consuming shorter games with that mentality, then this one is absolutely perfect. You won’t want to play it after your first experience, but those two (plus) hours are just about perfect.
Disclaimer: We received a code to download and review Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale from a PR firm. We completed the game before starting this review.