Believe it or not Koei makes games that aren’t “Something” Warriors. Monster Racers is one their expanded audience games and it’s for the Nintendo DS. The premise of Monster Racers is part platforming, part racing, and part Pokemon. I’m just going to focus on my experience with the platforming/racing part.
Each race is you versus three other monsters. Like any ordinary race whoever makes it to the finish line first is the winner. However, this race takes place on a side scrolling level with pits and snow. Monster Racers is sort of like Sonic the Hedgehog racing without hedgehogs and loops. During the race you can “attack” the other monsters by jumping on them which makes them slow down, but when I was playing Monster Racers I didn’t feel a need to. Most of the time I was so far in the lead the only thing I needed to focus on was grabbing power ups like stars that make you invincible, and icons that fill up the monster’s dash meter.
I tried out three different stages and three different levels. One race was on a grassy plain with a few pits to leap over. The next level was a dry desert level with rock walls that acted like hurdles and falling boulders. The last level was set in winter area and was the trickiest to play. While running my monster would build up a pile of snow in front of him which made him run slower. Staying in first place meant occasionally jumping to get rid of the snow clump. I found it much easier to avoid the snow all together and use dash in the air.
Every monster has a different dash effect too. The green monster I used in the first race split into three. Another monster encased itself in flame and the cat in the snow level was surrounded by an electrical field when it used the dash ability. While I only got to try three of them, Koei has a lot more than three monsters for players to catch and raise. The platformer meets racing design was a neat concept, but Monster Racers needs to be enjoyed with friends. In the trial version the AI didn’t put up a fight. Hopefully, the final version which comes out in Japan next week shapes up better.
Koei is bringing Monster Racers here too, but they haven’t announced a date yet.
Images courtesy of Koei.