Developer: Monkey Craft
Publisher: ININ Games
Platforms: PS4, Switch, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Monster Boy games have been coming back with a bit of a bang. I for one have no problem with this, as these games like theses. Good old classic platformers. However, Monster World I missed out on its first run back in 1994 I was a Nintendo kid. One of my friends where a SAGA kid and love the Monster World games, so I hope it lives up to what I want to be good.
The story in Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World is well lacking as it was in most game for that era. You play as Asha, a female warrior of an Arabia town who has been tasked by the village to rescue the four spirits to protect the Kingdom. After leaving the village she gets a rare Blue Pepelogoo, a fluffy monster that seems to like humans, who helps Asha on her task.
I would I have like to have more story and world building, even if this was done by talking to NPCs, adding extra information about the world, spirits, what will happen if they are not rescued and so on. I feel this would have helped flesh out a game like this and make the world seem bigger and more alive than it is. However, it is not the case, and we are left with the bare bones still.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World keeps to the same formula as Monster World IV, like simply re-skinned game not much has changed. Combat is swing a sword in close proximity to the enemy until it is dead, you can do an up-swipe attack only when jumping? There is a downward attack that will make Asha bounce along allowing for multiple hits, and really the only useful attack for most mobs. There are new and stronger swords available to buy they increase attack power but allow for stronger magic sword attack and use it quicker.
With the puzzle elements, it is a sort of hit and miss if you get the puzzle quickly or slowly depending on the direction you will pick. The item you need could be at the end of the path you are on but there is a floating block so you jump up and spend ten minutes looking above when it was just beyond your sight at that point. That does not really bother me growing up with games like this but at times even I was like ‘REALLY!’
Bar far the saving grace in terms of gameplay was your wee Blue Pepelogoo, it was used for some great puzzle elements making for a far more engaging gameplay. It did feel like you where using your friend by causing it irreparable damage, for instance, you throw it on a lava so you can reach higher platforms. Pelelogoo abuse there are plenty of excuses. I needed the chest.
The real star of Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World is the visual upgrades. I mean with Monster World IV it still looks good to this day but Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World blows it out of the water. It is bright, colourful, cartoonish, cell shading that fits wonderfully to the world and the feel of the game. It took aback me with how beautiful it was and how good the animations were.
Overall, I would say Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World as a downloadable game feels a bit steep in the price for a run of the mill remake with nothing really new from the original. However, if you get the physical copy of the game Monster World IV is included. This makes it worthwhile.
If you want a faithful remake of Monster World IV, then it is for you, looking for something new I have to say wait for a sale.