Back when Monster Monpiece originally released on the Vita, it gained some momentary infamy due to one of its core mechanics consisting of a rather…unique way of leveling up the cards you have in your collection. Instead of obtaining new cards or trading them with other players, instead they represented various monster girls; leveling them up required you to turn the PlayStation Vita on its side and rub both sides of the device rapidly in a mini game.
Some of the other mini games differed, but the core idea remained the same — once you filled up the meter to a certain point, the card would level up. And since this is a Compile Heart game, of course the girls lose articles of their clothing in the process. The controversy for the Western release came in the form of censorship with the more provocative card art (namely some of the 3rd and 4th-level cards) being stripped from the game and replaced with the 1st and 2nd-level art again.
The main callout of the PC version is that it's the non-censored version of the game, so if you skipped out on the original Western release due to the censorship, you won’t find any of that here. Of course, since they can’t expect PC owners to all have touch screens, the mini games are changed slightly in this release. You now use the mouse to click/drag, which retains some of the juvenile humor but not to the same degree.
Since you can have up to 40 cards in your deck in a battle, you’ll naturally need to come back to this mechanic multiple times, especially as your opponents start growing in levels. To be honest, after the first couple of amusing times it started to wear out its welcome and I really would have like to have a way to skip this mini game altogether, as the battle mechanics themselves are quite strategic and well-done.
The game is split into nations/regions and players move around the map from point to point. At each spot various things can occur and these will either reward the player with items, cards, money or "rub points". When battles occur, they take place on a 3x7 grid with an HQ at each side. Players must summon units from cards and attempt to damage the opponent's HQ while at the same time defending their own. The mechanics on this are initially quite straightforward with a standard mana rule dictating the strength of a card you can summon through its cost. There are eight different classes across four job roles: melee, ranged, healer and buffer. The first two are self explanatory with simple HP and Attack values, with ranged having the addition of a tile distance as attack range. Healer has an MP stat which dictates how many points of healing they can do, and buffer has an Int stat determining how much attack at 1:1 ratio they give to the unit in front of them. Cards can only be placed in the 3x3 area closest to the player's HQ, however with an addition of Fusion cards, the same class can be combined on any square on the grid adding their stats to one another.
These are the basic elements of the game and advancing across the grid to the enemy HQ starts off relatively straight forward. This is then expanded by the addition of Auras. Each card is of a particular color and by summoning two cards sequentially of the same color, players will gain one more mana the next turn. If they manage to summon three of the same color they will gain +3 Mana and +1 Attack and +1 HP for every unit currently in play. On top of this, each card can have potential abilities, such as mana regen, instant movement, counter attack, as well as negatives like being unable to move or losing HP per turn. There are also more complex skills which require certain triggers, such as a unit being killed, summoned, etc. and these effects are extremely potent if used correctly.
While the graphics are upped in resolution to 1080p now being on the PC, compared to the lower quality found on the original Vita release, it’s still lackluster compared to other games out there. The regions are basic 2D birds-eye views, and while the units are nicely detailed and unique they don’t reflect the art style that much. In addition, the online mode the Vita version featured is strangely excluded from the PC version, making for an offline-only experience.
More so than any of Compile Heart’s other games, this is a title you almost likely won’t want to be seen playing if you’re in the mini game portions. Its a shame, as the card battling mechanics are solid, but the odd exclusion of online for the PC port makes this a worse port even if there’s no censorship and the graphics are better.Monster Monpiece (PC) was reviewed using a Steam code provided by Idea Factory International. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|If you disliked the censorship in the Vita version, you'll be glad to know this version has all of the removed card art intact.|
|Graphics are much higher in quality compared to the original Vita version.|
|The card leveling mechanic is still something you wouldn't want to have others see you play through.|
|The lack of online multiplayer for card battling is an odd exclusion, considering the Vita version included this.|