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Monster Monpiece Review

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monmon_box

For better or worse, my dissection into the world of seemingly perverse games continues.  I’ve already discovered that while HuniePop does have pornographic content in it, the brunt of the game save for a handful of still images deals mostly with a hybrid of a basic dating sim and match three cell phone games.  Now I’m tackling yet another game shrouded in controversy: Monster Monpiece.  This title garnered most of its attention – and definitely everyone’s excuse for not picking it up – based on the fact that it contained scantily clad girls and women that you would touch, pinch, tickle, and even rub in a masturbatory way to level up.  Not the most thought provoking of activities to be sure, and I certainly did not level up anyone in public, but much like HuniePop a majority of what you will be doing in the game is quite tame.  For those hardcore otaku out there the game was also avoided in the West due to the fact that some of the cards were censored or artwork cut completely from the game to satisfy both the ESRB and PEGI ratings boards as well as a digital only release, which were all proactive choices made by publisher Idea Factory.  What resulted was a game that the typical gamer wouldn’t touch and the more perverted gamer no longer wanted (opting most likely for the boxed, uncensored Japanese version) and Monster Monpiece was basically put out to die.  This is only unfortunate because I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer size, options, and depth provided by this decent digital card game.

monmon_card

In a plot that much like many decisions made in the game appears to be developed for and cater to the mildly perverse anime fan, the world of Yafanir is made up of the human race and a race of hot monster girls coexisting.  Human teenage girls can attend different academies to learn how to become Masters to the monster girl race.  These girls then, through the use of the game’s card game, battle their female monsters against one another to prove who is more powerful.  Think of it as the sexy version of Pokemon only instead of turn-based battles you are presented with a middle tier card game.  The story surrounds a group of girls learning to become Masters who suddenly have one of the group get cursed and follow her throughout the land trying to discover what ancient evil cursed her and how to stop it.

monmon_rubWhat you will be doing through most of the game is battling against the AI (or other players in the online mode, which I will get to later) to gain money, cards, card packs, or other bonuses that assist in creating a powerful deck.  I consider this a mid-tier card game because the rules are somewhat basic and won’t take you long to learn, however the cards themselves can quickly become complicated and it will take time to master the aspects of higher level play required to complete the game’s campaign and take your battles competitively online.  Unlike more basic card battling games – like the types you see on mobile that are mostly just stat comparison – and higher tier titles like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone that can have rule-breaking cards frequently appear, Monster Monpiece does well to stay in the rule set and basic design you are introduced to, but also delves into deeper sub systems that allow for plenty of variety.  You’ll have different color schemes that work together, ways to boost your mana or drain your opponents, and figuring out the best combination of cards that compliment and assist one another.  At face value, it’s a fun, relatively simple, and quite addicting card game that just happens to star some scantily clad women to represent the card artwork.  That is, until you get into the process of leveling up the characters, which is basically you touching the screen and even rubbing both screens in a suggestive way to not only change the card but remove some of the girl’s clothes in the artwork.  While the leveling system – known as “First Crush” or “Extreme Rub” – is a separated and clear side feature of the main game, in order to succeed you will have to get your cards into different states than their natural one and essentially means you’ll have to be doing some embarrassing rubbing if you hope to succeed an find the best combinations for your cards.  Much like other Japanese risque titles, even this requires a lot of non-sexy book keeping that had me managing a 100+ line Excel spreadsheet to figure out the stats and powers of each of the cards’ 3 leveled states so that I could get the cards I needed for the deck I wanted.  So if you’re hoping to get aroused by looking at nearly naked girls as the focal point of your game playing, you’re going to be putting in many hours of effort for a payout that is far more tame than the three seconds it takes you to search online for the content you want.

monmon_avatarIf you play as many card games as I have, both tangible and digital, you will know that the artwork is just as important as the game itself.  You are going to be looking at these cards quite often and you need to be able to visualize each one as a part of your team.  Monster Monpiece takes it that extra step that some card games do by displaying avatars to represent the characters, but save for a few random pieces of customization all of your monster girls really just end up looking like SD (stands for super deformed) versions of a high school girl.  This makes the art particularly more important because once cast you don’t get to continue to see the art like you do in other card games.  Sure, most of the poses and costumes are suggestive, but as for human female representations of mythological monsters I have to say it is excellent work whether or not you agree with the subject matter.  This is also why you may spend just as much time purchasing and opening packs looking for new monsters/cards as you do out in the world battling opponents.

monmon_battleI really wish I could tell you that once you overlook the subject matter and the methods to leveling up that this is a fantastic card game that can compete with the big dogs, but the reality is that it simply is not.  It’s fun for sure in the first few hours, but by the time you get to the game’s final chapter you’ve probably had about all of the canned decks with illogical enemy AI you can stand and wish to play against another player.  Unfortunately that’s where the Western version clearly lacks against the Japanese version because there’s almost no online activity.  I’ve tried searching all hours of the day and night hoping to find another player I can compete with to get some of the online only prizes without much success.  That’s not to say I never find anyone online, but the times are always so random and weird I’m never prepared for it when it happens.  I was skilled enough to construct a deck against the laughable difficulty of the computer but the few online opponents I’ve found have much better decks with some cards I’ve never seen before and crush me before too long.  This means that the high level play is far beyond what most will be able to learn from just playing the campaign and I don’t know anyone else who has this game, so the value of this title dwindles significantly with the reality that there is no thriving online community.  While the campaign is just fine, the final chapter of the game is probably longer than all of the chapters before it combined, so it took me a very bored month of random games and battles to finally complete it and see the end of a story I didn’t care about.  That said, I’ve probably put in at least 30 hours on the campaign alone so it’s worth the price just to experience that much time with a somewhat unique card game.  This still does not make up for or excuse the fact that this is a very stripped down game when compared to the Japanese counterpart, not due to the censored cards but rather the sheer lack of players.

In the end Monster Monpiece, much like most controversial games, is not anywhere near as arousing or sexual as the game may initially lead on and buried behind that titillating exterior lies a decent digital card game.  It’ll be some fun for a single campaign run, but as for legs, unlike the characters in this game Monster Monpiece has none.  It’s stifled by the fact that it has no true audience in the West and thus has no player base, which basically kills the value of a competitive card game.  It’s worth checking out and playing just to see what interesting games are coming out of Japan and to enjoy the experience while it lasts or until you get bored, but even as I write these comments I realize that won’t be many of you readers.  For the select few, perhaps the $20 price point is worth the experience, and for the others who think that’s too high it goes on sale from time to time for about half that.  I had to see what all the fuss is about and in the end, while it’s charming, the real answer is: not much.

Final Score: 3 out of 5  (review policy)

Written by Fred Rojas

May 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm

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