There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking (NSFW)

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

In PlayStation Vita game Monster Monpiece, players increase the powers of collectible cards by vigorously rubbing pictures of young women until their clothes come off. This suggestive, borderline pornographic stroking mechanic is doing much more than revealing cartoon skin -- it's obfuscating the highly entertaining card battles that make up the true heart of the game.

Note: There'll be some mildly NSFW stuff in here, so scroll slowly.

I've spent the past two weeks playing through a Japanese import copy of Compile Heart's Monster Monpiece, acquainting myself with the title prior to the announcement of a Western release. Until I had the game in my hands, all I knew about it was what I'd read here on Kotaku. Brian Ashcraft called it "The Most Inappropriate PS Vita Game Yet," nicknaming it "The PS Vita Wanking Game" for obvious reasons.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

The focus on the vulgar motions instead of the game's card battles was not purposeful. This is how the game was presented in Japan, and the presentation seemed to work -- the game's initial 27,000 copy print run sold out in days.

Even today, as Idea Factory International prepares to enter the North American market -- a market with ideas about sexual content that differ greatly from Japan -- that stroking motion is still the first thing that pops up in the game's trailer.

Within a day of Monster Monpiece being announced for North American release earlier this week, Idea Factory doled out a heaping helping of those cultural differences. Around 40 of its 350 cards were being pulled from the US release due to "intense sexual imagery." Though the cards in the game are supposed to represent mythical creatures reimagined as young women, in the Western world we tend to focus on the young women bit.

The imagine below shows a selection of the card evolutions that will not be appearing in the North American and European versions of Monster Monpiece, for obvious reasons.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

So yeah, even now, in an article that's technically dedicated to talking about the non-sexual side of the game, I've spent six paragraphs talking about the exact opposite. It's unavoidable -- that's how the game was crafted.

It didn't have to be this way. The underlying game, a hybrid of collectible cards and lane defence genres, is more than compelling enough to carry a game of its own accord.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

The game begins innocently enough. In the world of Yafanir a race of monster girls have learned to coexist with humans, who harness their allies beastly powers in card-based battles. Mei, Fia, Elsa and Karen are studying to become monster girl masters, but when Elsa becomes cursed, Mei must embark on a quest to save her friends and the world itself from a mysterious evil.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

She does this the old fashioned way -- opening card packs, building decks, and taking her card warriors into battle. I firmly believe all conflicts should be handled this way.

Opponents grab their decks, filled with pretty drawings from famous artists, and take turns summoning monsters on a 3-by-7 playfield. When placed, the monster girls take on 3D forms and slowly march across the field toward the enemy base. The goal is to knock the points from your opponent's base before they knock the points off of yours.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

Cards come in various types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Melee characters for instance, are close-range fighters, hard-hitting with enough hit points to absorb some real damage.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

While buffers utilise special skills to enhance your on-board party's stats or lower the enemies'.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

Monsters of the same type -- there are Dragon, Demi-Human, Beast, Bird, Fairy, Nature, Undead and Hybrid types -- can be fused together on the field to enhance their powers. Each card also has a certain coloured aura, and summoning monster girls with the same aura consecutively grants special bonuses.

It's such a satisfying system, with much more depth than a traditional collectible card game allows, and plenty of room for strategy. I could spend hours building new decks and experimenting with fresh tactics. Hell, it's even got an online mode, with the potential for endless multiplayer card battles against human opponents.

But then there's the rub.

For two hours I played through the game's story without one sign of the infamous sexually-suggestive feature. I learned the ropes. I met the characters. I organised my cards.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

But then the enemies started to get tougher, and I knew it was coming. Soon my untouched, virginal cards would no longer be up to the task.

Can't I please just turn it off? No? Dammit.

In order to level up Monster Monpiece cards, they must be stroked. There is no getting around it. For some reason Compile Heart felt this was a mechanic that simply had to be.

I am no prude. I have watched my fair share of hentai. I have played erotic visual novels. I once collected a comic called Bondage Fairies. That I still felt a bit creepy touching these images says a lot.

