Over 25 years after the original release of Monster World IV, the cult classic 2D action-platformer has been remade for modern consoles. Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World keeps the style and charm of the original, while updating the game to feature cel-shaded, 3D visuals. The game looks gorgeous, thanks to the eye-popping colours and bouncy animations. Even the soundtrack and sound effects have been updated for modern audiences.
The game stars Asha as she and her pet Pepelogoo explore the interconnected world to find the four Elemental Spirits in each temple. From the temple designs to the main town, each part of the world is well designed with great puzzles and plenty of secrets to discover. Asha has access to a sword and shield, both of which can be upgraded with money found in the game. She can also purchase bangles that can extend her maximum health when equipped. Meanwhile, Pepelogoo allows Asha to double jump, glide, and is even used as a puzzle solving tool. This combination of traditional RPG and platforming elements blends together to create a fun, but simple to grasp adventure.
Asha in Monster World’s biggest fault, however, comes in the updated save system. In the original game, the ability to save was locked behind the Sage of Save, a man who is located in several spots across the game. Saving would create a checkpoint next to the sage, who would then allow you to resume from that point if you died. While the sage is still located throughout the game in the remake, he no longer acts as a save point. Instead, you’re able to save at any time from the menu. While this is certainly more convenient, the absence of an auto-save makes it so that you will need to be constantly saving every few minutes in order to prevent yourself from losing all of your progress if you die. This ultimately kills the pace of the game, and is a major blemish on an otherwise fantastic remake.
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is a fantastic remake. While the save system feels as though it is painfully stuck in the past, every other aspect of the game is lovingly remade. For newcomers and longtime fans alike, this is a great adventure that you will certainly fall in love with.