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Denpa Men 2: Beyond the Wave

Genius Sonority’s second effort is a slightly more cohesive take on the first. Denpa Men 2: Beyond the Wave attempts to meld the novel diversion of last year’s They Came by Wave with more influence from the developer’s prior work on Earthbound, Pokemon, and Dragon Quest entries. The title’s lineage as a subversive character training game with a dungeon crawling core is well founded then but it’s often living in the past.

Mostly, if you wanted more Denpa Men, then here’s a much longer one of those. It’s stretched out with a world map and a broad range of locations. There’s not a lot of meat and the length hasn’t been padded by substantial quality content.

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It’s quantity over quality with the execution never matching the novelty of the uniquely bizarre concept. Empty multiplayer challenges and StreetPass features are in. Fishing and planting bits derived from Animal Crossing are tossed together but only vaguely add to the adventure in contrived ways. Capturing the creatures remains awkward in practice. The embarrassing gyroscope controls reduce the central premise of team-building through exploring new public spaces. It’s a very limited game if few connections are available but it’s probably safe to assume healthy internet access with a downloadable title.

It’s no bad game and it’s easy to excuse some shortcomings for the budget value. There’s still an appeal to the elemental battle and limitless diversity that can build out a team. It’s mostly pigment and antennae swaps but there’s enough potential to train a strong group with all different attributes. No one team will be alike. Automated combat makes the absurdly overlong game both easier to get through and mind numbing in the lack of interaction. This allows it to be one of the most accessible dungeon crawlers. It’s too bad Beyond the Wave’s such a chore that only the most committed will finish.

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As with their past work, Genius Sonority has interesting ideas that regularly get in their own way. Denpa Men 2: Beyond the Wave’s no different and the iteration never comes together. It makes only a bit of forward progress with eShop’s limitations putting strain on the potential. They came by wave and so they went.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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