As part of Level 5’s short-lived Guild series, Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale tells the story of a young boy named Sohta, and his group of friends who live in a town where monsters and superheroes appear every Friday without fail. It’s a quirky little game, but you’ll find yourself falling in love with its awesome presentation and its ability to make you feel nostalgic for a time and place that is completely alien to the average Westerner.
Sohta’s tale is one full of intrigue, asking questions like what exactly are the monsters? Are they real? Are they scary? It’s incredibly charming straight from the off, with a graphical style that strongly evokes the manga and anime scene of the 1970s. Indeed, the art-style perfectly evokes the time period, setting and pace of the game. It’s beautifully tranquil. You’ll walk over quiet streams, gawk in awe at the simple sight of trains going by in the background, and you’ll wander through the quiet, happy streets of Sohta’s hometown. The serene images and low-key soundtrack allow Attack of the Friday Monsters to be used as a relaxation agent. If you’re having a rough day, switch this game on for a little while and see as it relaxes and soothes your soul.
The gameplay, or lack of it, helps you to calm down and relax too. You’ll spend the majority of your three-five hours in the game wandering around, talking to all the charming townsfolk. You’ll solve mysteries, do little jobs and help people out. Some of the revelations you’ll come across might blow your mind, but it’s all handled in a humorous, low-key way. It might not sound like the most engrossing game ever, but trust me, I didn’t want to put my 3DS down. The gameplay is supplemented by card battles, monster card battles. These aren’t particularly complicated and work on a rock-paper-scissors system, but collecting the cards is a fun little aside.
You’ll find little shiny spots on the floor, of different colours, scattered around the game’s world. Pick up enough of the same colour, and you’ll unlock a new card to battle with. The designs are fun, and the descriptions of the monsters are often quite funny. Like I said above, the card battles aren’t overly complicated, but it’s great seeing the dedication to the game Sohta and his pals share. You beat your opponent, and they become your servant, you get to place a cute little spell on them. Sometimes you will find that to advance in the game, you’ll need to beat someone in a game of cards in order to learn more, or to discover a secret.
Unfortunately, the card battles can get in the way a little towards the end. I wanted to breeze through the game, taking in the sights and sounds of Sohta’s hometown, and felt that the enforced card battles killed momentum. I also felt that the game’s wacky ending felt a little out-of-place compared to the quiet nature of the rest of the game. My biggest gripe with Attack of the Friday Monsters though? I wanted to spend more time with it. The serene, quiet beauty of the game is over all too soon. It’s sizable enough for a download title, but it was so good that it deserved to be bigger.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is incredibly charming, but over a little too soon.