Monster Top

 

Compile Heart and Idea Factory are well known for their JRPGs. Their latest game still has some of that RPG flair with a new style. This time, they have created a card game. The RPG feel is still prevalent, while the card game adds a new dynamic that I don’t think has been drawn on enough. The style fits perfectly with the portability of the Vita. However, I believe some of the internal mechanics for the game take a bit away from the title with such a focus on the “pretty girl” factor of the game. Here’s a closer look at the game Monster Monpiece. is well known for their JRPGs. Their latest game still has some of that RPG flair with a new style. This time, they have created a card game. The RPG feel is still prevalent, while the card game adds a new dynamic that I don’t think has been drawn on enough. The style fits perfectly with the portability of the Vita. However, I believe some of the internal mechanics for the game take a bit away from the title with such a focus on the “pretty girl” factor of the game. Here’s a closer look at the game Monster Monpiece.

Gameplay:

Yafanir, a world punished by gods for the way that man grew violent with each other. They were first punished by monsters that would be able to dominate them. When the monsters grew power hungry, the gods punished them by confining them to human bodies. To use their powers, the monsters had to work with humans. Eventually, monsters and humans had to learn to live together. An academy was established to have both monsters girls (embedded in cards) and the humans (masters who can unlock the power of the cards) work together toward a common goal. Both work to be the strongest pair and guard the powerful crystals that help each of the nations thrive.

May is the main character in this story: an academy student who needs a bit of a push to unlock her potential. Karen is the knowledgeable observer, and Elza is the go-getter friend trying to help May out. They start on their journey to a nearby town, eager to start their training as battlers. In their travels, a mysterious stranger infects Elza with the disease known as “Lost”. Lost can affect humans and monster girls, and causes them to go crazy and frenzied. This stranger has some way to control those who are lost, and May and Karen must try to stop them from taking the crystals from all the towns.

monpiece card

 

The card game is easy to learn, and difficult to master. Players gain mana each turn to play the monster girls. The cards are split up between melee, archers, buffers, and healers. Melee attack up close while archers attack from a distance. Healers and buffers support by restoring health or increasing the attack of other monster girls. The amount of health or power depends on the monster girl. The cards have types and auras as well. Monsters of the same type (ie: bird, beast, dragon, etc.) can be fused together to make a more powerful monster girl. Playing multiple cards with the same aura (the color of the card) empowers the monsters on the field and increases the mana that the player can use to summon monster girls.

Monster Monpiece GifThe game mechanics then stray off the beaten path a bit. Each battle gives players money and rub points. Money can be used to buy cards or items in the store. The items can be attached to the deck to increase mana regeneration, increase monster attack, or to earn more rewards on winning battles. Rub points are for the other feature of the game: “First Crush Rub.” This mechanic allows players to make the monster girls stronger by using the vita touch capabilities. Players touch, poke, rub, and pinch girls to raise the tension gauge on the side of the screen. Successful rubs causes the girls to change their appearance (losing clothes) and obtain increased stats. When all the “weak points” on the girls are found, Extreme Rub mode is activated. This mode requires players touch both the back and front touch screens of the Vita to finish off the process. The mechanic is shamefully sexual and childish, and frankly takes away from the game as a whole.

Graphics:
The art style in the game focuses on 2D hand drawn style models throughout the cut scenes and exploration. The cards are pictured in 2D, and are summoned to some basic models in 3D on the battlefield. The amount of clothes the monster girl is wearing on the card is reflected in the 3D models, blatantly accenting the sexual focus in the game. Even so, the art style is perfectly suited for the portability of the game. The game never seems to drop frame rate and always looks crisp.
Audio:
In lieu of re-recording and obtaining all new voice actors, this game is spoken in Japanese with English subtitles throughout. Personally, I think this suits the game more. The atmosphere of the game feels very Japanese, especially since most of the towns in the game are obvious plays on real Japan cities. The different areas have their own music track, which is a nice touch if nothing else.

Multiplayer:

Multiplayer for this game can be played over Wi-fi or Ad Hoc with another friend in the room. Playing against other players will provide gold, rub points, and even rare cards not normally found in the game. For a card game, it’s a fantastic addition. The promise of rare cards also gives players a reason to play against each other. The online lobby itself isn’t the most lively in the world, but it’s not dead either. Getting into a game only takes a few minutes.

monpiece card battle

 

Final Thoughts:
Monster Monpiece is a good game, it really is. The problem is it suffers from the overtly sexual nature of the entire game. Removing the player from the equation, the game itself is girls rubbing girl cards and fighting each other. There has not been a single male character to enter the game, monster or human. I know video games in general normally follow the rule of “the less armor the female character has, the stronger she is,” but does it need to be this blatant in the game? Not to mention that the game had to be censored due to some of the sexual nature of the game.

Score:
6-10

Overview

Publisher:  Idea Factory   Developer: Compile Heart

Release Date: NA – May 27th, 2014; EU – June 4, 2014   Platforms: PlayStation Vita

Digital: Yes   Price: NA – $29.99; EU – €29.99   Rating:  ESRB: M  PEGI: 12+

Offline Players: 1-2 Online Players: 2