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Review: Mon-Yu Feels Like a More Lighthearted First-Person Dungeon Crawler

Mon-Yu Review
Image via Aksys

Many first-person dungeon crawlers go with the idea of a group of heroes gathers together, challenges a legendary dungeon, and goes against major foes to become legends. Many light novels, anime series, and manga isekai series involve a sudden group of heroes forming, challenging dungeons, and fighting enemies to become the best that ever was. Aksys and Experience’s newest RPG takes advantage of that to blend elements from isekai into such a game. It even goes so far as to use the same naming conventions. In so doing, we gain access to Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters and Gain Strong Weapons and Armor. You May be Defeated, but Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will be a Day when the Heroes Defeat the Devil King, which can generally be a lot of fun both play (and say you’re playing).

Thinking of this as a “transported to another” world game helps make many of the premises make sense (and more fun). You start off in a guild hall with a pig person as your guide. You create a party of six characters, determining their classes and bonus status points when you do. Character portraits from past Experience games like Death Mark and Demon Gaze show up as options, if you want to have some fun with it. Really go for the idea that this is an isekai story where maybe Satoru Mashita and Oz got pulled into another world by a fairy queen to solve all her problems. As you challenge the Seven Devil Kings in the Dragon King’s Tower, you face all sorts of foes. If you die, you revive and get back to it. (Because you always revive in the other world.)

Image via Aksys

Once you’re in your other world and ready for your new heroes to face the Dragon King’s Tower (and evaluations), Mon-Yu feels even more like a typical Experience game. As with any first-person dungeon crawler, you walk through the dungeon space by space. It’s a crisp, 3D environment where movement is smooth, it’s easy to clearly see where you could and should be going, and points of interest are clearly marked by very recognizable icons. When you happen upon an enemy icon, which may or may not be wandering depending on the type, you head into a turn-based battle. Your party and the opposing one are both settled into rows, determining range of attacks and groupings. You pick your attacks and skills as you fight, hoping to survive. (There is a “rapid” battle option, as well as an auto-battle function.) Your “grade” based on the performance of the encounter determines your reward.

Don’t let the tone of Mon-Yu fool you, however. This is a game that can get rough on you. I went with the Type-B standard gameplay to start. Had no issues with what is essentially the tutorial area and mini-boss. Once I got past that, right away the confrontation with the second reminded me these enemies mean business. You’ll eventually happen upon stronger and stronger foes. Grinding can become helpful, though various caps and such mean you hopefully won’t have to do too much. Also, the array of skills available to classes and ability to pick and choose among them can mean quite a bit of diversity and strategy when determining who to have around. 

Image via Aksys

What I did find frustrating (aside from the constant use of a recorder as a key instrument in certain tracks) is that it can feel like there are times at which it would be impossible for your party to defeat certain enemies due to their strength in a dungeon, but Mon-Yu doesn’t offer enough encounters for you to gain the experience needed to defeat them. Since there are no random encounters and you see all of them on the map, you can hit a point where it can literally feel like there’s no way to move forward unless you leave the dungeon, return, and repeat until you do feel you’re prepared. You hit this first sort of “wall” early on, as there’s a mini-boss sort of opponent who runs away, leaving you to be “chased” by exceptionally strong foes.

Yes, Experience takes a cue from Etrian Odyssey for Mon-Yu. There are what you could consider F.O.E.s, extremely strong, purple icon enemies. They will come after you and are likely as strong as or stronger than the mini bosses and bosses around you. In the first first Demiheim area of the Dragon King’s Tower, there’s a mini-boss you’ll encounter that goes on the run when it sees you, leading you right past two of those exceptionally hefty baddies. It’s a swift reminder that yes, this is an Experience game. Yes, this developer knows how to make challenging first-person dungeon crawler games. Yes, you need to think smart. 

Image via Aksys

Though really, the more I play Mon-Yu, the more I appreciate just how drastic the difference between the gameplay and ambiance is. It does have all the first-person dungeon crawler trappings you would expect. It just frames it so it feels a bit lighter and like an isekai game. Experience implemented streamlined quality of life elements, like easy to comprehend skill acquisition systems, a tight character creator, the ability to quickly warp in and out of a dungeon, being warped to safety if you fall in battle, and how equipped weapons can level up to become stronger. However, it is still very much the sort of game you can expect from the developer. Enemies can be quite strong. Maps can get perilous and winding. If you go with the “challenging” Type-C playstyle with low level growth caps and barriers to immediately using the mini-map and full map, it really ends up testing you.

Simply put, Mon-Yu is an enjoyable adventure and exactly what people familiar with Experience will expect. It’s handled well and offers a lot of strategic options and challenge, if you’re looking for it. Likewise, the pleasant atmosphere, occasional silliness, and quality of life options like easier difficulty and ability to save anywhere make it more inviting to a newcomer. It’s generally a solid entry in a genre that either attracts people who expect specific sorts of challenges or are looking for an approachable entry point.

Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters and Gain Strong Weapons and Armor. You May be Defeated, but Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will be a Day when the Heroes Defeat the Devil King will come to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and PC on September 21, 2023.

Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters and Gain Strong Weapons and Armor. You May be Defeated, but Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will be a Day when the Heroes Defeat the Devil King


Mon-Yu maintains everything you expect from an Experience first-person dungeon crawler, while still being approachable.

Food for Thought:
  • You can change the game type (difficulty) after you start it, which means you could go with the Type-A (easy) or Type-B (normal) one, then take on a greater challenge if you need something more.
  • If you choose to auto-battle, on the Switch press “X” to choose the “rapid” version. If you press “A” after selecting, it will run at the normal speed.
  • I had a character roll with 20 bonus points, so don’t be afraid to take your time.
  • You can save at any time, even if you’re in a dungeon, and there’s an auto-save.
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Jenni Lada
    About The Author
    Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.