Monster Farm POP Impressions
We spend a few relaxing moments with Tecmo's mobile virtual-life game.
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Like Real: Another Episode, Monster Farm POP is a game that's been brewed up by Tecmo Lab to introduce an existing Tecmo property to the mobile space. This camera-driven confection isn't quite as original as Real--but in this case, that's the whole point.
Veterans of Tecmo's Monster Rancher series won't have any trouble acclimating to this version's gameplay, which has the same sort of virtual-life focus as the rest of the games. The twist is that you can now use your phone's camera to create original monsters from scratch. If you take a picture of a predominantly green object, for instance, Monster Farm POP will spit out a brand-new ducklike organism. Your job is to mold this entry-level monster into a fearsome combatant via a systematic regimen of exercise, rest, punishment, and reward. True martinets might make their monsters hit the weight room or perform calisthenics to boost their fighting strength, but if you're in need of comic relief, you can also order your charge to dodge giant, swinging logs, which will usually punt him or her into the horizon.
Once you've satisfactorily prepared your monster, you can pit him or her against CPU-controlled creatures to gain prestige and experience. Unfortunately, Monster Farm POP lacks network connectivity, so you won't be able to challenge your friends' monsters to a quick bout. Despite this deficiency, we were impressed by the game's great number of monster management options, as well as its nifty 3D graphics. Your monster is fully articulated and has a wide range of behaviors, which may include mooning you or taking an unscheduled nap.
No details are yet available on the possibility of an overseas release for Monster Farm POP, although we hope that mobile monster farming will soon be legalized in the US.
For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.