E3 2010: First Look At Majesco's Monster Tale

By Nick Young on June 17, 2010, 4:21AM EDT
DS

Monsters are typically the evil-doers, enemies and villains of many stories but sometimes they have a softer side. In Monster Tale, players get to experience the benefits of befriending such a monster. When Ellie, the main character of Monster Tale, discovers the 'Monster Realm', she meets Chomp, a monster who finds Ellie as scary as she does him. The two bond quite quickly and before you know it, they are adventuring together as the best of friends.

But all is not well in the Monster Realm, other kids had arrived before Ellie and enslaved some of the other monsters, forcing them to obey their own dastardly deeds. It is up to Ellie and Chomp to save the Monster Realm and teach the other kids a lesson. This concludes the plot for Monster Tale, a game set to bring a little sympathy to the monsters we usually slay for fun.

Whilst befriending monsters is a little different from the norm, saving the world isn't. So what does Monster Tale do differently to make it stand out? Well, full use of the Nintendo DS's dual screens may be the key to what makes this game great. Playing as Ellie on the top screen, players are treated to a charming little platformer but on the lower screen, a tamagotchi-esque 'mini-game' keeps Chomp busy until he is needed for something. Alone these two concepts are a little bland but when mixed together, it becomes something special.

Chomp is always evolving, throughout the game he/she/it gains more abilities and attributes in order to aid Ellie. Ellie, meanwhile, is progressively moving through the stages of the game, summoning Chomp whenever she needs help. It is the interaction of the two characters and the method in which they achievve this that truly makes the game unique. Aside from the central theme of co-operation from these two characters, the gameplay ideals are very much what players have seen before.

The game takes place over five worlds, each riddled with classic platforming gameplay and obstacles to overcome. In light of this, there are various treats for Chomp to find in the way of items. There is a very little RPG element to Chomp's leveling up system, finding items such as a book will boost it's intelligence leaving players to mould Chomp into the monster the specifically want. Chomp will eventually learn set skills however through finding magic statues imbued with power-ups and bosses after each world.

Monster Tale will be released sometime this September and is certainly worth a look. The game works well, it has an ok plot, decent gameplay, and brings a new take on the DS's dual screen technology. The real kicker is that even though both screens are being used at all times, the bottom screen hardly needs to be viewed. Keeping an eye on Chomp and Ellie all the time would just be too frustrating and Majesco are more about fun above all else.

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