Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
Developer: Game Atelier
Publisher: FDG Games
Category: Platformer, Puzzle, Adventure
Release Date: 12.04.2018
Monster Boy may have laid it’s humble roots on the SEGA family way back in the mid 80s but with this being a Nintendo site we won’t hold that against them.
Also, I apologise for swearing.
When Game Atelier, the talented indie developers from my 2nd favourite city on the entire planet were successfully backed on Kickstarter and embarked on development of a sequel to flying hamster, well – life went on. When FDG, the publishers that brought us Oceanhorn and last years quite brilliant Blossom tales, and the game was reconceptulised as Monster Boy and the Wizard of booze, as it was originally titled, my interest was piqued. Evidently, Monster Boy is a spiritual successor to the Wonder Boy franchise in every way imaginable, but maintains the moniker Monster Boy, despite the change in sub heading to ‘The cursed kingdom, as SEGA still owns rights to the Wonder Boy IP.
Again, apologies for the crass language.
A monster can have many faces
Monster Boy and the cursed kingdom is an open world platform puzzler with Metroidvania elements. In the games early moments, our lovable lead Jin, can run, jump and attack with his sword in typical fashion. However as events transpire he is soon cursed, along with every other member of Monster World and given his new found appearance as a pig, his move set is somewhat different then it was when he held a humanoid form. Instead of being able to wield a weapon, Jin can now jab with his short piggy stumps, wherein limiting his attack range. What Pig-Jin does possess is a tremendous sniffer which enables him to find hidden secrets, chests and platforms to name but a few.
As this suitably epic title progress, you unlock new forms for Jin to utilise which offer a whole plethora of new skills and lends itself to the aforementioned Metroidvania elements of the game, as you can now use use these new abilities to access areas which earlier seems inaccessible.
Being at its core, a platformer, controls are of the upmost importance, and after hours spent depriving myself of sleep to fully experience this rapturous romp, I’m delighted to report that through the games entirety, every jump, dash and attack behaves exactly as you would expect offering a tight and enjoyable experience.
That’s not to say that Monster Boy is in anyway easy. Far from it, this game will introduce you to your maker, on numerous occasions and at times will be put you to the test with some truly inventive and at times delightfully infuriating puzzles. As with anything in life, good things come to those who wait and when such a puzzle has been solved the feeling of intense satisfaction is quite unlike anything else.
Beauty and the Beast
From the opening moments of this monstrous title, it quickly becomes painfully obvious just how much love has been put into bringing this world to life.
As my good friends over at Miketendo64 alluded too, a full season run of a Monster Boy anime would be absolutely cracking.
Monster Boy’s artistic direction is utterly breath taking, borrowing heavily from its humble roots whilst simultaneously applying the most delectable lick of modern paint imaginable. The game world is vibrant and full of life, in the same way that Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze packs it’s environments with detail. There so much going on and it all just looks really good.
Real tasty like!!
The attention to detail really makes me feel like this game could have been made by Nintendo, it’s honestly that polished and continues to deliver faultlessly throughout. All the game areas are unique and engaging, brimming with unique enemies, traps and platforming challenges and environmental puzzles and the NPCs are packed full of personality and their own inimitable humour.
On top of the incredible visual styling, Monster Boy has a soundtrack that won’t quit, offering some real quality ambience to proceedings as well as some numbers that will have you tapping your feet or humming along. Scattered throughout the land are musical scrolls that belong to a musician by the name of Ollie. When you return these to him you can change the background music that plays, so if you have a particular favourite, feel free to have it on repeat.
Monster of a deal
Monster Boy is a monster of a boy, truly a game of epic proportions. After all is said and done with the main story quest there remains a gorgeous and diverse world to explore with a complete move set that is packed to the rafters with secrets and easter eggs.
On top of that, this title absolutely nails the multi genre, something that I’ve had issues with in the past. Aside from all the aforementioned genres earlier in the review there’s a really cool shmup sections later that really delivers.
I’ve heard a few people grumbling about how £35 is expensive for an indie game. Let me just say, it’s not. Nintendo are re-releasing New Super Mario Bros. U in January, a 6 year old game, a game that I adore and have played a lot off. That game pales in comparison to Monster Boy, which is probably the biggest compliment that I can give it. My Point being, Nintendo will probably charge £40-50 for that title. This game is worth every single penny.
Game Atelier and FDG have done an absolutely phenomenal job in bringing this world to life and I for one can not wait to see what they do, either together or on their own, next. Oh wait, yes I can, I’ll just play some more Monster Boy in the meantime.
Utterly stunning in every way. Lovingly brought to life with care and consideration. Incredibly fun to play.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is the game that keeps on giving. Stop reading this review and buy this gorgeous game already.