Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World – Review
Follow Genre: 3D platformer
Developer: STUDIOARTDINK
Publisher: STUDIOARTDINK, ININ Games
Platform: PS4, PC, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Keeps the classic gameplay, New save feature
Bad: Cutscenes could be improved on
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Monster World IV hails from the distant year of 1994 when it was released on the Japanese market for Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis) console. Then it saw rereleases in 2007 and 2008, before finally coming to the international stage in 2012. And this year, it begs to be talked about yet again. This time in the form of a spiffy new remake called Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World. With remastered graphics, enhanced gameplay, and some extra content, Asha revisits her adventure with Artdink in charge of the development this time.

Story

Once more we’re playing the role of Asha, a young girl who has the peculiar ability to connect to spirits. With this gift, she hears the call of four elemental spirits that have been imprisoned by a group of mages led by a dark creature. With the elementals locked away, monsters run rampant and the threat of darkness looms over the land. Asha proves herself a hero by finishing the first dungeon and then is tasked by princess Purapril XIII to free the elementals and save the world.

It might be a pretty standard plot, but it falls in line with the narrative qualities of the period this game was originally released. Aside from the occasional cutscene, most of the story is relayed through character dialogue.

Graphics

More than in any other regard, the graphics are the biggest change to Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World when comparing it to the original. Pixelated 2D graphics have been replaced by a lively 3D look. This might be a bit of a farce since the nature of the game locks you into what is basically a side-scroller, though the new graphics do provide an astounding amount of depth to the scenery. Overall it looks great. The Arabian-inspired setting might seem strange for a Japanese game, but it does make for a good change-of-pace compared to the boring old fantasy setting we’d normally expect. Especially in enemy designs, you can see a lot of creativity.

Sound

The music has also received an update, Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World has a lovely soundtrack. The titles of the songs you’re hearing will often be displayed near the bottom of the screen – for example when entering areas or starting a boss fight. This makes them easier to look up later, which you’ll probably be doing since they’re so catchy. The game has original Japanese voice-acting as well, though our main character Asha stays curiously mute.

Gameplay

Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is a 3D action-adventure platformer that will make any gamer think back fondly to their childhood. The game remains relatively unchanged compared to the original, offering a lot of nostalgia in the way it plays. Asha runs through the levels left and right, slashing at enemies with her sword and blocking incoming attacks with her shield. When jumping, Asha can perform a slash upward and downward as well; the downward strike allowing you to bounce off enemies. Defeating enemies rewards you with coins and, in the dungeons, you can find even more hidden treasure aside from plot items. But; predictably enough, these dungeons will end in a challenging boss fight. The other part of the game will be testing your agility in platforming. Asha is accompanied by the adorable Pepelogoo, who can help her glide and reach otherwise inaccessible areas.

The game has a store where you can go to trade in all that hard-earned coin for items. Things such as health potions are standard, but you’ll also need to upgrade your gear if you want to tackle harder areas. Better armor will give you more health, while better swords cause you to do more damage, though they might have other unique perks like changing how many enemies you need to kill before your magic attack becomes charged up and ready to use. Shields too can be bought to better defend yourself and can come with elemental powers that protect you from specific attack types.

Across the levels, you can find life drops, and collecting ten of those will grant you more health. It’s interesting to note that once an area is completed – the dungeon cleared and the boss defeated – it becomes impossible for you to head back. Meaning that if you miss something, it’ll be unreachable for the remainder of your playthrough. As opposed to the original game, however, this remake allows you to save whenever you want. Previously this could only be done at certain locations. Speaking of the original Monster World IV; if you buy the boxed, retail version of Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World, the original game will actually be included as an extra, exclusive treat.

Conclusion

Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World offers old-school gaming fun in a fresh new jacket. It looks great, it plays great, but it changes only what it must to become relevant again and stays the same in other regards. This is exactly what we’d want out of an excellent remake. Even for those who have played the original many times from start to finish, this is a very fun remake to consider adding to your collection.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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