If this game had reached its full potential, now that would be a tale!
Monster Tale has a strong gameplay structure, as you navigate platforms while whacking or shooting enemies. On that alone it would have been a decent, if unoriginal game, but MT adds to the formula by giving you a monster ally that you can train in any of about 20 forms, each with its own innate abilities and attributes. By sticking with a monster form long enough so that you can master its abilities, you can then carry those over to other monster forms, ultimately building an ally of your design. I found this system to be original and entertaining. Changing your monster's current form and equipped abilities is easy, though I went through most of the game using just 2 or 3 general purpose abilities instead of stopping to change strategies for each for encountered.
Where MT falls short is the world layout. You're going to do a lot of backtracking in this game, and it feels very forced. You'll have to head out to one area of the game world to gain an ability that you'll probably use just once or twice to access an area in another part of the game world. Some of these abilities have greater purpose but most are essentially just an excuse to make the game longer. So the game often ends up boiling down to, go to one place, then follow your map to another place, and so on, battling many of the same enemies along the way as well. You'll have a different experience than me if you don't use the map but then you'll just be spending a lot of time running around until you find the one room you couldn't get to before, just so you can turn around and go back the other way...
Even with all the backtracking the game isn't that long, and I have to say the ending was disappointing. Despite the flaws, the gameplay stands out and is supported by good visuals and a nice soundtrack. This is a good choice for a rental for fans of jump and shoot games looking for a new twist.
The gameplay is similar to the castlevania games for the DS(including the map). The main difference is your monster partner and the different evolutions and ablities he can learn and level up. The look of the game is bright and colorful and set in contemporary times(including a monster dance club). There are plenty of items to buy for both your character and the monster(including a larger life gauge). The story is completely different and more interesting. Every so often your journey will be interrupted by little cut scenes about the other humans in the monster world. There is plenty of retracing you steps to reach new areas once you gain new ablities but it seems to add extra monsters to fight as well so it doesn't get monotonous.