Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World, remake of the original Wonder Boy fourth installment released on Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis) of 1994, was one of the most anticipated games in 2021 in the eyes of fans and we have already had the opportunity to talk about it in our review, dealing specifically with the console version, while today it’s up to that PC. A video game that smacks of a videogame past, not necessarily only in a positive sense. Being the analysis of the Steam version, we will talk about both the game itself and the technical aspect related to the porting, which was not done fully adequately.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World, a game out of time
When it comes to a video game of the past, very often it is really difficult to judge it by contextualizing it in our day. We’re not talking about graphics or sound quality, otherwise a mediocre game with nice graphics from 2021 would be better than Mario 64, for example. It is more of a discourse linked to the playful formula, to the quality of gameplay or perhaps history, and not always a remake of an old game is attractive for a player with many titles behind him or, trivially, who is not passionate about the title or the original saga. Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World, in a review that contextualizes it at the time of 1994, it would certainly be evaluated very positively; today however, while remaining a game of very good quality, inevitably has missed shots. But let’s go in order.
The history of production is the most classic of all, a hero that must save the world from an evil and looming threat, but there is a small variation: we do not control a hero, but a heroine named Asha. This very young green haired girl will have to free 4 spirits, divided into as many levels of play, to achieve its goal and ensure peace for its people. The levels are structured like a metroidvania, as they can be explored far and wide and are structured both horizontally that vertically, with the right gradualness. You can too replay once completed, in case you want to complete them 100% and we missed something on the first try. There is no shortage, in addition to platforming and ai white weapon fighting, even some little puzzles scattered here and there which are a great way to break the rhythm. For the time it was a very solid and functional formula, as well as perfectly in line with the concept of the ideal video game for SEGA users grown on bread e Wonder Boy, as well as obviously with Sonic.
The gameplay it is also embellished by the presence of a Pepelogoo, a small flying creature that will help us solve the puzzles that we can call to us using the key RB, or R1 / R depending on the console or the pad that you are using; at that point Asha will grab it holding it above her head to be able to make both glides and double jumps. It can also be called when you are in the water to quickly rise to the surface. The fights are the standard ones of each action platform, so in addition to the basic jump we have a button to attack and one to parry. The number of damage dealt or the type of additional shield resistances changes depending on the equipment. You can also perform a special attack by holding down the left trigger and pressing the attack button, which simply does more damage.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World it is therefore a game that it works, it can entertain fans and is also suitable for a younger audience, but a whole series of aspects cannot be ignored in the review. The first, as mentioned above, is the fact that it is a game from another era and therefore stripped of a real depth of gameplay. It goes a little beyond the ABC of action platforms, which makes it an enjoyable but certainly not mind-blowing game. If we compared it to the Shantae series, which started out as spiritual reboot of the Wonder Boy 4 original, would not hold the comparison even with the first chapters of the latter. An abyss in terms of depth, variety of situations and above all of boss fights, as well as a significant difference in content if we consider that Asha in Monster World is finished in less than 4 hours. Longevity that wouldn’t even be a big deal per se, however it is being sold to 35 euros, a really excessive cost. For more details on the game itself, we recommend that you take a look at the review of the console version. Let’s now talk about the real sore point of the game, namely the porting done for PC.
A pleasant technical sector but not without problems
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World presents a fluctuating graphics sector, with characters and creatures pleasant to see and background of the settings from the PS2 era. Paradoxically, play Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World on PC, which is the version analyzed in this one review, it is detrimental if you do it in 4k on a monitor of a certain size, as was done in our test. The texture gods background in fact they do not climb like those of the characters, creating a qualitative difference that is not ideal. The graphic details are not editable, you can only change the resolution, so scalability is almost totally absent. Much better the sound sector, pleasant and never out of context.
Disastrous the controls side. Not so much because they are badly calibrated or badly positioned on the pad, but it is not permissible to do a PC port that it does not support the use of mouse and keyboard. It is neither acceptable nor tolerable, because a basic PC can be used without any pad and it is not obvious to have it. There are people who have not even bought it to play Dark Souls, which with a little practice is also playable with a mouse and keyboard, let alone if they would buy it for a action platform so basic. Obviously on the Steam page only support is specified for the game gamepad (God forbid), but it is not a justification. It would be like saying a game for PlayStation 5 cannot be played with Dualsense or a Switch game prevents the use of Joy-Con. One thing is that it is not very optimal to use a mouse and keyboard, as for a racing game for example, another is that it cannot be done a priori. Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World as a review in general it would have another vote, however this is an analysis of the PC port therefore, in light of the technical problems and above all of the porting conception, these aspects must also be taken into account.