REVIEW: Monster King

Monster King (80 MSP) marks the second JRPG I’m playing in as many weeks, Mortal Legacies (review) being the other. In a quick vote between the two titles, Monster King is the superior, though when taken against the whole of the indie RPG catalog, it falls somewhat short.

As the eponymous hero, you’re told that monsters have besieged the lands of… somewhere. It’s never elaborated upon. You don’t get a proper name or any speaking lines. You’re just told to fight. It doesn’t matter if you’re personable, as you’re not accepting sidekick applications. The whole setup is bare-bones. In every way, you’re lone wolfing it in MK

Combat is of course turned-based, via the typical menu selections; Attack & Magic, use a potion, flee a battle. In a nice gesture, you automatically equip the best weapon and armor for the job, and shops in the various towns will only sell to you if its beneficial for you (a completely foreign concept in our reality). Exploration is minimal. Outside of potions or new weapons / armor found in scattered chests, there’s not much to see. Mostly you fight random battles in the field, covering ground until you reach a bridge or bottleneck, at which point you’ll take on a boss for the right to pass, then repeat. So long as you’re well-leveled, battles are fast, if uneventful, though there is an interesting wrinkle.

As in Meat Loaf?

MK subscribes to the theory that ‘Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good monster at your side’, enabling you to first weaken and then add the game’s monsters to your armament, Persona / Pokemon style. The idea works well in practice too, adding a degree of experimentation to fights despite the expected ‘try fire vs. ice, etc.’ checkmates. Given the high cost of some magic, it’s an effective option once you’ve learned each monster’s weakness. And though you’re not rewarded with anything for doing so, there is a strange sense of accomplishment once you’ve captured the lot of them.

And that roster of creatures is diverse, if nothing else. Psychic rats. Brains in jars. There’s a Tree Killer (doesn’t kill trees, oddly) that is timber with an uzi, and a Not Ready, which looks like a pixel Quagmire (maybe it’s the prominent jawline). That’s worth a chuckle, though some of them are duds (Snowman, blah. Hover Dude, really?).

In terms of excitement there isn’t much, a few hours of old-school monster-slaying, but I found it charming. Grinding out progression, one character level and one stat increase at a time, evoked Dragon Quest for me (the first monster, Sludge, is an easy stand-in for a Slime). Nostalgia is a factor, sure, and it’s an innocuous RPG without much of a story (till the very end), but it moves swiftly and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Monster King”

  1. Was browsing through the RPG titles on here only to find out there’s no comment on this article here?

    Sure the graphics aren’t as good as Mortal Legacies or Penny Arcade 3 but I think it deserves a little attention too! =) (will get back later to the other reviews as well since it looks like RPG Maker was involved at least on Mortal Legacies and could reccomd myself some good titles on PC but as I said later ;D)

    I always have some love for the old turn-based system games, don’t know why it has to be inovative ervery time…I played some newer RPGs (Resonance of Fate for example) and got to think…they have overdone themselves to make some of the new battle systems quite complicated and less fun then this good old stuff…I don’t mind action elements in (J)RPGs but sometimes…well just no! lol

    Anyway I also like the idea that the shops here only sell something to you if it benefits you…(well okay that could be troublesome if you NEED some effects of an armor or weapon right now haha)

    After reading the whole article I would think of this game as a Dragon Quest/Warrior Clone with Weapon & Armor Elements for the main chara… (The Slime on the cover could be a hint too =P)

    #MonsterCode

    1. I would agree there’s room for the old-school JRPGs; I think I was in the minority with liking this game. It moves quickly, like Half-Minute Hero, and the auto-equip with best stuff option is pretty sweet. I do consider it better than Mortal Legacies. That game did use (with permission) some assets from RPG Maker, or one of those types, but it was minor stuff. The developer, Ivatrix, built most of the game from scratch. I know him a little bit from Twitter, and he’s a rather nice guy, so while I can’t recommend his first game, I can say he didn’t cut and paste nearly as much as some may have thought.

      Side note: I like(d) Resonance of Fate, though I’m nowhere near completing it, despite having 40 hours invested already. Haven’t touched it in more than a year. I call it complicated, but different.

      I was going to stick to a one code per month deal, but I’ll just change it to one code per calendar month. A lot of the older reviews don’t get that many hits anyway, so you’re welcome to a code. 🙂 I’ll send it in a bit.

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