Mononoke Forest (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Thom Compton 13.08.2017

Review for Mononoke Forest on Nintendo 3DS

Every so often, a game comes along that, when the core concept is described, makes the one who presents it sound like their explaining an extremely bizarre nightmare. Mononoke Forest is such a game. To summarize it would sound like a fever dream of someone who fell asleep after 48 straight hours of Pokémon and community service. Still, here it is; a testament to the creativity this medium utilizes so well. Like many nightmares, though, it's important to put it all into perspective when you wake up, and that's where things fall apart.

Mononoke Forest is all about cleaning up pollution and bringing back the wildlife in a small rural town. In order to do this, you'll need to collect Mononoke; Pokémon-esque creatures that, when combined, have different effects on the ground. Having collected these little monsters, it's possible to combine them on the lower screen of the 3DS, and then pull them back, slingshotting them onto the top screen. Depending on what gets hit, what was combined, and how things were mixed, the player will change the very fabric of the ground they hit.

When it all comes down to it, this is a sim. The goal here is to return the small plot of land to its former glory before all the plants and animals left die out. You do this by completing wishes - essentially missions various towns folk need the player to perform so they can be happy. Each of these wishes requires specific Mononoke, and this is the first major annoyance, as you aren't allowed to start the mission without having those specific Mononoke in a party together.

Screenshot for Mononoke Forest on Nintendo 3DS

This makes sense, realistically, as this keeps the player from wasting time. What's annoying is that the way the game dictates this to you is through extremely small pictures of the Mononoke in the bottom of the screen. Worse yet, only a portion of their face is in the picture. This means that one has to go back and forth to a guide, figuring out which Mononoke is which. It's unlikely you have all the Mononoke you need for the next wish, which is fine. You can just go out and catch it. This requires cleaning up pollution, while aiming Mononoke shots at Mononoke running across the screen.

Hopefully, players will hit the Mononoke they need, and capture it. All too often, though, they won't, and will have to continue trying. This would be fine if the slingshot mechanic worked even remotely well - it doesn't, however, and the aiming function isn't even remotely tight enough to justify it being the primary means of control. If combined Mononoke are too close to the edge of the screen, pulling them back far enough to fling them to the top of the screen, means you'll need to move them and then fling them. In the process, they may accidentally be separated them, and then had to be recombined. It's frustrating, although over time you can get used to it.

Screenshot for Mononoke Forest on Nintendo 3DS

What is hard to get used to is with what you are able to hit. Tiles towards the top of the screen simply refuse to respond. This means that, while trying to grow grass or clean up pollution out of the water, one gets to see much more area than it's possible to actually control. Given that the little beasts must fling ten times, this often leaves rounds feeling like a complete waste. Perhaps an example is the best way to explain this grievance.

Let's say you select an area for a non-wish round, perhaps to get a new Mononoke, and every tile on the board is dirt covered in pollution. You can mix multiple Mononoke together and fling them onto the screen, hitting a specific tile. In the event that the tile is fairly close to the centre of the screen, these are likely to clear up the pollution, or even grow grass where there was once dirt. However, if it's too far up on the screen, suddenly the titles just don't respond. Do this too often, and you'll waste your turn. However, play too well, and suddenly you can't do anything but throw away the rest of your turns, as you'll already have cleaned up what the game will let you to. The remaining tiles, despite being on screen, simply don't respond.

Screenshot for Mononoke Forest on Nintendo 3DS

Despite all of this, once you get used to this weird gameplay, which also includes placing houses once the town starts top return to life, and bringing animals back into the town, this can be surprisingly engaging. It's definitely a unique title, and after grasping the controls, players may find themselves having a tremendous amount of fun. While many of the complaints here dramatically reduce the chances of having a good time, the central point of it all is to build a village out of the wreckage of a polluted wasteland. This is enjoyable enough, as is levelling your Mononoke.

Yes, the game allows the player to level their little creatures, as well as setup multiple teams. This works really well, as you can set up commonly used team combos to ensure you have a good setup waiting in standby. Also, figuring out ways to make each fling more powerful finds you stumbling across creating your own unique vision of the town. Truth be told, this is a decent experience, but it's going to require getting over the extremely annoying gameplay, or at the very least, getting used to it.

Screenshot for Mononoke Forest on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Mononoke Forest is difficult to recommend, because the learning curve is difficult to describe. Honestly, it's enough to make many gamers turn away, and for good reason. If one were to get past the obnoxious controls and the initially confusing gameplay, however, there's something enjoyable buried here - it's a shame that it's so frustrating getting to it, though.

Developer

Gamedo

Publisher

Gamedo

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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