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Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze announced

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There's a spiritual successor to the accomplished Wonder Boy/Monster World games (opens in new tab) in the works, coming later this year for the PC and PlayStation 4. If you've not had the pleasure, they were a series of platformers for the Arcade/Master System/Mega Drive, set in their own distinct universe where player transformation often featured heavily.

If you'll allow me a little self-indulgence, the Wonder Boy/Monster World games mean a great deal to me. Or rather, one of them does—Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. The Master System game was my first platformer set in a world rather than a series of levels, boasting as it did a nonlinear, Metroidy linked environment you gradually unlocked with the aid of new abilities. Key to this was your power to transform into various humanoid animals, including Mouse-Man, who could walk up walls and ceilings, and Hawk-Man who could fly around at will.

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Indie developer Game Atelier was already working on a spiritual follow-up of sorts in the form of Flying Hamster II, via an unsuccessful Kickstarter that didn't a gain a lot of traction last year. Now, they've used an update (opens in new tab) on that page to announce that it's being reworked into Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze (opens in new tab), an even more spiritual successor made with the help of original series developers Westone.

While they don't have the rights to the name, they consider Monster Boy an official follow-up to the Wonder Boy/Monster World series. It certainly looks the part, with several enemies in initial screenshots seemingly drawn directly from previous games. Starting out as a clone, Flying Hamster II has morphed into a full-fledged Wonder Boy game, with "no more hamsters but a new hero with a story matching with the Monster World universe".

The original version (opens in new tab) of the game seemed to be sticking fairly close to the Dragon's Trap way of doing things, featuring a non-linear world and bunch of different transformations, each with their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses. It looked a bit lovely, and I think it looks even lovelier now that it's an 'official' Monster Boy title. This new version has a publisher, FDG Games, so I don't think there's another Kickstarter on the cards.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.