Idea Factory/Compile Heart's Monster Monpiece makes players feel dirty for enjoying the game.
That single statement pretty much sums up the overall feeling for the recently-released PlayStation Vita title.
But, since this is a review, I'll have to write a bit more than that. Just keep in mind that regardless what the rest of this review says, that opening sentence covers the mass majority of what you need to know.
Now... on to the ACTUAL review.
Monster Monpiece, developed by Idea Factory/Compile Heart and published by NIS America, is a digital card battling RPG. It takes place in a world that's predominately (if not completely) female where humans and monster girls co-exist. Of course, by co-exist I mean humans have free reign whereas monster girls are trapped within trading cards until summoned for battle.
Seem ludicrous? That's nothing.
Setting aside the fact that most of the monster girls are moe/loli-esque and the fact that the more powerful they become the closer to nude they get. And as eyebrow raising as a nearly-nude preteen-looking monster girl is to begin with, it's even worse in the original Japanese release. Idea Factory decided to censor and cut out certain "questionable" content for the game's Western release. That's probably a good idea.
A good idea especially because of how the monster girls level up. To level up a monster girl's card, all a player need do is use the PlayStation Vita's touchscreen to sensually touch, tap, stroke, or rub parts of the monster girl herself. Yes, even "those" parts of the girl. Doing this correctly brings the girl to climax... err... to a level up. Do it just right and she goes into an uber mode where players, well, masturbate their Vita. Yes, you read that right. No, I'm not apologizing.
As far as the actual gameplay is concerned, it's surprisingly enjoyable.
Those who are into games such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and the like should take an instant shine to Monster Monpiece. Players are tasked with strategically building a deck of different monster girls, taking into account their monster types, strengths, and weaknesses. It's with this deck that you (playing as monster girl master-in-training Mei) travel the land to warn and protect it against a great evil, all the while dueling those who step in your way.
Battles are conducted on a three-by-seven grid. Each monster girl master is represented by a fortress and monster girls themselves are summoned onto the battlefield one at a time in a turn-based fashion. Each turn, those that have been summoned onto the battlefield march one tile at a time towards the opponent's fortress. Victory comes either when the opponent's fortress has been attacked until its hit points are reduced to zero or when she runs out of cards to draw. Likewise, defeat can come should either occur to you - something that can happen fairly often once you get far enough into the game.
The strategy comes in what monster girls you place where and when. Combo-ing multiple of the same type of monster girl turn-after-turn yields boosts that help you in battle. Placing complementary monster girls behind one another or using those with a triggered ability can likewise be a great help. For how superficial a game as Monster Monpiece is, the meat of the gameplay is surprisingly well constructed and fun.
It's a very good thing that most of the gameplay is as interesting and fun at it is, because the story is sorely lacking. The game is plagued with lengthy and largely irrelevant dialogue sequences that, while providing a decent amount of personality to the characters, really get in the way. For those who dig this sort of presentation and plot progression, however, it's lighthearted and whimsical even if there is way too much of it overall.
So while Monster Monpiece is a dark horse kind of a game in which players will be pleasantly surprised by how well put together and enjoyable it is (aside from the cumbersome and frequent dialogue sequences), in the end it's the game that makes you feel dirty and a little pervy for playing and liking it. It's almost like the developers thought to themselves "I wonder if we can get players to jack off their Vita in public."
For the love of God, don't play this game in public.
I mean, play it. It's well worth it. Just play it locked away in your room when nobody else is around.
And have a box of tissues nearby because, you know, "accidents".
Rating: 7 our of 10