Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World (PlayStation 4)

Wonder Boy – Asha in Monster World is the newest game developed by Artdink, with the physical version published by ININ Games. It is a remake of Monster World IV, released in 1994 in Japan. It is an action platformer with some very light RPG elements in the form of equipment and money. It released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & PC. Let’s take a look.

The plot follows Asha, who when standing on a cliff edge, hears a mysterious voice asking for help. She then decides to leave her village to help the voice. The game is fairly light on story, being more focused on the gameplay, with the story mainly being there to set up the games main levels which involve you going to save one of four elemental spirits. It accomplishes this goal well and gives you a good idea of why you want to save the spirits.

The games visuals received a complete overhaul from the original game. The originals pixels have been replaced with 3D models. I personally think the visuals are a big improvement upon the original, with the 3D models giving the games locations and characters more personality. The visuals are very vibrant and cheerful and this helps get the games light tone across to the player. Each area feels distinct from the last and fit its elemental theme well. The character designs are varied and look great for the most part. Overall, I feel that the visuals are good and set the tone for the game well and is a good improvement over the original.

The games soundtrack fits the setting of each area well but sadly only the games main theme is particularly memorable. The soundtrack definitely isn’t a bad soundtrack but it is unlikely to get stuck in your head for weeks like some soundtracks can. Having said that, it helps build the atmosphere of each area well and along with the visuals, sets the tone for the game. The game also introduces voice acting, which helps add a lot more personality to Asha.

The gameplay is almost identical to the original game. This means it definitely feels like a classic platformer. Being a shot for shot remake, the level design is exactly the same, for the most part the level design feels good, with clear direction. However the dungeons can feel overly long at times. Combat feels great with smooth animations and a reasonable difficulty that doesn’t feel unfair.

The platforming can feel strange sometimes due to the inclusion of the Pepelogoo, a bird-like companion that is used for things like double jump and gliding. The issue is that you have to summon it before you can use it, this takes a few seconds depending on how far away it is and this can throw off your rhythm during the platforming sections. The remake also introduces a few extra features like saving anywhere rather than at save points and a new “Magical Hit” mechanic which gives you a stronger attack after hitting a set amount of normal attacks. Besides these added features, the game is very similar to the original. Overall, the game is a faithful remake, for better and for worse.

It is worth noting that physical copies of the game include the original Monster World IV game. After playing this version, you really notice how faithful to the source material the remake really is.

Overall, Wonder Boy – Asha In Monster World is an incredibly faithful remake. However the game can feel repetitive in dungeons and the Pepelogoo mechanics can make platforming frustrating. Despite this, the game makes for a short but sweet experience.

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Summary

A Faithful Remake of Monster World IV with some new features while keeping the feel of the original game.

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Shaun

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