It’s hard to decide where to begin with Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale. The game appears to be a typical Japanese RPG set in a tranquil but small town somewhere in Japan. Created by Kaz Ayabe with his company, Millennium Kitchen, Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is more of an entertaining short story than a game.
The game is based in the 70’s at a time where Japanese Tokusatsu shows ruled the airwaves. A time where giant monsters invading cities similar to those found in the early Power Rangers TV-show was the norm. In this quiet little town, Fuji no Hana, every Friday something special happens. In a backdrop of hand painted shacks and bland grey industrial buildings, giant monsters or “Kaju” invade the town – or so we think.
It’s hard to really describe what genre this Level-5 experiment really is. It’s hardly an RPG, but at the same time it’s hardly an adventure game. From the very beginning you’re given a treat of a song sang in Japanese which introduces the story in poorly worded English subtitles, you begin the game as Sohta, the 10-year-old son of a dry cleaner and his wife. Sohta is also new to the area as an exchange student – I think.. To begin the story you’re tasked with the job of delivering some laundry to another local resident and so begins your journey.
Artistically the game is absolutely beautiful, it really captures that old school Japanese era and makes you want to explore every single nook and cranny which is useful I guess because in the game one of the only real game play aspects are the collection of small gemstones called Glims. These Glims are apparently left behind every time a monster is defeated and once seven of the same Glims are picked up you’re rewarded with a Monster Card, I’ll get into that a little later.
The story itself is something, I’ll tell you that. It all begins pretty simply, Sohta is new to the area so really he just wants to find new friends something which happens fairly quickly without effort, after a brief tour around the town by one of the older kids Sohta begins to focus on the monsters, something which he’s all too suspicious about. After a trip to the TV show studio Sohta also wants to become a junior member of the Space Defence Department – think of it like a fan club for a TV show – so he can help fight the monsters but the stations producer is all but helpful.
The story is told through a series of different episodes. Initially I thought they were chapters of the overall story but they’re not, you start and finish episodes quicker than a squirrel fetching and burying nuts for Winter. Sadly there’s really no imagination or puzzles to completing each episode as the mini map will always prompt you to where you need to go next.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale begins as a fairly interesting mystery story. Why are their giant footprints going through the town? Why do monsters only come out on a Friday? Who’s this weird old man in a magicians costume? Oh, that’s just Frank..
The game itself loses all complexity thanks to the mini map prompts and the only real gameplay aspect is in the form of Monster Cards which is essentially rock, paper, scissors wrapped in pretty paper with some monsters slapped on top of it. Once you’ve collected enough Glims to have a deck of five cards you play against another character with his or her own hand. You lay them down on the table and you’re given clues as to whether you’re going to win or not. Depending on who’s turn it is you’ll see two or three clues which will show you if that card is going to beat your opponents, you then have to switch cards. If you draw it then comes down to the cards hit points, similar to a game of Top Trumps then, if your card has a higher hit point then you win.
The overall winner becomes the opponents “boss” which means after a “spell” is cast your opponent must fall down until he or she is told to arise – to add a little depth to this you can actually edit your own spell from a series of different phrases.
If you’re the sort of person that likes to fully complete a game you can actually try to collect all 15 of the different cards, you’ll probably get duplicates but that’s okay as you can combine three of the same cards together to create a card with a higher hit points, which in turn will give you the advantage when you draw with your opponent.
Without revealing too much, the story itself isn’t actually overly interesting, enjoyable – yes, interesting – hardly. What gave me a fair few laughs was how quickly the game got weird. One moment I’m investigating the town and finding the truth behind the Friday Monsters, the next I’m watching Cleaning Man and a giant robotic dinosaur battle it out. That’s right, Cleaning Man – Look out Power Rangers, there’s a new hero in town.
Cleaning Man aside I’ll have to admit I did enjoy the game, it’s short in length and doesn’t require too much thinking to play. It was a pretty game to experience and although the gameplay is about as complex and a single knot in a piece of string, playing Monster Cards was an entertaining side-mission. Once you’ve completed the game you’re given the freedom to roam around the town to complete any of the episodes you may have missed as well as collecting more Glims.
Overall Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is a nice quick story for you to play through on a commute to work or on a quiet Sunday evening. If you’re into your Japanese RPG’s I’m not sure if this game would be for you. It’s a gorgeous game but it’s essentially just an interactive story rather than a role playing game. Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is available for £7.19 on the Nintendo 3DS eShop which is not bad price, there’s a round two or so hours of gameplay, but like I said the game does continue once you’ve finished the main story.
Have you played Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale? If you have let me know what you thought in the comments below!