While Wonder Boy in Monster World clearly plays tribute to Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Monster World) and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Monster World II) it is technically not a sequel to either of them, and doesn't even feature Wonder Boy as its main character. Instead, players control "Shion" to save Monster Land from the alien BioMeka.
Unlike The Dragon's Trap there is no concept of transformations. Instead the game plays similarly to its predecessor, with the player traversing the world, defeating enemies and collecting coins to purchase equipment upgrades.
More of an emphasis is put on the story in Wonder Boy in Monster World. While Shion doesn't speak, other characters do, as opposed to previous games where in-game text could only be found in shops.
Wonder Boy in Monster World was ported several years later on PC Engine CD / TurboGrafx-CD, in 1994, in the form of Dynastic Hero with many changes during the transition. In the same way as Wonder Boy in Monster Land which became Bikkuriman World on PC Engine, Dynastic Hero lacks all Wonder Boy branding and therefore features palette-swapped visuals, new insect-themed graphics for main characters and insects' natural predators as bosses. A Red Book audio soundtrack, which is completely different from original, now takes place and anime-style cutscenes have been added at the intro and ending. Due to the PC Engine CD / TurboGrafx-CD lacks of support for a second background layer, the parallax have been removed. lastly, it should be noted that, oddly, in this version all but last shield look the same.
Both Wonder Boy in Monster World (Mega Drive) and The Dynastic Hero have been released for the Wii's Virtual Console service.
For 21 years, Wonder Boy in Monster World stood as the last title in the series to be released in English, its sequel, Monster World IV being a Japanese exclusive until an official translation was brought to western shores in 2012 (eighteen years after its original release).
Sonic the Comic included few "Wonder Boy" comic strips, the plot taking place after Wonder Boy in Monster World. The story arcs are: "Wonder Boy in Demon World" (issue #2 to issue #9) and "Wonder Boy in Ghost World" (#22 to #27).