Press Start: Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale

Beat kids in card games, make them your slaves.

July 20, 2013 / 05:30 PM EDT / (@cyncronized)

Before Sal introduced me to the game, I had no idea in the slightest what it was. Even after he explained the concept of the game, I didn’t understand. I thought, “Maybe it’s just one of those games I’m not meant to understand?” That was several months ago and I had since forgotten about it. Of course, when Sal informed me that the game was out, he urged me to play it (with a download code, because nothing says “try this game” quite like giving it to someone for free) and I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

Attack of the Friday Monsters charmed me, confused me, charmed me again, and then confused me again all in that order. The art style is very similar to that of anything produced by Studio Ghibli which made me feel like I was watching the events of a movie rather than playing a video game.

Of course, the “game” portion wasn’t really driven home all too hard though. The actual gameplay consists of just walking around town, talking to characters, and advancing the story. The characters are all pretty interesting and the town is definitely lively. It’s big enough for me to explore and small enough that I didn’t feel immediately overwhelmed. The entire game revolves around the town in which, apparently, giant monsters (or “Kaiju”—”monster” in Japanese—if you’ve been on a Pacific Rim kick lately) come out on Fridays and are defeated by Ultraman, a Power Ranger, or any other space hero in spandex that you can think of from Saturday morning television shows.

The monsters also drop “glims” that form cards used to play a card game with the other kids. The card game segments provide the only source of challenge in this game, but are actually completely optional (except for one instance, where you need to play one game to move the story along). It’s basic, but I found myself enjoying them. They work on a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ system (or Roshambo, as the game will call it) and matches last about 60 seconds. It’s enjoyable and I actually found myself satisfied whenever I collected a new card.

If you win a card game, you become the boss of the person you defeat. If you become someone’s boss, you can tell them to do anything! They have to listen to you. It’s the rules, as they say. Card games lead to slavery in this world (LittleKuriboh would be proud), but the extent of your dictatorship over someone only extends as far as saying some words in Japanese, ordering your slave to fall down. Not actually what I was expecting, but they are elementary school kids, after all. Back to the story!

[The next paragraph is a bit spoiler-filled. It's a three-and-a-half-hour game, I apologize. Go ahead and skip ahead one paragraph to avoid plot specifics.]

So, these Kaiju come out on Fridays and I am led to believe that the reason for this is actually because the television station has the kids believing the monsters are real, when in reality they are just filming for a television show in which protectors from space battle these giant Kaiju and protect Earth and then the rest of the galaxy. Then you find out that this guy Frank is an alien, followed by the revelation that you yourself are an alien, but your dad was one of these galactic protectors so he’s also an alien. Then a monster appears and apparently the TV station has no idea what it is, so you guess it’s for real this time? Then your dad turns into a giant power ranger and begins to fight the Kaiju and your mother falls in love with him “all over again.” I was honestly very confused and didn’t know what to believe. Nevertheless, I was extremely charmed!

The game was short, and I didn’t feel as if I wasted my time. The game was enjoyable and I smiled a lot. The 10 year old protagonist is very likable and the characters are all lively and interesting. Unfortunately, knowing that the game is $7.99, I am not sure if I am able to concretely say it is worth the money. On the other side of the coin, games that are only ten hours long retail for $59.99, so if I am doing the math right, the game is a bargain at eight dollars for the three hours. Relatively speaking, games that are ten hours long should be about $24.99 if you were to use that formula.

Regardless! My rambling has gone on long enough. I enjoyed this game a lot and you should give it a go! Have you already played it? If you did, let us know what you think in the comments below! Any other Kaiju related works of fiction you’re enjoying? Let us all know! And don’t work your slaves too hard, Card game winners.

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