I knew all the Monster Monpiece stories. I'd seen the blantant trailers, showing off the "rubbing" mechanics to power up cards. I'd seen the character art, even the designs for the ones deemed "too hot for North America." I was prepared to just toss this aside as a sexist game, designed to appeal to the kind of audience that buys up anything with a glimmer of fanservice. I figured certain men and women would flock to it, and was fully prepared to ignore the game, judging from afar.
Except, circumstances aligned and, as a result, I ended up playing Monster Monpiece, and I enjoyed it.
No, enjoy is too weak a word. I love Monster Monpiece. As in, I stayed up until about midnight last night, enjoying a two hour gaming session in which I played experimented with deck designs, participated in online matches against other players, and generally had a ball with a game I was ready to dismiss as pandering nonsense.
Not that Monster Monpiece isn't a game where boobs and butts are constantly on display. There's plenty of half naked monster girls inhabiting a players' deck. And the First Crush Rub technique does involve lots of virtual proding and poking. There are uncomfortable moments, and it's definitely the sort of game you won't be playing with the sound on in public. But, I honestly feel like it would be hypocritical if suddenly I did take offense to such actions in a game.
After all, I'm the same woman who went out of her way to import a copy of Duel Love from Japan. That's the otome game where a player steps into the shoes of a heroine who picks a high school, underground fighter to romance. Which involves mini-games where you wipe sweat from his nipple-less torso, massage his back while he makes explicit noises, and blow away shower steam in the hopes of catching a peek of naked times. I even played said game in public, so it's not like I can really criticize Monster Monpiece for its "touching" mechanic.
Especially when these perverted moments are crucial to powering up the cards for the battles. Oh, the Monster Monpiece battles. I kid you not, this is one of the best, strategic card games I have ever played. Granted, all of the female characters are in varying points in their trip to half-naked or naked town in their card art, but that doesn't matter. There's just such depth to it. For example, monster girls belong to different species, and cards of the same species can be fused anywhere on the field to strengthen them.
Each monster girl also has a different class assigned to them. There are warriors (sword), archers (bow), mages (book), and clerics (staff). Warriors and archers deal damage, while mages and clerics and put buffs on or heal the cards in front of them. Properly placing them around the field is like organizing a little army in your 3x3 grid of squares, and sending them marching to the opponent's 3x3 field, in the hopes of mowing down the opponents and destroying the enemy's fortress before your own is wiped out.
But wait! There's more to consider. Each card also has a color, which is its aura. Play three cards with the same aura in a row, and there will be buffs applied to all of your cards in play. However, you also have to consider how much mana you have available, as you can only summon a monster girl if you've got enough MP to spare.
That isn't even taking into account special cards that have properties, which mean they have special abilities when placed on the field. These also can build upon each other, so fusing two cards of the same species that each have their own unique properties can result in something of an uber card. You know, provided the two properties don't cancel each other out.
Which means making a good deck is a work of art. You have to consider what species, class, and color cards you think you'll use most in battle, and even if the special properties of them will work for your overall strategy. I bet that blows your mind.
I mean, you look at Monster Monpiece and think it's all about the fanservice. You're prodding and rubbing 2D girls' entire bodies in the hopes of making them strip a little to power up their cards, for crying out loud! But the core card game is so wonderful, addictive and engaging that I didn't even care. Hell, I was vigorously rubbing one out whenever I could get enough Rub Points for it, because by God, it's worth it. If I'm going to have the best deck ever, I've got to power through this sexist mechanic, which really ends up being more tedious than sensual or arousing, to make my cards the very best.
...Besides, some of the character art is gorgeous. Yes, I'm that far gone. But believe me, if you gave Monster Monpiece a chance, you would be too.