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3DS  header logo

Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale

For: 3DS

A novel game

Product: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale | Developer: Level-5 | Publisher: Level-5 | Format: 3DS | Genre: Adventure, Casual, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale 3DS, thumbnail 1
The Guild01 and Guild02 packages from Japan - broken up and released individually in the West - have proved to be a breeding ground for left-field ideas on the 3DS.

Though they received mixed critical receptions, Liberation Maiden, The Starship Damrey, Bugs vs. Tanks, Aero Porter, and Crimson Shroud have nevertheless demonstrated that there's a lot of weird and wonderful creative talent coming out of Japan.

Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale is perhaps the most straightforward of the releases so far, but it's also one of the best, and provides a finely crafted tale of childhood curiosity and imagination.

Monsters in my pocket

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It's the '70s, and you play as Sohta, a young boy who has recently moved to a sleepy Japanese town. The place is a mixture of local traders and service providers, with industrial chimneys billowing smoke in the distance.

Its population is close knit. Throughout the course of the story you'll encounter friendly policemen who know you by name, the staff of a local TV channel, and resident bullies. And you'll watch a minor feud form between your family and a restaurant owner. It's a game about small communities, and the experience of young people growing up within them.

It's also about titanic monsters like the ones in Godzilla movies.

Sohta and his pals are obsessed with tracking the monsters that supposedly terrorise the town every Friday, and much of the story focuses on their quest to discover the truth behind these behemoths.

With the energetic youth of the main characters, the quiet of the town, and the fantastical premise, the tone is almost idyllic. Combined with the sun-drenched pre-rendered 2D environment, the chirp of cicadas, and the steady-paced gameplay, it's a world you'll love exploring in your own good time.

Telling tales

You might describe Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale as a "visual novel", but it's not in first-person like a typical entry in that genre, such as Virtue's Last Reward. Instead, you roam about the world in third-person 3D, investigating areas of interest pointed out on your map.

You speak with characters and the linear story unfolds. It's as simple as that. As you navigate the town, backtracking constantly, an intimate connection forms between you and the streets, until you find yourself taking the kinds of little shortcuts that exist in every place but only true residents know about.

On your travels you pick up small bundles of light that are scattered about. These are called Monster Glim, and collecting enough of them will create a card you can use in the current craze coursing through Sohta's social circle: Monster Cards.

This is basically a very simple game based on Rock, Paper, Scissors, and you'll occasionally need to play your pals and win to progress the narrative. I found it to be mostly a game of luck, and there's no great penalty for failure. You can also increase your chances of winning by creating more powerful cards through combining two weaker ones.

But you won't care much for these traditional game elements - it's the plot and the world that will keep you coming back.

Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale may not have much in the way of actual gameplay, but nor should it. This is a beguiling story of discovery and innocence in a gorgeous and (mostly) serene environment, and if you approach it on these terms you won't be disappointed.
 
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 25 July 2013
Twitch gamers will need to look elsewhere for their kicks, but anyone who can enjoy a fantastically paced story of childhood will adore the exploits of Sohta and the gang
 
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