Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Review (Switch)
Monsters under my bed and that's ok.
Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom is a charismatic action adventure platformer game developed by FDG Entertainment. After the great success of Blossom Tales,FDG attempts to get another feather in their cap with the release of Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom, but does it live up to the hype? Find out below.
Follow the story of a man named Jin,but please do not get used to that name because you will most likely be seeing him called by many other names such as blue haired man and piggy. One day your uncle decides to go on a terror spree and spread a curse all throughout the kingdom and on its inhabitants for no apparent reason whatsoever and with no clear motive. The curse turns everyone into a species of animal, that's pretty wild.
Upon confronting your uncle and wanting to know just what is the meaning of all of this, you too are cursed by his magic and also turned into an animal form via the dark powerful magic. Jin, now having been stunned by the events that have taken place,must go on an adventure throughout the kingdom to find 5 mythical orbs that only legend has ever spoke of in order to restore everyone back to their normal form and break the curse of his uncle forever.
Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom is an action adventure platformer that also works as a standard RPG as well. In this game you assume a total of 6 different forms to play as the further you make it into the game and each form offers you a different ability to use to overcome any obstacle that you may encounter. If you had to guess, yes one of those forms is your human form,which is what you start off the game with before ultimately being transformed. But as you collect more orbs you will unlock the other additional forms,which you can switch to on the fly at any time of your choosing.
As stated previously,at heart,this is an action adventure platformer game,you will make your way through multiple environments such as wooded areas,icy areas,fire areas,sky areas and many others too. All of these levels offer their individual challenges and obstacles that you must overcome and defeat, and this is where the changing form game play comes into the fold. Each different form you unlock offers you a specific ability that is unique to that specific animal form and one that is only usable in certain scenarios and situations.
For instance when you're playing in the pig animal form, certain hidden doorways,passages,platforms and other forms of transportation are only visible when you use your smelling ability via your snout. Once you start sniffing around,the hidden item will be made available to see and then you may proceed to the next area. Same is the case with both the snake form and the lion form, each of these has specific capabilities that only they can use and abilities that only work when the situation directly calls for it.
When you're in the snake form you may only stick to surfaces that are lined with growing moss. When climbing or taking a path on the moss you will not only be able to complete your main objective,but you will also find secret rooms with treasure chests that will unlock extra goodies for you to use in the future such as emeralds that you can use to upgrade all of your gear. The snake also has an acid spit technique to go along with its moss climbing and when spat, it can help illuminate the room when you spit on magic crystals that are spread out through various sections of some of the levels.
I could go on and on and tell you about each and every form there is in the game, but doing so would be an injustice to not only the game, but to you as the player as well. However, I can tell you the type of situations you will encounter via platforming using specific abilities from the animal forms that I have already mentioned to you above. This seems more than fair. I will do so very shortly, so be patient!
When playing Monster Boy you're going to learn that the game starts off extremely easy and at the start there really doesn't seem like there is much challenge to the game. Early on in your adventure the platforming ranges from just jumping on platforms,navigating through your set path of left to right, climb up ladders and vines and go through doors,really standard stuff. However do not get complacent because as soon as you think there's hardly any challenge to the game, then Monster Boy comes right back at you and kicks you in the face and it provides a powerful kick at that.
People that are veterans of gaming platforming will know exactly what I am talking about as far as the difficulty goes. FDG manages to give you a taste of what old school platforming gaming was and why its as infamous as it is to this day. The main reason why the game gets so difficult is because of the use of the form system,no this is not a negative, what I'm saying is that it forces you to think on the spot and have to make an immediate decision on when to switch to a specific form in order to utilize the forms main ability.
An example of this comes in a volcano fire area in which you must play as multiple characters in a very short amount of time with absolutely zero room for any error at all. In one section alone you must utilize three different characters, lion,frog and the snake. Lion will be used to get a running start and charge through brick obstacles,but then immediately lava starts rising up and this forces you to hurry and change to your snake form in order to climb up walls of moss. But your troubles aren't over, now you come to a sea of lava with nowhere to go,but fear not, now you have to switch to your frog form and with his sticky tongue, you must grab and swing from platform to platform as fast as you can with zero mess ups. This is why not only does this game get really hard,but also very frustrating, and that's why when you finally overcome a level, that it feels so damn satisfying.
