Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale for Nintendo 3DS
Well, that was an oddly charming little experience. The 3DS eShop has become a bastion for little games like this. I don’t know if I’d even call it a game. Whatever you call it, Attack of the Friday Monsters is a rather lovely little product.
Attack of the Friday Monsters is set in a suburb of Tokyo in the 1970s, which differs from the real world through the tiny detail every Friday evening monsters attack and do battle. It’s also home to a TV station which makes shows about giant monster fights. Hmm. Young Sohta is a transfer student who has moved to the area that day, and the whole game takes place on a Friday in the run up to the monster fight, as he tries to solve the mystery of where the monsters come from.
It’s odd, the nostalgia of others is usually at best baffling, at worst irritating, when it isn’t a nostalgia you share. It’s very clear that this game is a vision of a more rural, peaceful Japan of the 1970s, and the simple imagination and joy of childhood at this time. Since I wasn’t a child in 1970s Tokyo, this obviously isn’t a nostalgia I share, but nonetheless the creator’s fondness for the time period is infectious. Fans of Studio Ghibli will recognise the aesthetic, and there’s something oddly peaceful and charming about this strange little plot.
There isn’t really much of a game to Attack of the Friday Monsters. Most of your time will be spent wandering around the quaint Tokyo suburbs talking to people. In fact, wandering around is the key game play mechanic. There’s a card battle game, with new cards gained by collecting ‘glims’. There’s not a huge amount of strategy involved, in fact little effort is made to disguise it from being rock/paper/scissors. When you beat your in-game friends, they become your ‘servant’ and you can cast a ‘spell’ to make them fall down. It’s oddly satisfying. The card game could perhaps have been expanded more, but by and large I didn’t really mind the lack of gameplay, because it’s more than made up for in its presentation.
Attack of the Friday Monsters has some absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn backgrounds. The world isn’t big, but every little area is wonderful to look at. Much like with Bravely Default, the character models don’t live up to the background, but they do the job. There’s an odd bit of voice acting, only in Japanese, from a narrator of sorts, whose enthusiasm errs on just the right side of energetic. The music is nice too, especially the adorable and very strange song at the beginning (also in Japanese, with subtitles) from a child wondering whether his parents love him. It’s all very odd stuff, but I nonetheless found myself with a wide grin on my face with startling regularity.
Look, if you’re someone who likes a lot of…well, game in their games, Attack of the Friday Monsters isn’t for you. Attack of the Friday Monsters is a slight experience, and I picked it up in a sale and paid a pittance for it, so I didn’t mind. If it’s on sale pick it up; you’ll not play anything else like it!