A demo longer, bigger, faster and stronger than before. More modern too!
During Gamescom 2018, we finally got to see a new build for Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. The game has been a long time coming and is finally being released on November 6. Monster Boy, based on the legendary series of old, is coming together in a way that makes me very hopeful. The classic platforming and the ability to transform into different animals come together much better than I was anticipating. Before I could jump in, though, I was welcomed with a wonderful animated intro scene that gave me Japanese and French animation style vibes.
Moving on, let's talk about that classic platforming action. As the titular Boy, you have a sword and jumping abilities to account for. Precision in these sections comes down to knowing when to strike. In a previous demo, the timing was a bit finicky, but it seems to have been adjusted in this new version. The action feels a lot more direct and hard hitting, both things I want out of a platformer like this. Enemies and obstacles come from all angles, ensuring that you stay on your toes. In the opening moments of the game, the Cursed Kingdom plays with these expectations enough. Foes quickly pop out of nowhere. The early challenge helps you adjust to the way the game plays.
Another part that felt longer before, compared to the segment in the original demo, was using the Heavy Boots. With these, you can walk underwater and your jumps are also longer. This makes going for the Reflection Shield much more of a breeze. With the shield in hand, you can stop the enemy blocking your way and progress through the level at hand. Beyond that, nothing major has really changed in the beginning. You do some more platforming, collect the fire spell, and carry on like normal.
However, the level carries on longer than in the previous builds of the game. There is a really cool moment where you enter a door and pop out far into the background. You will collect an item and get bounced all the way back to the foreground. Another cool element is how will use the fire spell to flip a switch far out of reach. A similar tactic was shown with vines in an earlier part of the build. The final section before the boss sees you crossing planks that can break when you walk over them. If you go step carefully, you will find a secret chest granting you a potion. After that, you will need to move to the right constantly while catching up to a moving platform.
The demo ends, once again, with the showdown between the boy and the octopus. Mechanically, you will still have to stab the tentacles with your sword. More importantly is what the developers have done with the graphics. Not just in this fight, but the overall look of the title in general appears to have been upgraded. While the original demo used the boy's original design, the new model is far more animated and cartoony. The backgrounds, environmental details, and enemies have been improved as well to give them a brand new look. The sheer difference in quality is absolutely impressive to behold.
While I didn't try any new transformations, I did walk away from Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom happy. The development team is clearly looking at the feedback of the original demo and polishing it in every way they can. The result is a game that fully evolves from its source material and does things in a new way, not for the sake of being different, but to bring a feeling to Monster Boy that stands on its own. The game looks fantastic, and I really can't wait until its release in November.