But what if I told you that there was one thing in this game that I haven't mentioned and one thing that's actually just as valuable as playing as multiple characters? well I'm about to do that. Gear is one of the main things that may be as important as your form abilities themselves. Each piece of gear you acquire in the game has their own set of abilities to go along with them. For instance you will be able to buy boots that will give you the ability to double jump and this allows you to reach areas you might not have been able to access previously with out them.
You will also be able to unlock environment helpful items such as an ice sword that will freeze water or lava and help create a walkable path or buy some light boots that will allow you to walk and run along the clouds in order to obtain your next orb. Besides gear you're also able to purchase a variety of magic to use such as lightning,fire,bombs,tornando, but those can only be used in your pig form. Bare in mind all of this costs in game currency and gold so you might have to re-zone multiple times and kill enemies to rack up some money. Potions are also obtainable to give you extra health upon dying or refill your stamina gauge that gets used up by your special abilities.
So I'm sure all of the above has got you extremely excited, but now I bet you're wondering just how long of a game is it and what else besides the main story is there to do. Well depending on average skill level, this game should run the average player anywhere from 15-16hrs total of game play. However for people that wish to do all the side content and explore the world to its fullest and complete everything it has to offer,you people will probably find this game lasting you 25-30hrs at most. There is so much you will miss out on early in the game due to not having that specific ability unlocked yet to access an area, so always back track any chance you get after obtaining a new power.
Lastly I want to talk about my personal favorite part of the game that I enjoyed the most in my playthrough and it has to do with the boss fights. Oh my, are these fights glorious. Each boss fight feels more epic and bigger than the last. From fighting a huge octopus and trying to dodge all his tentacles from smashing you, to fighting in a temple and using your frog form to switch and turn the room to make the enemy fall on his head, each fight gives a new challenge and makes you think in a puzzle like fashion on how to overcome your foe. Boss fights are easily the biggest highlight by far to me in this game,bar none.
Monster Boy sports completely hand drawn animations that makes everything look absolutely jaw dropping. From the way each character and enemies animation looks to the scenary and attention to detail in the environment, this is bar far one the best looking games on Nintendo Switch,quite easily. When playing the game I urge anyone to sit back and just look at the background while listening to the superb soundtrack and just soak it all in, its intoxicating.
When playing this entire playthrough, I can't really say I had very many gripes at all. The game runs at a solid 60fps and I had no noticeable drops,controls feel very responsible and fluid,enemy and level variations are great, good amount to do,its all good. However the one thing I had issue with was actually selecting each individual character form. You see the character select runs off a wheel selection,this means you hold down the ZL and then use the left joystick to hover to the character you want to use. However, when trying to aim at a specific character, its very finicky and a little too sensitive and it sometimes moves around where you don't want it to go. Also when trying to select your character you have to press A, but there's a delay in doing so and this requires you having to press A 3-4 times just for it to respond to your selection.
Then when you mix in the A selection problems with the joystick selection,you'll find yourself a lot of the time accidentally selecting the wrong character and use someone you didn't mean to select. This causes a lot of your deaths or mess ups because towards the end of the game you have to rely on fast character switches and a mess up like this can cost multiple do overs and it can be a tad bit annoying at times.
So in conclusion to all of this, I can without a shadow of a doubt say the FDG has another hit on their hands. From top to the bottom, Monster Boy offers players the pinnacle of what an action adventure platforming rpg should be. From great cast of characters,to great writing,amazing music,beautiful environments,just the right difficulty and 100% charm, Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom is absolutely a MUST have if you're a Nintendo Switch owner, no questions asked.
Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom is out now on Nintendo Switch
*Review code provided by FDG Entertainment