Friday, October 17, 2014

Making Mincemeat of Monster Manor

So, if you've been watching my Twitter, you'll have noticed that I beat Monster Manor finally.  If you weren't watching my Twitter, well, I beat Monster Manor finally.  So, here's my thoughts.

It's a really well-designed game, overall.  I like the puzzle aspect of having differently-shaped and differently-colored pieces that define how you explore the mansion.  It really makes you think about how and where to put each piece, or even if you want to use a piece from a given Mii at all.

The puzzle boxes further synergize with the puzzle-solving nature of the game, and have tangible gameplay rewards.  Beating the target time (or the other Mii's time) makes the item you get better, but still, a puzzle box is a guaranteed item of some description.

Weapon selection is graphically very varied, though within each element there's really only two choices, because only two weapons in each element can become rank S.

Team-ups are an interesting mechanic, and certainly useful early on while you're learning the ropes and levelling up a weapon, since they boost your stats and provide healing.  However, as the game goes on there's very little incentive to use them, as you'll usually want to get the Mii's item and/or puzzle box instead.  This could have been fixed by receiving the Mii's item when the team-up ends.  Puzzle boxes are good enough to warrant being mutually exclusive with team-ups, though.

The enemies are standard fare "spooky" enemies: ghosts, poltergeists (of the book and painting varieties), skeletons, animated suits of armor, mimics (for the uninitiated: a mimic is an enemy that looks like a treasure chest, and in most games, only comes alive and attacks you when you attempt to open the chest), and more.  The boss battles are challenging.

As far as the music goes, once again it's fairly standard fare "spooky" music themes: bells, organ, wind instruments with slow vibrato, etc.  It's good music and fits the atmosphere well.

Graphics-wise, they seem to have ridden the fence quite well and made a spooky atmosphere with the bright colors that Nintendo games typically have.  Anything that needs to stick out so you'll notice it sticks out so you'll notice it, and the rest provides plenty of atmosphere.

However, the game tries really hard to push this whole "certain weapons belong to certain elements, and enemies have an elemental weakness" thing on you, but doesn't follow through with it.  In the grand scheme of things, just pick a weapon that can become rank S, level it to 30, and you're good to go.  Ideally, you'll want a decent skill on it, but the skill doesn't really matter.  I beat the game with a rank S level 30 Jack-o'-Magnum +2, with level 3 Disable, which has a 40% chance of lowering enemy defense by 20% when you use a charged attack.  Supporting it, I had Strength +2, Defense +2, Battery +2, Charge Speed +2, and Skill +2 badges.  Even though it only has two batteries, they recharge really quickly, and the charge speed on the attack is really good.  I found myself able to land counterattacks most of the time.

The thing that really drives home how much the weapon elements don't matter: the floor 30 and floor 50 bosses don't have an elemental weakness.  Even with regular enemies, I was one-shotting them the vast majority of the time.

I'm not too disappointed that the elemental weakness thing isn't very well enforced, though.  Why?  Because of the access mechanism for the Extradimensional Box.  Any sane person would want to keep only one weapon in their inventory at a time, so they can take a couple recovery items and load up on badges.  All the rest would then go in the Extradimensional Box, which can only be withdrawn from when you find a mystic orb, whose occurrence is completely random.  So without guaranteed access to the box on any given floor, how are you to keep a stock of levelled up weapons in each element if you can't easily swap between them?

Overall, it's a really good game with a lot of gameplay and a nice atmosphere.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments because when Blogger originally implemented a spam filter it wouldn't work without comment moderation enabled. So if your comment doesn't show up right away, that would be why.