Monday, October 01, 2012

Ten things I love about THE 'DENPA' MEN

Sorry, I can't help but use capital letters whenever I type THE "DENPA" MEN, kind of like how I can't help but use them when I type PINK x WHITE while discussing this just-released-in-Japan 3DS LL.

Anyway, who cares about that, right? You clicked on this post because you want to read about the 10 things I love about this Genius Sonority-made 3DS RPG.

Without further ado, then, here they are (in no particular order, mind you):

1. Gotta catch 'em all!--Who would've known that catching the so-called "Denpa" men would be so addicting? Not only that, but it's fun! Sure, you look like a complete idiot when you scan a public area for them, but that's easily forgotten as soon as you encounter a shiny, striped "Denpa" man (or woman) sporting a "heal (all)" antenna.

2. Such character--Call me crazy if you like, but I actually think these little "Denpa" dudes and dudettes (some of them are women, right?) are cuter than Nintendo's Miis. I love the wide variety of shapes, colors, faces and expressions. My current favorite: A blue-and-orange striped one with pink, heart-shaped glasses.

3. Show me your skills--Although it's true that the "Denpa" men and women have nothing on the cast of Final Fantasy V thanks to their extremely limited skill sets (each character learns just one skill), it doesn't much matter while tackling this eShop title. That's both because of the breadth of skills--such as "heal," "revive," "snowstorm" and "summer sun"--made available to players and because of the enormous size of THE "DENPA" MEN's parties. (More on that in a second.)

4. A new meaning to the phrase "giving head"--If you'd asked me before I played THE "DENPA" MEN for the first time if I'd prefer to hurl an avalanche of rocks at my opponents or slam into them using my characters' hard-as-granite noggins, I'd surely have gone with the former. Now that I've spent some quality time with the game, though, I can assure you the latter is far more exciting.

5. The more, the merrier--So, back to the enormous size of this game's parties: At them moment, my party is made up of eight "Denpa" men of various skills, shapes and sizes. Don't worry if that sounds more than a tad unwieldy; it isn't. Please note, by the way, that I'm seemingly only halfway through this portable adventure, so it's possible my party will get even bigger before all is said and done.

6. Easy as pie or tough as a jawbreaker--One of the coolest things about THE "DENPA" MEN, in my humble opinion, is all of the options that are given to players during its many battle scenes. Basically, you can hit your 3DS' X or Y buttons and let the game's AI choose your options for you (X orders the AI to not use any skills, while Y gives it the freedom to do as it wishes), you can assign specific tasks to each individual character or you can mix-and-match--it's completely up to you.

7. Come out, come out, wherever you are--I'm one of those weirdos who have never minded random battles in RPGs. That said, I much prefer for the enemies in such games to be visible on the field (so you can avoid or run away from them, for instance) rather than invisible. Thankfully, the ones in THE "DENPA" MEN are of the first variety.

8. I love the way you move--No one is going to mistake the enemies in this release for those in, say, a high-end PS3 or Xbox 360 RPG. Still, the ones in Genius Sonority's title look pretty darn good. Not only that, but they're nicely animated, too. I especially like the butterfly-based baddies that are made out of flowers--when they die, they drop to the ground and curl like petals that are closing up shop for the evening.

9. Beaten to the beat--Those of you who checked out yesterday's post probably already know this, but THE "DENPA" MEN has a pretty cool soundtrack. It's far from the heights of, say, Final Fantasy VI or Dragon Quest IX, but it's still well worth a listen. Plus, I think it's nice to hear some light-hearted tunes in a RPG game for a change.

10. Left behind? No worries--Another really awesome aspect of THE "DENPA" MEN that's sure to please RPG aficionados who are used to underused party members becoming, well, unusable: In this game, every single one of your captured characters earn experience after a battle. As a result, even those who are left behind in the "Denpa Men House" quickly advance in levels and maintain their relevance.

Now that I've had my say, what are some of your favorite aspects of this adorable and accessible digital RPG?


warp said...

So now that you've played this game, why do you think it's so cheap? Does it feel like a "real" $30 handheld RPG? Do you think maybe they see it as a "gateway drug" to get us to buy DLC?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hello warp! I seem to be only about halfway through the game at this point, so I can't really tell you how long it is or if it's a "real" $30 handheld RPG.

