|Dev: Genius Sonority Inc.|
|Release: September 27, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Fantasy Violence|
by Jenni Lada
I think The "Denpa" Men: They Came By Wave has crept inside my head. I find myself looking differently at the men around me, wondering how they'd look if they slapped on a full bodysuit in flashy colors, put an antenna on their head and perhaps wrapped their face in saran wrap. Yeah, that would be an awesome look.
Honestly, that isn't too far a departure from one of the game's selling points. This is an incredibly quirky RPG from Genius Sonority, a company known for Pokémon spin-offs, that involves scouring your vicinity for invisible men with smooshy faces and the worst fashion sense ever so they can move into your 3DS and help your local "Denpa" Man in a not-so-epic quest.
The adventure begins with one lone "Denpa" Man. His name/bodysuit color doesn't matter, as he's always some random individual with the Revive ability that desperately needs your assistance. He lives in the 3DS and normally wouldn't ask for anything, but the King of Evil did a little kidnapping and someone important to this particular "Denpa" Man was the victim. This means you'll have to go through some dungeons to prepare a crew of "Denpa" Men, climbing the King of Evil's tower and performing a major rescue operation.
Let's start with the absolute best part of the game, the "Denpa" catching. "Denpa" Men ride the radio waves. Translation: Your 3DS searches for WiFi signals and when some are picked up, your 3DS camera reveals the "Denpa" Men and they show up on the upper screen as well as some cross-hairs. You then have to move the 3DS around to follow the one you'd like to capture, pressing A at the correct moment to launch a net and recruit a new partner.
This is not as easy as it sounds, as the best ones don't seem like they want to be caught. There are various types of "Denpa" Men. All have body color that designates their elemental affinities and about half have antennae. An antenna is a visual indicator of a "Denpa" Man's special skill, which could allow him to unleash a special attack, a debuff, a buff, or some sort of healing technique. Very rarely, a shining "Denpa" Man will appear on screen, which means he'll either have better physical stats or a rare antenna skill.
The holy grail is a multicolor "Denpa" Man with a striped bodysuit and healthy glow, as these are strong against two elements and have a special skill. As you can guess, the better the "Denpa" Man, the more elusive he is. The antenna-less ones in black or white suits are ridiculously common, while the striped and glowing "Denpa" Men are constantly moving and have a habit of only appearing momentarily to tease you before evaporating.
Basically, this game has a bit of that "gotta catch 'em all" mentality that compels you to scour your neighborhood searching for new party members. Even though it earned me a number of strange looks, I couldn't resist pulling my 3DS out in high traffic areas to see if I could find a new friend. Once you realize there are abilities that can influence all enemies or all allies, it's easy to get caught up in the search for every one.
I'd almost say that this searching aspect makes up for the less appealing aspect of The "Denpa" Men: They Came By Wave. Once you've recruited your "Denpa" Men, you send them through various dungeons to level them up so they'll be prepared to enter the King of Evil's tower and take part in the ultimate battle. Since that means reaching at least level 15, it means you'll spend a lot of time roaming around, searching for enemy encounters. They're easy to find, as enemies can be seen wandering around both on the top screen and as red dots on the bottom screen's map.