The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave|
I have to say that I’m coming across some rather interesting game experiences since I’ve started playing with my 3DS again recently. The latest is a funny little download title called The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about this about this Pikmin crossed with Mii characters based RPG. Don’t let the overly cute cover of the game fool you though. There is actually a bit of depth to The “Denpa” Men.
You are first introduced to a singular Denpa via the use of the augmented reality features and the 3DS’ camera. It is through this being that you learn that are many more of its kind around us out there in the real world. Each of these color coded beings is unique in their own way and some are more special than others as you will soon find out. The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave does have a story involving an evil being holding a someone “special” to your Denpa but that is almost forgettable.
Your own special Denpa that has decided to take up residence in your 3Ds will set you on your way to the Evil Tower. Unfortunately, you can’t take on the monsters in your way alone. There are two main play systems found in The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave. The first is the camera-involved augmented reality sessions that are activated by visiting the Antenna Tower. Denpa Men can be found around radio waves particularly Wi-Fi hotspots such as your home network and you can attempt to capture them with the use of virtual nets. Using the camera you can look around to find these elusive characters in the safety of your home or around your favorite haunts.
One of the cool things is that the same Denpa Men are not found in every location. This makes the prospect of taking your 3DS with you and finding new and even rare ones all the more enticing. I took my 3DS out into the field to test out my capturing skills and I’m happy to say that the system actually works pretty well, For those that know about the 3DS’ potential, there may be a little uneasiness about using augmented reality in public due to other people misinterpretations of what is happening while you’re seeking out new Denpa Men. The people at Genius Sonority have this angle covered however with the press of a button or screen. Pressing X or the accompanying touch screen button while in the Antenna Tower with disable the outer camera and throw up a green screen of sorts to allay any fears from other passer byes.
Getting the hunting for Denpa portion of the game out the way, leads you into the second play style of the game with the RPG elements. Now I love RPGs and actually found this to be my favorite part. Players will take the Denpa that they have captured and selected into their field team via your own personal Denpa house. You can capture as many of the Denpa as you want but you can only have so many in your party at once. This available number increases however as you get further into the game. By limiting the number of Denpa in your party you have to use a bit of strategy on which ones you want or need to take along.
Each Denpa is unique and has certain abilities or affinities such as a red garbed one being proficient in fire and fire resistance. Denpa with antenna on their heads are even more powerful than ones without. As you control these characters and lead them into battle they gain experience with every victory. The combat mechanics of The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave is that of the familiar turn based variety of old. While I was expecting the traditional one person attacking at a time method that I’m accustomed with, I was surprised by seeing pretty much every party member wailing into my foes at once. You still select each party member’s attack or ability but the outcome is actually pretty cool. For those that don’t really want to deal with the tedium of battle there is an Auto select option in which the party will do its own thing.
Like any good RPG, your characters gain levels by gaining experience as well as have the ability to wear stat altering items and clothing. These items can be bought in The Shop or by finding them on defeated enemies and treasure chests. In combat you can use items such as potions or the abilities of your party such as Tiny Heal or Revive. This is another reason to plan your teams before venturing off into battle. No matter what characters you choose to bring along every one that you have in your Denpa House gains experience too. One of the interesting things about The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave is that there are areas around the main island that have recommended player levels attached to them. You can venture to any of them though you do so at your own peril.
When describing the style of The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave, I would have to say that the characters are deceptively cute in their colorfully attire. While you may think that they are more like the Teletubbies they are actually quite smart and remember if you get them killed. The world they inhabit is actually quite pretty and one of the better ones that I’ve seen on the 3DS. You start off by visiting a torch lit cavern maze called the Digitoll Cave, but after a while you get to visit forests and lava filled terrains. Each are nicely detailed with little effects such as leaves, fire embers and even light particles and well as ambient lighting. The audio that accompanies the visuals is also quite good and rather fitting for this adventure. The music that plays out in the main hub is very cheerful but venture to one of the other locations and you’re treated to music that is a little more sinister. I have to say that the most interesting audio is the almost creepy “ghost hunting” vibe when capturing Denpa Men to aid you.
The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave is an interesting title that has a pretty definite Japanese feel to it. This augmented reality RPG hybrid was actually a rather enjoyable experience that shouldn’t be missed due to the deceptive characters seen in Nintendo eShop store. If you like Pikmin or kooky characters dressed in colored one piece suits then I definitely recommend The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave exclusively for the 3DS.