5 Reasons to Hype Up Monster Menu: The Scavenger’s Cookbook

Monster Menu: The Scavenger’s Cookbook is one of NIS America’s upcoming RPGs, but what makes it a game to be excited about? We decided to pick five reasons for it to be one game release we don’t want to miss this year.

A unique mix of genres

From the get-go, Monster Menu seems to be a unique experience from its genre experimentation alone. The game’s concept revolves around a group of adventures exploring the Sealed Lands but getting stuck there. As such, the player will now have to do their best to survive the harsh environment of the dungeon and get out.

Players have to explore multiple floors in a dungeon-crawling format. They’re free to move around and gather resources, which will be necessary as the game has a survival element, which should demand players to avoid starvation and dehydration.

However, this is a dungeon, so the place is teeming with monsters. Once the player touches one of them, the game enters a grid-based tactical RPG format. This change of gears with multiple systems coming together has the potential to make it a unique game.

Tactical combat means strategic opportunities

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Once the player enters battle, a unit order list will include enemies and allies. The character’s speed determines who goes first. However, players can influence this system by hitting the enemy from behind, making the party units go first. Enemies can also do the same, so it’s better to avoid being ambushed by them.

Expect positioning to significantly impact battles, especially for the game’s Joint Attack, a system reminiscent of the Disgaea series. Having a specific enemy within the range of multiple allies will allow them to gang on the foe and give it a beating.

Not fighting on an empty stomach

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Manga readers may know of a title called Delicious in Dungeon, with multiple volumes published in English by Yen Press since 2017. There, the young adventurer Laios decides to use monsters as supplies to stave off hunger, coming up with new recipes and finding a promising way to solve their food stock issue.

One of the pillars of Monster Menu is cooking the ingredients you forage in the dungeon and eating. Depending on what you have in hand and your characters’ skills, the recipes can lead to various stats boosts besides restoring Calories, a resource necessary for actions.

A few recipes may be gross, including graphic elements like bugs and stuff meant to indicate grotesque pickings. However, the game includes a censoring option for the faint of heart. Just toggle the option off if you can’t take it, and it’ll show a censored bar instead.

A party of your own

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A relevant feature of Monster Menu is character customization. The Character Builder includes face, hairstyle, height, voice, personality, and animations. There are some accessories to pick from and colors to make them distinct if you decide to make two similar characters.

Players can also choose their party units’ classes, which leads to different weapon affinities and special skills. Choices include the offense-oriented Swordwielders and Berserkers, Mages that can exploit weak points, Chefs highly skilled at cooking meals, and even a jack-of-all-trades Jobless.

A rogue-lite experience

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Your mileage may vary on this one but like Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, Monster Menu is a rogue-lite experience. Make a single mistake, and you’re back to the beginning at level 1 if your leader dies. This risk should add a sense of danger to every encounter making exploration about learning your limits and when best to cook something to be on top of your game.

Each Boss you defeat adds a new traveling point (altar) in the dungeon, meaning you can keep going from there. You may lose your levels and materials, but recipes, equipment, and skills will remain, meaning you’re always one step closer to the goal of leaving the dungeon.

Monster Menu: The Scavenger’s Cookbook is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on May 23, 2023. Pre-orders for the game’s physical editions, including a limited version with various goodies, are open on NISA Online Store, Amazon, and their other retail partners.

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.