Somehow, the Wonder Boy series has rather passed me by, and offhand, I can’t remember actually playing any. However, I’m well-versed in platformers, and this one does exactly that.
The review codes I received contained both Wonder Boy: Asha In Monster World, and Monster World IV, the latter of which is only available with the physical release, and for which you can see some gameplay further down in this review. Oddly – and this is a PS5 thing – both don’t appear separately on my Games menu. There’s just one icon. You then have to go into the icon, move right from Play Game to the three dots, and then a menu comes up from which you can select the other game. Why, Sony?! Why not just have them side-to-side in the games menu?
You’ll pick up various health items such as an Elixir to top up your hearts – one of which you’ll lose as you bump into most foes, collect 10 ‘lite drops’ to extend the number of hearts available by one (which will appear as blue instead of the usual red), while some foes like the mushroom, will drop a heart after you kill them. However, while on Monster World IV, this would only top them up to the maximum number already available to me, while the new game would keep adding hearts the more I collected, so it was a lot more forgiving.
However, Asha does seem to be missing one of those things that go in the middle of your face, so: My Wonder Boy has no nose. How does she smell? Terrible!
Still, she does have a Pepelogoo – a pet who will get items from trees, as well as allowing you to travel further than you otherwise would, for example, by holding it above you as you jump, allowing you to glide towards your destination.
You do have options to swing your sword about in various directions such as down when you’re about to land on a baddie, but I still found it easier to land just short of them and smack them while standing next to them, since if you’ve had a trip or fall in the forest, Claims Direct will not bail you out with a payout.
RPG-lite fans will also enjoy boosting your stats by buying armour, swords and other equipment, also giving you protection in battle – which will come in handy with the numerous boss battles.
However, this a game which made me want to rage-quit* after a while, because I’m dying more often, the further I go, and it’s doing my head in. Almost as much as listening to antivaxxers talk about a ‘plandemic’. I also got frustrated as I’m going back and forth between certain sections, so it’s not a straight A-to-B run, but you’ll double back through certain areas, such as to collect a bomb to forcibly open a solid door. Others require keys. Couldn’t we just have several different keys? Are bombs really necessary.
(*well, not ‘rage’, but calmly put down the controller. I haven’t got the energy to rage, and PS5 controllers are not cheap)
Overall, while I haven’t finished Wonder Boy: Asha In Monster World, I found this okay but repetitive, and it just didn’t excite me enough to keep at it.
There are also three limited and exclusive physical editions available for pre-order at Strictly Limited Games.
All three editions include the original Monster World IV:
- The Limited Edition is available for £34.99 / €39.99 and includes exclusive color manual & reversible box art.
- The Collector’s Edition includes terrific items like the Monster World Map, 2x soundtrack (Original & Remix), Artbook, a Squishy Ball Pepelogoo and more (£85.99 / €99.99).
- The Mega Collector’s Edition celebrates the origins of the game and includes everything from the CE and even more fantastic items like the Asha and Pepelogoo Figurine (18cm / 7.1″), Asha Pixel Pin, a Vinyl Sticker for your console and more (£154.99 / €179.99).
- Developer: Artdink
- Publisher: Inin Games
- Players: single-player
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.