Video Game / Contact

Things you WILL find in Contact: Monkeys. Cosmic terrorists. Powerful attack stickers. Fishing. Cooking. Humor. Fun with Nintendo Wi-Fi. Deeper meaning in life. Costumes that increase your power and make you more fun to be around.
—The back cover of Contact

From the mind of Akira Ueda, developed by Suda51's Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Atlus comes a Nintendo DS RPG entitled Contact.

A professor from an unknown galaxy is chased and attacked by the Klaxon Army (called the "CosmoNOTs" in the US release), and his UFO crash-lands on an unknown planet, scattering its power cells everywhere. In order for him to get his ship back into commission, he enlists the help of Terry, a boy he meets after crash-landing, to help him get his power cells back through the use of specially-developed Decals (yes, the kind you stick on your body).

In Contact, you control Terry and guide him from island to island, searching for the power cells, beating up monsters, and making friends with the locals while on the lookout for the CosmoNOT gang, as they want the cells for their own purpose. As you play deeper and deeper into the game, the Professor's motives become less and less clear...

Absolutely no relation to the 1997 movie of the same name starring Jodie Foster or the Carl Sagan novel it was based on, nor the electro-mechanical pinball of the same name.

The Contact game contains examples of:

  • Addressing the Player: The Professor, more or less constantly. Terry too, at the end.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Terry gains different abilities depending on the costumes you find. Which leads into...
  • Elemental Powers:
  • 5 Bad Band: The CosmoNOTS.
    • Big Bad: Mint
    • The Dragon: Lester
    • Evil Genius: Nadia
    • The Brute: Bull
    • Pet Monstrosity: the nameless dragon that the CosmoNOTS control with a cell and which serves as the penultimate boss
      • But, curiously enough, although they mostly serve as semi-malevolent minibosses for most of the game, when they're all in a group they act more like...
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Yes, you read the Five-Man Band bit right. The bad guys have a pet monkey who leads you into traps.
  • Gainax Ending: Big time. The Professor unceremoniously abandons Terry and disappears with the cells, apparently aware of his status as a videogame character. Terry tries to fight you, the player, for all you've done to him. The CosmoNOTS go right back to their music careers without chasing the Prof. Mint, for some reason, takes the time to bring Terry back home like the Prof. promised to, and asks him to "help her" "next time," despite all the grief Terry (and you) put her through. Confused yet? Wait for The Stinger.
  • Guide Dang It!: Each of the costumes represent about 1/6 of the abilities in the game. You need all the elemental outfits, at least, to get through the main quest. And good lord, are each of them easy to miss.
    • Also applies to some of the Level Grinding and the romantic sideplots, such as they are - leaving the girl's location before handing over a sufficient number of gifts and securing her affection restarts the whole thing.
  • He Knows about Timed Hits: Played with. Only the professor knows what you, the player, are capable of. Terry figures it out by the end of the game.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism, partially subverted: You gain abilities and health by eating food, but it takes time to digest, so you can't cram burgers into your face indefinitely.
  • Karma Meter
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to other Grasshopper Manufacture titles.
  • Level Grinding
  • Long Song, Short Scene: This plays just before the final boss under four lines of dialogue, then it's never played again, or before.
  • Man Behind the Man: In a meta sense, Akira Ueda, who previously worked on the Shining Soul series. Most assume Suda51 was the one running the show, but he was just a producer who, as mentioned above, had little involvement; it was Ueda's game.
  • Mind Screw
  • No Fourth Wall: The Professor talks directly to you, the player.
    • Because the player is an actual character, and the link between the two screens.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The Professor and everything belonging to him.
  • People Puppets: You, the player, have been doing this to all the game characters without knowing it. Especially Terry, who calls you out on this during the game's ending.
  • Post-Final Boss: In a unique spin on this trope, it's Terry himself.
  • The Power of Rock: Nadia uses her keyboard to create storms, thereby impeding your progress to Akumojo Castle. To get around this, you have to switch out the storm-making music for the upbeat Blue Sky March.
  • Power Trio: The Professor, Terry and the player.
  • Power-Up Food: Besides restoring HP, food can also give boosts to various stats for the duration it takes to digest it.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The CosmoNOTs.
  • Romance Sidequest: Terry can woo four girls in the game, culminating in them living in the ship with him. Oddly, already having one girl does not mean another girl can not come. You can even have all four living with you at once, with no real repercussions — they'll act a bit put out if you talk to them while another girl is following you, but that's it.
  • Shout-Out: Occasionally, the Professor will quote popular Internet memes (All Your Base Are Belong to Us, etc.). The game manual is even formatted to look like the Professor's LiveJournal (or rather, VirtuaDiary). But not in Europe.
    • Arguably the reason why Mother/EarthBound fans took notice of the game lies in similar elements. The favorite food naming for example...
  • Shifting Sand Land: Aegis.
  • The Stinger: For some strange reason, it only appears some of the time, and nobody knows why some players can see it and not others.
  • Team Pet: Mochi, the space dog-that-thinks-it's-a-cat.
  • You Bastard
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The professor, visible on the top screen, talks to Terry via some kind of radio during cutscenes. He also constantly drops generic hints if you look up at the top screen.