Thursday, May 8, marked the release of The Denpa Men 3: The Rise of Digitoll for Nintendo 3DS. If you’ve never played one of the Denpa Men games, imagine combining Animal Crossing with Pokémon. The Denpa Men are strange little creatures that float all around you on “radio waves.” You can find them simply by looking around your environment with your 3DS camera. Then you catch them (like Pokémon), and add them to your party. Every Denpa Man is unique. If you want to find the same ones your friends have, you have to go to the same locations where they caught theirs.
The Denpa Men is just one of many games that uses AR (augmented reality) technology to blend the real world with the virtual world. The 3DS comes pre-loaded with a set of AR minigames that are accessible via a physical card. When you point the 3DS’s camera at the card, you are able to access a 3D menu superimposed on the real world. The popular PlayStation Vita game Tearaway does something similar by enabling players to take selfies that are incorporated in the game’s story.
Once you’ve collected some Denpa Men, you and your party can travel through fun dungeons and meet cartoonish enemies, which you and your Denpa Men battle in an RPG-style fight. When you’re done exploring, head back home to the island of Digitoll and practice your interior decorating skills. Like Animal Crossing, this game has all kinds of fun items for decorating the Denpa Men’s homes, including Lego furniture and candy cane wallpaper. You can also spend some time gardening or shopping.
There haven’t been many reviews posted yet for The Denpa Men 3, but the first two games both received generally positive feedback.