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REVIEW | Small Heroes Have Big Adventure In Third “Denpa Men”

Posted on May 26, 2014 AT 09:38am

You may find gamers out in the open spinning around with their 3DS handhelds, as if they’re looking for something. Perhaps they’re trying to find the right angle for a pic, or they could be trying to add more StreetPass credits. They could be like me, however, and be on the search for mysterious creatures that live within the radio waves. These creatures are the focus of their own handheld gaming series: The Denpa Men. This month the third game in the series made its arrival, bringing forth another dose of adorable fun and surprisingly grand RPG mechanics: The Denpa Men 3: The Rise of Digitoll.

You start out the game with an introduction from one of the Denpa Men, who has come to you with a bit of a problem. One of his friends has been kidnapped, and it’s up to you to gather more Denpa Men and go on a quest to rescue her. In order to capture some allies you must use your 3DS camera and run around the area you are in order to grab them (hence why you may see some people in public acting crazy with their Nintendo handhelds). Once you gather your Denpa Men you then set off in a journey filled with dangerous creatures and terrain. If you own the previous two Denpa Men games you can transfer those characters into this one, as well as collect special Denpa Men via QR codes.

Like most RPGs the more you battle the more your characters will grow. You’ll find items that Denpa Men can wear, from cute pajamas to shiny amulets, that’ll help in both offense and defense. However while you are out on your quest any other Denpa Men who are currently living in Digitoll will also be leveling up, meaning no worries about having to switch out other characters with lower fighting skills (something that most other RPGs should learn to do).

Normally the sight of PBS character clones acting cute would leave me to grab the nearest first-person shooter to cleanse me from what I have witness, but here it’s done in such a way that there is no need to feel embarrassed playing such a game. In fact not since Ni No Kuni have I gone hands-on with an RPG that has pulled me in like Rise of Digitoll. Maybe it’s because it has one of the nicest battle systems I’ve come across this year.

As I am new to the Denpa Men franchise I didn’t quite know what to expect from the battles. In it you can choose a strategy for each character, pick a specific offense/defense, or — if you did what I did most of the time — go for broke and see what randomly happens. I found here that it was best to have a mixture of Denpa Men with antenna and without. Those with antenna are weaker, but have powerful magic that can be very useful; Denpa Men without antenna have no magic, but are stronger in combat and can take more hits. (The sight of watching a bunch of tiny people in silly clothes beating the bejesus out of a monster got a laugh out of me every time.)

Normally I’m the type of player who tries to hurry along with these sorts of battles, but Denpa Men 3 taught me the value of patience and trial-and-error. Yes, it stinks to lose and have to use your virtual cash to revive fallen comrades, but from these mistakes I learned how to mix-and-match my Denpa Men in order to beat bigger and badder bosses. It can get frustrating later on,  but when everyone levels up as you progress instead of those in your current party it makes having to go back to fight easier (that, and the fact you can teleport wherever you need to when on the map also helps).

When you are not in the mood to go to battle you can earn some cash from fishing or doing odd jobs. You can then use the cash to buy materials for new homes, or grab some furniture to flourish the current ones. Online you can trade or sell items with other players, or you can hone your battle skills by partaking on a one-on-one match with friends and random people. In laymen’s terms: it’s a lot like Animal Crossing, only with a bit more oomph!

What keeps pulling me into Denpa Men 3 is its unique charm and humor. The dialogue is told through fast-paced voice-acting, reminiscent of how anime used to be dubbed in the 60s, and it knows how to keep being funny every time you hear it. There are also silly moments that’ll fill your belly with chuckles. I don’t want to spoil these giggles, but one involving hot springs flatulence will make you fall out of your chair laughing.


  • Great battle system
  • Hilarious dialogue, story
  • Fun side-quests, online modes


  • Later battles become frustrating


Those who are new to the Denpa Men franchise will have no problem jumping blindly into the third one. With its fantastic battle system, cute characters, and cool online modes The Rise of Digitoll is an RPG that shows how to have fun with the genre while keeping to its traditional core. Simply put: Denpa Men 3 is one of the best games you can put on your 3DS this year, and with its $10 price point there’s no going wrong with grabbing an excellent game for a great value.

FINAL GRADE: 9.5 (out of ten)

Review code provided by Gail Salamanca of Strangely Compelling

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at

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