TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Monster Hunter Stories’

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Monster Hunter Stories
Jeez, what a week for premium ports and big-name game releases, am I right? Amongst all this excitement there has been one game I haven’t been able to tear myself away from, and that is Marvelous and Capcom’s Monster Hunter Stories ($19.99). Originally released on the 3DS in Japan in October of 2016, it finally made its way to 3DS gamers outside of Japan just shy of a year later in September of last year. Then the following December, the game was ported to iOS and Android devices, but again only in Japan. Dang it! Well here we are about nine months after that and finally folks outside of Japan can experience Monster Hunter Stories on their mobile device. And what an experience it has been.

So I know the Monster Hunter games have a cult following on a bunch of platforms, including the excellent Monster Hunter Freedom Unite ($14.99) port on iOS, but try as I might I could just never get into the series. And that’s not uncommon as the Monster Hunter games have a notoriously difficult learning curve that is supposedly hugely rewarding for those who take the time to get into it. I just never got to that point. So even when Monster Hunter Stories made its mobile debut in Japan last year, I found it hard to get excited. I figured it was just another Monster Hunter game that I’d try but fail to enjoy.
Boy was I wrong. That’s kind of the beauty of Monster Hunter Stories, it’s a spinoff title set in the Monster Hunter universe but not a mainline game. This means rather than a huge open world, an incredibly deep crafting system, and real-time monster battling, Monster Hunter Stories is more in line with a traditional RPG. That means it’s more linear, the battling is turn-based, and instead of being a monster hunter you’re actually a monster rider, which is a person who hatches monsters from eggs and develops kinships with them in order to ride them and use them in battle. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll certainly hunt down and kill all sorts of monsters here, but your main purpose is seeking out monsters to collect and ride.
Ok I’ll just come out and say it: This is Pokemon: Monster Hunter Edition, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The world is incredibly colorful and the graphics look amazing on mobile screens that are much higher resolution than the poor 3DS. It’s also a very friendly game to Monster Hunter newcomers, and I am evidence of that. While not quite the same as a traditional Monster Hunter game I have instantly fallen in love with Monster Hunter Stories and could see it leading to me finally cracking the nut that is the more hardcore games in the series. That might be a while as there’s MANY hours of gaming to do here first, but at least my foot is in the door.

Perhaps best of all is that Monster Hunter Stories has a free demo available to try that’ll easily give you a few hours of gameplay on its own, and if you like it and dive into the full paid game it will transfer all of your progress and items over with no trouble. The full game will set you back twenty bucks, and some people might even say that’s way too expensive for a mobile game, but those people are wrong. It’s not often we get games that feature this much content and are as high quality as Monster Hunter Stories, and with the free demo MHST The Adventure Begins there is absolutely no reason not to give this one a try, and if you enjoy it this should be the easiest twenty dollars you’ve ever spent.