The Denpa Men 3: Rise of the Digtoll

Rick is a hero. To many, he may seem like a bit of a playboy, but underneath his silly beard, his single carefree lock of hair, and his onesie get-up, he's a silent saviour too humble to ever ask for thanks.

Rick, with his minor-heal ability, saved my party more times than I can count. Whenever someone was on the ropes, Rick was there to fix them up and make them whole.

Unfortunately, following a vicious, unexpected attack, there were casualties, and in a heartbeat, Rick was no longer with us. His goodwill and pure selfless spirit couldn't outrun death, and now, Rick is no more than a memory - a message of hope for future generations.

I mean, I could have paid to have him resurrected to fight another day, but I ended up spending the money I'd saved on some seeds for my garden. Oh well.

The denpa boys are coming

The "Denpa" Men 3: Rise of the Digtoll often feels like a cameo of Nintendo's greatest hits. It has a combat system comparable to Pokémon, the adventure element of The Legend of Zelda, the town-building aspect of Animal Crossing, and linking it all together is an art style reminiscent of Pikmin.

It's peculiar, to say the least, but beyond Denpa Men's whimsical and cutesy exterior is an RPG to lose yourself in. If you don't mind borrowed ideas that don't compete with what they're emulating, it's easy to succumb to the game's charm.

The game starts with you capturing four denpas, although 'kidnapping' is the preferred term. Capture-napping is performed through the use of the 3DS's camera. You use your 3DS to scour the real world, and then, when a denpa takes your fancy, you fire a net at them and they're transported into your care.

Once you have a party of four - which can later be increased - it's off to the nearest cave to experience some combat, which is as simplistic as it gets, without ever being patronising.

Walk the denpa-saur

Combat is carried out via a series of intuitive in-game options. You can attack with just brute force, or a mix of brute force with either special attacks or potions. Furthermore, each denpa can be equipped with different abilities such as healing, magic, or the ability to capture enemies and summon them.

For the first few hours, the combat is largely satisfying, and watching a mob of denpa mug enemies then leg it back to safety never fails to raise a smile.

However, after a few rounds of combat, you've experienced everything the game has to offer in that department. It never gets to the point where you'll become sick of it, but you'll start to feel as though you're going through the motions.

More annoyingly, if your lead denpa dies you're transported back to town. Meaning if you're in the wilderness and an enemy downs your lead but the rest of the team annihilates said enemy, you've got to traverse the area from the start. Combine that with enemies that attack you from a mile away, and it's all a bit frustrating.

Sweet home Aladenpa

On the plus side, there's a lot to do when a break's needed from pummelling enemies senseless. In the central town, you can plant seeds and nurture plants. It's nothing groundbreaking (PUN!), but harvesting plants gives you something to sell, which subsequently allows you to buy new abilities, items, and furniture.

Oh yes, you can totally pimp out your own pad, money pending obviously. It's all very Animal Crossing in that way -there's a house, which is viewed from an isometric perspective, in which you can place/move furniture and change the wallpaper and carpet.

Okay, let's do the comparison bit: if you assess everything Denpa Men 3 has to offer separately, then it comes across as a very average game. It's no Pokémon. It's no Animal Crossing.

But it combines pale imitations of those games to good effect, adding up to a whole that's more than the sum of its parts.

The Denpa Men 3: Rise of the Digtoll

The Denpa Men 3 is as surreal as it is enjoyable. If you've been waiting for an RPG to lose yourself in, The Denpa Men 3 is sure to scratch that itch
Score