That said, in many ways I can understand why they decided to make it a $10 downloadable game. There's not a ton of story to it, for instance, although once you start playing it you'll understand why that is and it likely won't bother you one bit (esp. since I often think RPGs are way too story-heavy anyway).

I personally consider the game to be well worth the $10 I spent on it, though, due to the amount of enjoyment I've experienced so far and due to the time I've spent with it so far. I've spent about 11 hours on it so far and I imagine I'll spent at least 20 hours total on it when all is said and done (although I wouldn't be surprised if I end up playing it for longer than that). Considering I've Rhythm Thief, a game I spent $30 on, for just 7 hours, I'd say The 'Denpa' Men has earned its keep so far, so to speak.

I'd add, though, that you definitely should like RPGs if you're thinking of picking up this game. If you don't like RPGs in general, I'm pretty sure you won't like this one either, even if it has an adorable art style, etc.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I think you covered all the bases, sir! I think the enemies are ADORABLE! The corn guys are my favorite so far. And my least favorite? Those DAMN wasps! Wind wasps?! Ugh! Hate those!

Can't wait to go out and try to catch some more in different places!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks, Justin! And I agree with you about the corn guys -- so cute! I really like some of the enemies you encounter a bit later in the game, too. I'm in a fire-based dungeon right now, and there are boars and elephants with flame-tipped ears that are *really* cool :)

I hated the wasps, too, by the way. You'll soon overpower them, though, so don't fret too much.

You can't create or scan QR codes yet, right? I think you should be able to soon, though. Anyway, when you can, let's trade QR codes! I'm going to share a bunch here tomorrow, actually, so maybe you can share yours in the comments section or something...

diaglyph said...

The game sounds interestings. I hope it actually comes out here (who knows when though!!)
There's a demo too right? When it comes here I'll try out the demo first.

Also, this line is incomplete:
"As a result, even those who are left behind in the "Denpa Men House" quickly advance in levels and maintain their ."
Maintain their what?

And its great to hear that XP is shared amongst everyone. I like when RPGs do that, makes it easier to bring in other characters when you need them and not worry about stupid grinding.

Melody (Lizzi) said...

Hey Bryan!
This all sounds so great :(
I really need this game...

Today I received "Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times"!
It is kinda like a bad Animal Crossing-rip off but it's also very cute.
I mean it's not really bad but not as great as AC.
This is what it's like:

-you can catch fishes and insects
-you can buy clothes, furniture, trees/flowers but also ingedients for spells and more.
-Animals are living in your town in tree houses.
-there is a bank and a post office but also a bar, a barber, a tower where you can watch your insects/fishes and the stars on the roof
-you can customize your clothes and decorate your room
-every town has a beach, a cemetery, a haunted house, a "forest"
-the speaking-sound, the trees and the top screen are the same as in AC but the rest looks different

Sounds familiar?
Yea there's a lot stuff that reminds of AC but it feels very different.
You should try it.
To be honest it doesn't look as good as Animal Crossing DS but you can do so much more things in this game.
At the beginning it's quite hard to get into it because you always think "Of course there is a "..." just like in Animal Crossing..." but when you keep on playing you start to forget the commonalities.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, thank you for pointing out the incomplete sentence, Igor! I fretted over the line for a while, for some dumb reason, and apparently I decided to leave it until later. Whoops! I'll go fix it in a second.

As for the game coming to Europe and Australia: Yes, I have to imagine it will -- and hopefully sooner rather than later! Oh, and, yes, both Japanese and North American 3DS owners were offered a demo that could be downloaded from the eShop, so I'm guessing you'll be able to do the same in advance of the game's release in your region.

I agree with you that it's REALLY cool that experience in The 'Denpa' Men is shared among everyone. It allows you to grind a LOT less (if you'd like) and also makes it easier to alter your party to fit your current needs.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hello again, Melody! So, in the end, you're enjoying Magician's Quest? If so, I'm glad! Not sure I'll pick it up anytime soon, though. I've just got too many games in my backlog at the moment, and even more are sure to be added to it soon. I hope to play it eventually, though! Anyway, thanks for reporting back to me about it :)