REVIEW: The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

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Denpa Men Title: The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave
Publisher: Genius Sonority
Developer: Genius Sonority
Console: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: September 27th, 2012
Genre: RPG
Rating: E

When it comes to RPGs on the eShop, you’ve been pretty much stuck with either the older games on the VC like The Sword of Hope II or had to settle for the Mystic Quest-esque Planet Crashers.  As much as I like Sword of Hope II and can at least laugh at Planet Crashers, it still felt like a good RPG was missing.

Enter The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave, a unique RPG developed by Genius Sonority (developers behind Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon Trozei).  The game was developed to take advantage of the Augmented Reality function in the 3DS.  It was also designed to be different depending on where in the world you were (or at least where in relation to radio waves you were).

Were they successful?  Let’s find out.


Up until this point, we have had basic games on the AR cards that demonstrated Augmented Reality.  We’ve even seen it in used as a sort of mini-game area in certain games like Kid Icarus: Uprising.  But this may be the first that Augmented Reality has been important to the plot of a game.

The “original” Denpa Man, hard at work.

You start the game with one Denpa Man, a figure that kind of looks like the Prince of All Cosmos from the Katamari series.  He asks you to round up some other Denpa Men so that you can save his girl.  You get these other Denpa Men by capturing them during the Augmented Reality portion of the game.

What types of Denpa Men you get will depend on where you are in the world, or at least in relation to radio waves.  When I was at home, I could only catch white and black Denpa Men.  Out at a park, there were orange and green Denpa Men.  At a store, I got blues and reds.  And about a half hour away from where I live, I encountered multi-colored Denpa Men.  I may have to try it out at an even longer distance someday to see if I can get any different versions than what I found.

Denpa Men Battle

“Katamari, do your be…” Wait! Wrong game.

Battling in this game is fairly simple.  It’s a turn based battle system where you can either order each character individually, put them on auto-pilot for the turn, or order them to attack without using their skills.  For the most part, you can get by ordering in mass.  However, if a turn comes around where you absolutely need a specific Denpa Men to either use a skill on an item, you can order that particular one and then continue with the mass orders.

Dying is also interesting in this game.  When all your Denpa Men get wiped out, they all return to the space where you found them.  However, if you can’t remember where you found them, you can always go to the shrine to bring back your lost Denpa Men for an offering (an item you buy at the Shop).

Another inclusion that I liked was that of teleporters in dungeons.  Now, you can get teleporters as items in the game but the ones I liked the most were those that naturally appeared in each dungeon.  You could use them to go back to the main island (Digitoll) and return at that exact teleporter.  It was a great way to prepare for the bosses (which you will need to do no matter how much experience you earn).

The music wasn’t anything too special but fit well with each stage.  I did like the main battle theme, as well as the instrumentation of the score.


Denpa Men AdventureThe graphics were good overall.  However, I had an issue with the 3D effect.  Similar to my experience with Rhythm Thief, I felt that it didn’t really add much outside of the battle sequences.  I would recommend keeping off for everything (especially during the AR part) except for battle.

I also had an issue with the difficulty in this game.  For the most part, you can cruise through the game.  However, there was a boss in the second half of the game that just came out of nowhere in terms of difficulty.  Pretty much up until this point, bosses in the game were fairly easy to defeat.  But, even with proper planning, this particularly boss is a pain and will require some grinding through the dungeon to be able to beat.

And then there is the last boss.  With the right planning, this guy is incredibly easy, possibly the easiest in the game.  Rather anti-climactic.


Denpa Men Real Life

This was a very well put together game.  The concept was good.  The execution was even better.  There were a couple of issues that I had but they pretty much can get tossed out.

And did I mention that Denpa Men is $9.99 on the eShop?  It’s a good value.

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave will take about 15 hours to complete the main story and even more to explore the rest of the game afterward.  And by the time you’re done with the game, you’ll probably feel like playing Katamari Damacy afterwards.  Or maybe just singing “Katamari on the Rocks” will suffice.

Or perhaps you’ll dress up like Vlad the Impaler and sing about Russia…

…in German.

Review Score

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave is available now in North America and was developed and published by Genius Sonority.  The game is rated E for Everyone.

The see more, check out The Denpa Men home page.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.