I guess it depends on your age, but I’m sure a lot of gamers have the same memories I do – curled up on the couch or the bed under a blanket, clutching a Gameboy or Gameboy colour or Gameboy pocket decked in whatever colour best represented you. The graphics, until a time, were black and white, but that didn’t stop it from being a magical adventure into another world. Specifically, I remember playing Pokemon. It wasn’t the only monster catching game in the world – I’ve since learned that there’s a long tradition of them – but it was the one that caught us all up here in the US during my childhood. We learned which creatures were strong or weak against which others and worked to build teams to show off to our friends. It’s a feeling that I never really thought anything could recapture in 2019, as the world becomes ever-more-digital and graphics ramp up in colour and detail.
Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised when I received a copy of Disc Creatures to check out and review. Developed by Picorinne Soft and published by Dangen Entertainment, Disc Creatures feels 100% like pulling out a Gameboy, in the best of ways. The nostalgic graphics and catchy 8-bit music are a lovely step back to the 90s that should catch your eye if you were fond of any monster catching games – and given Pokemon’s popularity, this should be an area that hits nostalgic buttons for a lot of us.
As a sidenote, I want to be clear that while Disc Creatures is inspired by classic monster catching RPGs, it’s definitely got its own feel, story, and charm. Pokemon, I think, is the most popular thing that I can mention to give people an idea of what to expect, but Disc Creatures is a new game all its own, which is the best part. With new creatures to learn and a fun, chapter-based story to adventure through, it’s a fresh, new experience, wrapped up in just enough nostalgia.
Starting off in your hometown, today is the day that you – YOU! – will become a Disc Ranger (DiscR) for short. Trek over to city hall, sign the agreement, and prepare to pick your three starter creatures. With the world around you opened up, you’ll start to hear about different rumors and stories that guide you to your next step. First up? There’s a creepy cabin in the woods that might just be haunted… time to investigate!
I really enjoy the Disc Creatures story – there are lots of elements of mystery that are fun to explore and uncover. To make it even better, creatures can talk and interact with you. Not all do, but occasionally you’ll run into some in town or in the forest, or you’ll learn the motives of a creature currently playing the villain. It’s a touch that makes the world just a little cooler to explore as you investigate the relationships between creatures and humans.
You’ll gain discs for creatures sometimes when you fight them, though you can use items to make it faster and more likely. You’ll also build experience by running into other DiscRs along the way and battling them. You can have a max team of 3, which you’ll have from the start when you choose 3 out of 5 options at town hall. Of course, every type has its strengths and weaknesses, and Disc Creatures really highlights this.
It also features a fairly high learning curve, in my opinion. In particular I found myself struggling a little with a 3-wave challenge that asks you to pick one specific type of creature to fight against – one wave was fine, and two was doable as well, but by the third I was realizing that I needed either a stronger team, higher levels, or a better understanding of the game.
Fortunately, while you dont have endless randomized encounters, you can leave an area to refresh the creatures wandering it. If youre struggling to move forward, it makes it pretty easy to grind it out. You can also really easily switch out moves for your creatures – a feature which I loved!
While I love the soundtrack and the sound effects that immediately bring me back to childhood, I do have to comment that the game is really, really, really loud. I had to turn it down more than 50% when it made me nearly jump out of my chair on startup. However, that aside, Disc Creatures features a soundtrack as charmingly nostalgic as its graphics, and great sound effects as well. There were times I found myself opening it while working on something else, just so I could listen to the background music. The graphics are also polished and colourful, while maintaining that “back in the 90s” aesthetic. As a package, it reminds me of childhood, in the best of ways.
If you’re looking for something fun and nostalgic to play, Disc Creatures is a great bet – it’s a perfect reminder of the days of our favourite Gameboy games, while still being fresh, new and fun. Check it out!