Mon-Yu Review – How to Recycle a DRPG

    Title: Mon-Yu
    Developer: Experience
    Release Date: September 21, 2023
    Reviewed On: PS5
    Publisher: Aksys Games
    Genre: Dungeon-Crawler RPG

Mon-Yu is the latest Dungeon RPG (DRPG) developed by Experience, and the game’s subtitle essentially summarizes its core elements: “Defeat Monsters And Acquire Powerful Weapons And Armor. You Might Face Defeats, But Never Surrender. Strive to Grow Stronger. I Have Faith That One Day, Heroes Will Overcome the Devil King.”

In essence, this encapsulates the entire game. It indeed reflects the common features found in most first-person dungeon-crawler RPGs. However, Mon-Yu appears to offer only the bare minimum, giving the impression of cost-effective recycling of assets and systems that the developer already had in their library. The game’s production and presentation come across as budget-oriented, making it challenging to justify its retail price, especially when superior RPGs with higher production values are available at lower costs. While Experience has a history of developing games on a limited budget, their latest effort appears to epitomize minimal effort.

The game lacks a substantial premise or storyline. While the developer’s games have often been intentionally vague, they usually maintain a sense of atmosphere, mystery, and thematic consistency. In the case of Mon-Yu, it presents a chaotic mix of themes, monsters, backgrounds, and artwork that lacks coherence. It almost feels as if an unsupervised intern had access to a level editor. One redeeming aspect is the relatively good quality of the music.

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To be fair, the game is functional and proficient where it matters. However, it adheres closely to the basic expectations of a DRPG. While there is a greater emphasis on leveling up equipment, the core gameplay revolves around repetitive dungeon exploration and combat, a formula that has been extensively explored in the genre. Although there are a few interesting mechanics, such as better loot for swift battle completion, the overall experience remains unremarkable and inconsequential.

That said, it’s not a broken game by any means. However, one particularly frustrating aspect is the erratic and persistent RNG (Random Number Generator) mechanics. Missing with a special move tends to result in continued misses, and the escape command often proves futile, forcing players to endure unnecessary battles.

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While the gameplay loop can be satisfying after defeating a challenging boss, the lack of world-building and variety makes it feel monotonous and purposeless. Fortunately, there are some quality-of-life features, such as an easier difficulty setting and the ability to revive in town when the party is wiped out. Nevertheless, the game predominantly involves repetitive grinding without a clear purpose.

I wish there was more to the game that allowed it to stand out in the sea of other dungeon-crawlers from this developer, but the experience, no pun intended, doesn’t offer any memorable systems. Sure, the illustrations are cute, and the game is functional, but the enjoyment factor is limited to just that. Nothing about the story or the characters leaves any lasting impression, so you’re left inching the plot along through simple dungeon designs. I wanted this to be the dungeon crawler to consume my winter, but I guess I’ll just return to dumping more hours into Undernauts.

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Mon-Yu as a Dungeon RPG, is functional but exceedingly basic. There are more compelling games from the same developer and numerous other titles in the genre worth exploring. The game appears to rely heavily on recycled assets and systems, resulting in a rudimentary gaming experience. To reiterate the essence of the game:

“Defeat Monsters And Acquire Powerful Weapons And Armor. You Might Face Defeats, But Never Surrender. Strive to Grow Stronger. I Have Faith That One Day, Heroes Will Overcome the Devil King.”

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jahanzeb Khan

Old SEGA games will go up in value... you'll see!