Editors’ Choice Games
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World
Review by Angie Kibiloski
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World ($34.99 Digital-$39.99 Physical) is a cute, side-scrolling action fighting game, for Nintendo Switch and PS4. It launches you, as the feisty green-haired warrior girl, Asha, into a vibrant adventure filled with crazy creatures. Together with your adorable blue sidekick, Pepelogoo, you’ll run, jump, fly, and attack your way through challenges both large and small, while you try to track down some spirits that have been taken by unknown evil forces. Can Asha and Pepelogoo defeat all the monsters in their path, and complete their quest to save the world? It’s up to you to play and help them out.
Game play is your standard side-scrolling fighter style, with platforms and chasms to jump on and over, ropes to climb, doors to unlock, etc. Your heroine has a basic attack, and a special skill, which can be unlocked by collecting tokens along the way. You’ll also be collecting extra strength and life tokens, as well as coins for in-game currency, by opening chests, defeating enemies, or finding them lying around along your path. Talking to some of the characters you come across will also award you with helpful items, though some other characters will just wish you good luck on your quest. Adversaries will increase in difficulty as you go, culminating in boss-level battles that will test the speed and skill of your thumbs. Anyone who has ever played a side-scroller will feel right at home with this title, falling into the familiar rhythm of button pushes.
I played the Nintendo Switch digital version of the game, on the Easy level, and I had a really enjoyable time. The environments Asha runs through are colorful and interesting, with different levels presenting various landscapes and interiors. The monsters she encounters are more funny than scary, and I even felt a little guilty cutting some of them down with her sword. The battle mechanics were easy to pick up and master, though the two button combo moves are a little awkward on the Switch controller, depending on which controller mode you’re using. Once we found little Pepelogoo, I got a kick out of Asha using him to overcome obstacles that she couldn’t physically manage, like flying or being encased in ice to become a useful tool.
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is a remaster of Monster World IV, a fan favorite title from the original Wonder Boy game series, which is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. To keep the remake true to the source, some of the original creative team were brought on to head up development. I never played the original game, so I can’t speak to how it compares to that, but I can attest that it’s a satisfying adventure for a new player. I have no complaints, and I look forward to playing through the rest of the levels. Whether you’re a Wonder Boy fan from way back, or this is your first time hearing about this franchise, I’d recommend giving this game a try.
For both Nintendo Switch and PS4, you can purchase either a digital download or a physical copy of the game. For those who choose the physical copy, you’ll get the added bonus of the original Monster World IV included with your purchase, loaded on the cartridge for Switch, and as a digital download code for PS4. Both of these physical editions of the game can be purchased from their publisher, ININ Games. The digital versions are separately published by STUDIOARTDINK, and can be downloaded from the Nintendo and Sony online stores. There will also be a version for Windows coming in the near future.