Shin Megami Tensei: DemiKids Light Version

When Nintendo unleashed its popular monster-capturing RPG series Pokémon, it was only natural for there to be imitators. Among the franchises that released so-called “Pokémon clones” were the Dragon Quest franchise with its Dragon Quest Monster subseries and Megami Tensei with its Devil Children spinoffs. One should note, however, Dragon Quest and Megami Tensei featured monster-capturing long before the first Pokémon game came out, so one could safely say that Pokémon actually ripped off those franchises instead. Like most Pokémon generations, the Devil Children games for the GameBoy Advance saw their release in a pair, receiving the Bowdlerized moniker of DemiKids, in Light and Dark Versions. Shin Megami Tensei: DemiKids Light Version is for the most part a solid spinoff, aimed at younger audiences unlike main entries of the Megami Tensei franchise.

Upon starting a new game, the player’s character, Jin, receives a feline demon, Rand, who always fights with him in battle. The player also receives two storage banks into which they can put three demons each, with one from each, totaling three active demons, fighting in battle against an enemy party of up to three enemy demons. Encounters are random, with the player receiving several options upon commencing a battle, such as manually inputting commands for Rand and his two allies, letting them automatically attack the enemy or repeat their last manual commands, escaping, attempting to negotiate with demons to get them to join the party, or using combo attacks, which are somewhat hard to discover, with this reviewer never seeing any in action during his game.

Once the player has inputted commands for their demons, they and the enemy demons beat each other up in a round, with turn order either random or depending upon agility. Skill animations can somewhat drag out battle, although fortunately, the player can turn them off; even so, battles could have still been somewhat faster with or without animations, although fights still don’t normally take too long. As mentioned, the player can negotiate with demons to get them to join the party, although in most instances it’s typically a crapshoot as to which negotiation options work best since specific choices sometimes work and at other times fail against the same demons.

Outside battle, the player can fuse demons to create more powerful demons, or fuse them with Rand to increase his stats, and occasionally, his level. Rand also evolves to become more powerful at specific points during the game; players can also fuse items with demons to add to their skill sets. Ultimately, the battle system works decently, with a relatively easy level of difficulty, especially compared to other Megami Tensei games, with only some minor problems with things such as switching demons in the middle of battle and the sluggish pace at times even with spell animations turned off.

The game’s control scheme is decent for the most part, with easy menus and shopping, not to mention buyable maps of areas, although there is the problem of needing to place a demon in the player’s party in order to fuse it, and there are a few instances where players will wonder where to go next. Still, the game interfaces well with the player.

The story isn’t anything special, focusing on a rebel group’s crusade against an evil emperor, which has played part in many other RPGs, although the localization is mostly solid in spite of some occasional compressed spell names.

Like other Megami Tensei titles, the soundtrack is good, with plenty of catchy tunes, although the GameBoy Advance’s somewhat weak aural quality doesn’t do most of them justice, and the sound effects are limited.

The graphics are nice and colorful, with character sprites able to face diagonally, along with nice character and monster art, although demons in battle are inanimate. Still, a decent-looking game.

Finally, the game is fairly short, taking a little less than twenty hours to complete, with not much in the way of replay value or lasting appeal. Overall, DemiKids Light Version is for the most part a solid
Pokémon imitator, with its solid gameplay shining the most, although it has some issues in the way of its story. Even so, it’s still better than the worst Megami Tensei titles, although it definitely isn’t the best.

The Good:
+Capturing, fusing, and battling demons can be fun.
+Solid localization.
+Good soundtrack and art.

The Bad:
-Some interface issues.
-Generic story.
-Not much replay value.

The Bottom Line:
Not the best Megami Tensei game, but definitely better than the worst.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: GameBoy Advance
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Localization: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 5/10
Difficulty: Easy
Playing Time: Less than 20 Hours

Overall: 7/10

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