I will be the first to admit that if a game has a cute anime style that I will probably want it with few questions asked. That’s how I felt about Monster Monpiece and shame on me for it. I will state right away, while the Steam store page mentions “micro-transactions” these are no way vital to game-play, they’re a leftover relic from when the game was on PS Vita and won’t even work for all players. I say this now because I’ve seen a lot of people jump to conclusions about the game because of it. Don’t let the word “micro-transaction” scare you, this is a cute collectible card game.
Travel with friends to save the world and bond along the way: The story follows the adventures of a young girl name May. She is very meek and quiet and not the best at working with monster girls — which is important in the game’s fictional world. Humans and monster girls work to co-exist and some humans train to be “masters” as they learn to battle alongside their monster girls. Everything is going peacefully until an evil threat attacks and it’s up to May and her friends to set the balance right in the world.
Collect monster girl trading cards, train them and hone your battle skills: In the story, May and others like her are masters who command monster girls to fight for them, this is simplified as a card game system where each card is a different monster girl. The battle system is easy to learn, despite being a card game it’s more about summoning the right monsters to attack and defeat the ones your opponent summons. There are over 100 cards to collect, adding some variety, but other than artwork it really boils down to who is stronger than who. You win the game if you bring your enemy’s health to zero, they usually start off with three points as do you. Cards can have different skills which help in battle and there are four types of main cards: melee, ranged, healer and spellcaster. Mixing and matching classes and skills with the right stats are what will help win any game. Also, you can train your cards with the unique First Crush Rub Mode!
Enjoy adorable anime style artwork and full Japanese voice acting: The main reason why many will be attracted to this game, the character models are really cute for both humans and monster girls. As mentioned before, the First Crush Rub Mode helps train your team, you click on certain body parts to make them happy and then they sort of evolve, but really all they do is apparently get as close to naked as possible. It’s very much fan service and might turn off some players, but it’s hard to deny that the artwork isn’t very sexy and well done. There are no cut-scenes or much animation in the game, though there are some moments of lovely CG art for the characters, like at one point when they visit a hot spring. Again, fan service, but there is no full nudity. When summoned to the field, monster girls appear as super deformed “chibi” avatars and these are animated, though not a whole lot. The voice acting in the game is well done, all Japanese with no dubbing but only main characters have a voice. All monster girls also have a voice, but this is only heard during First Crush Rub Mode because they will talk to you and moan if you find the right spots.
The story is very simple, but also predictable and generic: While I personally was ok with the light story elements in the game, I do acknowledge that this was one of the weaker points for this title. Don’t expect anything deep, meaningful or overly emotional from this game. While yes, the characters are cute and I wanted them to accomplish their mission, I didn’t feel very connected with any of them. The moments of plot are few and far in between as most time is spent traveling and having card battles. While we do get some character building moments these are sparse and honestly you can tell almost everything about the characters from your first encounters with them. Also, none of your monster girls get a personality aside from Fia/Fear because she’s a main element in the story.
The game-play is shallow and elementary: While this is a collectible card game, it lacks the depth of ones that I’ve played beforehand. Your only cards are the monster girl cards, some have skills and some don’t. Each card costs a certain amount of mana to summon so a good chunk of your game-play will be making sure you have enough mana and having strong enough cards. I, personally, didn’t find skills to be too useful. A strong melee card with a healer or spell caster behind it usually did the trick. The playing field consists of three rows and the monster girls move forward each turn to try and attack the enemy castle. You can’t lay down traps or anything really fancy and as you progress in the game the AI will almost always have better cards than you. These are cards you can’t get unless you do a micro-transaction or wait until end game to have access to the “cash only” booster packs.
Despite cards having skills, I found a whole lot of strategy wasn’t needed and brute force usually prevails making battles repetitive in nature, especially since there is also a training option which is useful for grinding money and Rub Points which you need for First Crush Rub Mode. This mode, while cute and very sexual also became repetitive since there are a lot of cards to rub. I also found a lot not even worth the effort as their power upped forms didn’t offer much of a bonus but if you want to complete your gallery you’ll have to rub a lot of cards. One thing I did like about the gameplay was the ability to combine like cards, either if they’re the same card or the same type of card, be it dragon, fairy, etc. I found this boost to be pretty useful but again, this falls back brute force winning over skill.
The amount of fan service may turn off players: Fan service can be pretty normal in anime and manga themed things from Japan and I’m personally ok with that. However, because First Crush Rub Mode is such a vital part of the game-play, some players may not want to engage in it constantly and thus may not enjoy this title. In First Crush Rub Mode you pretty much have to click on the image of your monster girl card, she will talk to you and moan, a lot, especially if you get the right spot. These “right spots”, however, are usually in sexual places like her chest, bare stomach or even between her legs. Yes, to make your cards stronger you’ll probably have to click your mouse on their crotch many times. Plus, when they get stronger their artwork changes and they lose clothing. Some end up in just panties and topless, though there is no full nudity this isn’t very work safe or good for younger players.
I can’t in good conscious fully recommend Monster Monpiece. Yes, it can be fun and cute and the uncomplicated game-play may even be a selling point to some people but if you’re looking for depth and a collectible card game to sink hours into this might not be it. Yes, there are trading cards and Steam achievements to strive for to help keep you busy but there is also no multiplayer so you’ll have to settle with fighting the AI over and over again, which would not be an issue to me if the game-play just had more to offer. It’s not a bad game at all, especially if you like sexy anime girls but I personally feel this is something to grab only if it’s on sale. There are better games in this genre if you’re serious about collectible card games and honestly, better games with sexy anime girls in them as well.
- Graphics - 80%80%
- Gameplay - 50%50%
- Controls - 80%80%
- Sound - 90%90%
- Replay Value - 70%70%
Monster Monpiece was developed by Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory International. It was released for the PlayStation Vita on May 27th, 2014 and PC via Steam [reviewed] on March 14th, 2017. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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