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Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Game Poster Image
Amusing, colorful adventure is great for kids of all ages.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Standard good versus evil story without any significant messages that are positive or negative.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, Jin, is a young, blue-haired boy who can transform into animals and creatures to accomplish his goal -- which is to stop his uncle from inflicting curses upon the kingdom's inhabitants. He seems like a good person who wants to save people, but he does inflict damage on baddies to complete each level. 

Ease of Play

This 2D platformer game has easy controls, but it can get challenging over time. Fortunately, the game does a good job in layering in the difficulty.

Violence

The game has some cartoon-like violence. You'll attack enemies -- like bugs, skeletons, and fish -- using weapons like swords, bombs, fireballs, and slime. There's no blood or gore. When defeated, enemies, including boss characters, will blink and disappear.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The story is tied to the character's uncle, a "drunk," as the game says, who is transforming the kingdom residents into animals. There's a scene in a tavern where characters raise frothy beer-like mugs to drink them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom is a 2-D cartoon-like adventure game for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows Pcs. Action in the game includes combat against enemies, such as skeletons and fish, and requires you to use weapons (swords, bombs, fireballs) to damage monsters that vanish when defeated. There's no blood or gore shown in the game. The story and images are tied to alcohol, as the main character, Jin, has a "drunk" uncle who is transforming the townspeople into animals. One scene shows characters celebrating in a tavern and raising beer-like drinks in frothy mugs.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

MONSTER BOY AND THE CURSED KINGDOM is a colorful side-scrolling action adventure game. The story surrounds a young blue-haired boy named Jin, who vows to stop his uncle from cursing the kingdom's inhabitants (turning people into animals). The gameplay is similar to the 1989 game, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, as Jin gains the ability to instantly transform into creatures -- each with its own special powers -- to best defeat the enemies on the screen and overcome obstacles and other environmental challenges. Eventually, you'll unlock a total of five characters, ranging from a pig and frog to a flying dragon, fierce lion, and slithering snake. As a 2D platformer, you'll find your way to the end of the level, fight enemies (including huge bosses), collect items, find hidden passages, and discover powerful equipment that can be used to remove the powerful curse.

Is it any good?

This is a great-looking game that's easy to pick up and play, offers a surprising amount of depth, and apart from some moments, is ideal for younger gamers. The real fun in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is discovering what your characters can do, taking advantage of this skill, and then coming into a situation where you can instantly swap out to another character who might be best suited for the job. For example, when you transform into a pink pig, you can sniff out clues and hidden areas, but as a snake, you can climb walls and crawl into small areas you can't as Jin or a pig. Along with these physical changes, you can obtain weapons and armor, and pick up other items from shops that can be used, upgraded using the in-game currency (gems).

Also with the stunning hand-drawn animation (including attractive anime-like cut-scene sequences), this game also features an exceptional music soundtrack, and offers several in-game languages (nine, to be exact). There isn't much to complain about this game, but the story isn't strong (and is virtually the same as previous Wonder Boy narratives). The plot is extremely straightforward, plus there's no multiplayer support (local co-op would've been a blast here). Whether it's been a while since you picked up a side-scroller or if you're a fan of the game genre, you won't be disappointed with Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. It's a big and deep game that's accessible, gorgeous, and super fun to play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about alcohol use in games. Does Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom really need the alcohol references and images as part of the plot? Is it unfair to label the "drunk" uncle as the bad guy who is transforming the residents into animals? Does this imply people who can't control their liquor are evil?

  • Is the impact of the violence in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom affected by the cartoonish visuals of the game? Would the impact be intensified if the visuals were more realistic?

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