There's A Great Game Beneath Monster Monpiece's Awkward Anime Stroking

It's not "rub her arm" or "stroke her hair." It's "poke her breasts, then go for the crotch." The rubbing mechanic knows what it wants, and if that's to embarrass the peope playing, then it succeeds.

And here we are, back to where we started. I talked about the stellar card game for a bit, praised its complexity, explained its rules and lauded its entertainment value. Then a couple paragraphs and an image later, and we're back to sex.

That's the problem Monster Monpiece is going to face in North America and Europe when it releases on the PlayStation Vita this spring. There's an amazing little game here, but it's hard to see it through your shameful, digital ink-stained fingers. They've not just buried the lede -- they've paved over it and put up a strip club.

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Comments

    Most of those girls look disturbingly underage. :/

    I know that not all of Japan is like this, but I'm sick of amazing Japanese content being ruined by the Japanese. Shows like Infinite Stratos, Valvrave the Liberator, Fairy Tail (To an extent), Reborn, etc. I would love it if the creators of these fantastic shows, games and books would stop trying to make porn for their audience and just make good content!

    I'd even go as far as to say that Angel Beats would have to be the only anime I've watched that hasn't suffered from this, but even then it does a little. I'm fine with Hentai and porn, I'd just wish we could keep it separate from good content. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire walk this line quite well I think, but that's only because I'm a westerner and those shows are made for western audiences.

    I guess what I'm really asking is for the people of the world that get off watching normal content with naked 13 year old girls to just grow up and if their horny go watch some porn or something.

      Sadly, the two are intertwined. Anime has enough money and enough of an audience to do shows like Death Note, Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, Lucky Star and so on specifically because of all the damn fanservice anime. It's sad, but there's people watching anime and putting money into it because perverted people like it. It's like how an industry of movies churns out good, creative movies because there's money thanks to the boring done again and again romcoms. You may dislike the fanservice anime, but the serious anime can only be funded thanks to them

        Damnit, now you've said Cowboy Bebop I have to go watch it. I hope you're happy, because I will be.

          oooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRR... You could be watching Space Dandy. Yoshiro might not have kept the semi serious side of Cowboy and Samurai, but it is still a pretty good watch either way.

            Actually, yeah, I've been watching that lately as well, I find it quite the awesome. I just have a huge soft spot in my heart for the Bebop.

        I know that is the way this world turns, but I guess I just wish we could all just enjoy content without the need for fan-service.

          Some people like the fan service too. Some people think that the fanservice doesn't detract from the content. And there's great anime with no fanservice at all as well. There's anime to suit everyone. It's not fair to say that all anime should be one way just because that's the way you like it. What about the people who *like* it?

            I understand that, it's just there already are genres for that kind of anime, ecchi and hentai. I guess I want some kind of real separation where "normal" anime is here and erotica is over there.

      You've pretty much spelled out why I rarely watch anime these days. Don't get me wrong I dont mind my fanservice in anime. But a huge chunk of anime outside of "slice of life" is literally just how far can you push the ero content w/o being an ero series...

      They all end up being massively sexualised csck blocks. If i wanted an ecchi/ero scene I would watch Hentai. Not subject myself to continous barrage of "fanservice" w/o substance...

        Laugh at it, or ignore it.

        There are anime where the fan service is so extreme where it's impossible to ignore. I find laughing at those ones usually works.

        (Usually. The occasional series that takes joy in actually tormenting semi-naked women throws out my breakers. Fortunately there aren't a lot of Queens Blades around.)

    "mildly" nsfw? Some of that stuff is extremely not safe for work.

      Actually, some of those photos could get you arrested, charged and convicted in Australia.

    I know this was meant to be some kind of a review, but when it comes down to it, its a simple matter of if you don't like the game, don't play it.

    I know some people who will praise the game for the "stroking" mechanic, and others who will hate it. I'm hoping that those who dislike it will, you know, not play it. Kinda like how I don't play Call of Duty and a wide variety of other games becuase i don't like them.

    I feel I should mention that the Pokemon-ami in X/Y had its fair share of cringe too if you were over the age of maybe 12-14. That said, mechanically the game sounds very interesting and if rubbing your vita is really that embarrassing, might I suggest getting a glass cleaning cloth and cleaning the fingerprints/smudges off the screen?

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