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Egg Monster Hero (DS) artwork

Egg Monster Hero (DS) review


"The Almamoon Kingdom is in trouble. No, there aren't invading troops led by an evil warlord. There is no famine, pestilence is under control, and the only epidemic around is the flu during wintertime. The problem lay with Almamoon’s leadership (or rather, the lack of it). After inheriting the position from his father, the prince of Almamoon has been shirking his royal duties. He spends his days snoozing on the throne, chowing down everything edible in sight, and completely ignoring his education..."



The Almamoon Kingdom is in trouble. No, there aren't invading troops led by an evil warlord. There is no famine, pestilence is under control, and the only epidemic around is the flu during wintertime. The problem lay with Almamoon’s leadership (or rather, the lack of it). After inheriting the position from his father, the prince of Almamoon has been shirking his royal duties. He spends his days snoozing on the throne, chowing down everything edible in sight, and completely ignoring his education. Needless to say, the kingdom needs its ruler to get off his ass and take care of his homeland. In order to whip the prince back into shape, his teacher has taken him to a nearby island to train. Hopefully a few days of roughing it in the wild will teach the little punk a thing or two about life.

Early on, however, it becomes pretty clear that there’s more to this island than a bunch of bushes and some wildlife. Somewhere along the line, the prince will be given the task to rid the island of the Hard Boiled Army, a legion of soldiers that serve a bunch of generic and ineffectual villains. As you wander about throughout the land, these roving bands of baddies will chase you down and try to kill you. Don’t count the wayward ruler out just yet, however. He comes with an entourage of fighters (aptly named the Soft Boiled Army) that he’ll lead into battle. However, fighting with these hundred egg warriors isn’t like the epic clashes in Advance Wars or Fire Emblem. Instead of moving them around on a grid, you’ll have to drag your stylus along the DS’s Touch Screen to lead the troops around the battleground. Aside from the occasional pickup that appears on the ground, there’s nothing complicated here; you’ll frantically thrust into your foes until they run out of health. Though the game allows you to put your army in different formations, you’ll find the combat to be utterly simplistic.

But before you dismiss this game as a shallow excuse of a RPG, have a look at its alternate battle system. Since Soft Boiled Army is a fairly weak fighting force, you’ll have to rely on the prince’s trump cards: the Egg Monsters. A mere tap of an icon is all it takes to set things in motion; a priest (who wears a giant pumpkin on his head for some reason) will suddenly appear amidst your troops and start shaking his silk-clad ass off. After your soldiers start marching in their version of a Native American powwow, you’ll be able to summon one of the prince’s monsters. These things aren’t particularly fearsome; you’ll be able to summon a chicken in a wheelbarrow, a caped egg, a flying frying pan, and even a scuba-diving Moogle from the Final Fantasy series. All you have to do is tap the area on the monsters’ bodies, and they’ll attack with whatever part you’ve chosen. Thus begins a heated turn-based battle that will (hopefully) spell certain doom for your foes.

It’s pretty clear that, unlike so many of Square Enix’s other RPGs, Egg Monster Hero doesn’t take itself seriously. Much of the game is focuses more on humor and lampooning aspects from other adventures. The prince is a self-righteous slob, right down to the sleazy grin in his character profile. Instead of accompanying him on the journey, his teacher will dress up in a cardboard tree outfit and whisper advice to him. Upon winning a battle, the soldiers hum the victory theme from the Final Fantasy series and jump up and down accordingly. While you’re busy smiting foes on the top screen, the Touch Screen will display a movie theater filled with random NPCs (as well as certain enemies later on), that’ll comment on your progress, leave if they get bored, and argue with each other. Unfortunately, much of the potential entertainment is cut short by one nasty little problem: the language barrier. Egg Monster Hero has tons of text to sift through, and unless you’re fluent in Japanese, you’re going to have an aggravatingly tough time understanding it. You’ll end up wandering around the towns, hopelessly pondering over which NPC to talk with and trigger the next event in the story.

Despite the potential problems, however, the game maintains a fairly laid-back presentation. While other RPGs strive for epic cutscenes, flashy graphics, and ornate settings, the graphics of Egg Monster Hero hearken back to 2D adventures of old, right down to the prince’s pixilated sprite onscreen. He may have spiky hair and a crown on his head, but his eyes are nothing more than black dots and his royal outfit is a few blips of color. You’ll never get to see more of the Soft Boiled Army than a bunch of red sprites with bugging eyes and a few black lines for their armor. They don’t have much in the way of attack animation, either; instead of hacking and slashing through their foes, they’ll simply dance to the upbeat background music as you direct them into the enemy group. While the game has you fight through towns, caves, forests, and other generic RPG locales, the bland colors and textures make for a fairly bland experience. If the game didn’t have Touch Screen controls, one could mistake it for a GBA game.

That doesn’t mean that Egg Monster Hero is a bad game. In a time when most RPGs are stylistically overblown, it’s good to see a game that pokes fun at itself. The offbeat story is certainly welcome; unlike countless spiky haired amnesiacs/ cliched heroes in the gaming world, the main character is a lazy, self-serving scoundrel. The wide variety of bad jokes adds plenty of flavor to the adventure. The gameplay could have been better crafted, however; using your stylus to mindlessly ram into your enemies isn’t particularly stimulating. The hefty language barrier won’t do you any favors, either. But hey, it’s good to see that at least some gaming companies still have a sense of humor.

Rating: 7/10

disco's avatar
Community review by disco (May 28, 2007)

Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.

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