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Monster Tale (Nintendo DS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

Young girl, Ellie, finds a strange, glowing bracelet in the woods, and upon touching it is transported to a magical world of monsters, where she befriends Chomp - a hatchling monster of unknown origin. As she is looking for a way back home, Ellie soon discovers not all is right in the monster world - a group of bratty human children led by Queen Priscilla have taken over, and are ruling the land with an iron fist. Moreover the child-rulers see Ellie and her new pet as a threat to their reign and are actively trying to kill or capture our heroes.

Monster Tale is an action/exploration platformer with RPG and virtual pet elements. Ellie, the player character is equipped with a long-range projectile in form of her plasma-firing bracelet, and a short range attack via a deadly purse. Along the way she would also acquire various abilities such as a roll, wall-slide, uppercut and many others. Her health can be upgraded via collecting heart containers.

While the player character moves and fights monsters on the top screen, the bottom screen of the system is most often occupied by the monster sanctuary, which presumably exists inside Ellie's purse. There - Chomp spends his time interacting with objects left behind by vanquished foes. Each object yields experience points that level up Chomp, and once he reaches a certain level, he is able to shift to another form. Each of the many visually distinct forms of Chomp have special attributes, like higher attack, defense, agility, endurance etc. In addition - each form also has two unique special skills, that once mastered can be executed in any other form.

Ellie can summon Chomp up to the upper screen with a press of a button. When topside, Ellie's pet will attack enemies and interact with certain out of the way switches and triggers, all the while his life gauge will drain constantly, and even faster if he comes under attack from foes. Once the life gauge is empty, Chomp will faint and return to the sanctuary screen where his life will recover.

Generally, most of the in-game action happens on the top screen, but some enemies, bosses, and even puzzles will invade the monster sanctuary and require Chomp's direct intervention via touch-screen. In these cases the player might be required to return his pet to the sanctuary, if he's been summoned topside, and point him to the source of danger or interest via a touch of a finger or a stylus.

Screenshots

Monster Tale Nintendo DS Gotta love the background monster-thing - the eye actually follows your movement.
Monster Tale Nintendo DS The top layer of the menus - below this it's pure madness!
Monster Tale Nintendo DS Ellie is awaken in the middle of the night by a loud sound, that apparently only she could hear.
Monster Tale Nintendo DS Found a life capsule?

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The Press Says

Thunderbolt Games Apr 02, 2011 7 out of 10 70

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Trivia

References

The game's heroine, Ellie on one occasion alludes to her world-renowned yet long-lost adventurer uncle Henry. This is a reference to the protagonist of Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure - a puzzle platformer game made by the DreamRift team while still at EA Tiburon. This essentially sets both games to reside in the same universe. As Electronic Arts holds the rights to the Henry Hatsworth intellectual property, the reference could not be any more direct.
DarkFalzX (4723) added Monster Tale (Nintendo DS) on May 02, 2012