Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is the newest entry into the Wonder Boy series of games. Development originally began as sequel to Game Atelier’s Flying Hamster game from 2010. However, after the Kickstarter was cancelled, Game Atelier formed a relationship with FDG Entertainment and development shifted to make the game a brand-new entry into the Wonder Boy franchise.
Available on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a fresh, modern action-adventure game filled with challenging enemies and stunning hand drawn visuals. Does this newest entry in the Wonder Boy franchise live up to its predecessors? Let’s find out!
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Details
A grand new adventure
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom was developed alongside Ryuichi Nishizawa, the original creator of the Wonder Boy in Monster World series. You play as a young boy named Jin, whose Uncle Nabu is turning everyone across the kingdom into animals—including your own brother Zeke. While trying to stop your Uncle from dastardly deeds, you get turned into a pig by none other than your Uncle.
Upon learning of the five animal orbs, which will return everyone to normal. Jin sets out on a mission to recover these orbs and return the Kingdom’s inhabitants back to the way they were. Overall, I felt that Game Atelier did a really good job at capturing the essence of the Wonder Boy franchise.
They successfully made it feel new, fresh and modern while also paying homage to the series roots. You really couldn’t have asked for anything better from a new game whose predecessor was released over 14 years ago.
Fun, modern gameplay
With Nishizawa helping develop Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, it is no surprise that the gameplay is familiar for long time fans of the series, and also fresh and fun at the same time. During your adventure, you turn into a variety of different animals. In addition to your human form as Jin, there is a total of five different animals that you transform into. All with different abilities.
Each of these different abilities help you along your journey in a variety of different ways. For example, as a snake you can go through smaller passageways that you normally wouldn’t be able to. Additionally, as a lion you can break blocks and as pig you can use your snout to find hidden treasures and doors. Correspondingly, this means that you can revisit previous locations to uncover hidden secrets that you weren’t able to before.
Furthermore, certain animal forms allow you to equip specific items that help you take out specific enemies and solve certain puzzles. These puzzles include obstacles, switches, and platforms, which at times can offer quite a challenge. Though the ability to switch forms at anytime means there is always a way to solve the puzzle and move on.
Moreover, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is filled with a wide assortment of enemies—all with different types of attacks. Wither it be projectiles hurled at you or the speed and agility of your enemy, you’ll need to always be on your toes and ready for what is around the next corner.
Jaw dropping visuals and animation
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom has some of the best hand-drawn animated characters that I have seen in a video game in recent memory. Each character is beautifully animated and feature their own unique animations. As a result, this gives each of the different forms you transform into their own unique personality and feel. The anime style cut-scenes in between action are every bit as gorgeous and stunning as the game itself.
As a result, I often found my self stopping and admiring the world around me. Taking it all in. I felt like I was playing an actual cartoon with full control of my character. The game runs as 60fps on both Switch and PlayStation 4, which makes gameplay more fluid.
Furthermore, the game’s soundtrack is nothing short of amazing. It includes some rearranged music from past games in the series in addition to its original score. It’s a perfect compliment to the on-screen action.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is pure platforming heaven
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is everything I could have ever asked or dreamt for in a new Wonder Boy game. Gameplay pays homage to previous games and gives it a modern update with a new coat of paint. Controls are precise and allow for those absolutely perfectly timed jumps that are needed through out the game.
Check points are placed through out the game, making starting over a lot easier to handle. Don’t get me wrong, the game is no walk in the park. Yet, it never gets so difficult that you get frustrated. You can expect somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 15 hours of gameplay, which for me is the sweet spot. The graphics and sound can be described in one word, stunning. I can’t get over how great the game looks when playing on the Nintendo Switch screen.
All things considered, if you love action-adventure, platforming games—I am sure you will love Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. With a value price tag, you simply can not go wrong.
+ Value priced
+ Jaw dropping hand drawn visuals and animation
+ Classic gameplay that has been updated to modern standards
+ precise controls allow for perfectly timed jumps
– Difficulty can spike at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MONSTER BOY AND THE CURSED KINGDOM
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5