It’s been a very long journey from Wonder Boy in Monster World to the present. Originally starting out as a Westone-developed series published by Sega, it eventually went dormant until Wonder Boy and the Dragon’s Trap came out last year. Well before then, though, there was a Kickstarter campaign for a Wonder Boy-influenced game called Flying Hamster II, which was canceled when a publisher came in and the developer got to work with Monster World creator Ryuichi Nishizawa. This changed things immensely, and what had been a game starring a cute flying hamster all of a sudden turned into an official part of the series it was an homage to. The Wonder Boy name wasn’t available, being owned by Sega, so it’s now Monster Boy out to save the kingdom and he’s brought a load of new tricks for his first all-new game in 24 years.
The new trailer shows off all Monster Boy’s transformations in action. He can change forms on the fly from young warrior to small snake to flying dragonman, plus three more for good measure. Each transformation has its own advantages and abilities, and the trailer shows off a few instances of chaining them together to clear tricky areas. It also features incredible 2D art, brief glimpses of the anime intro, and of course the aforementioned theme song. Which contains lyrics like “Monster Boy! Fighting for a future made of love and joy!” Somehow the song’s cheese factor ends up just about perfect, combining nicely with Monster Boy’s bright colors and upbeat hero to create the feeling of a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s been four years since Monster Boy was a flying hamster, and while the game has grown far beyond its original scope it doesn’t look like the cheerful humor of its original incarnation has gone anywhere.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is coming out “this summer” on PS4, Switch, and Xbox One, with a PC version trailing along in winter.