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How to start strong in Pokemon style iOS game Zuko Monsters - hints, tips, and tricks
By Peter Willington 14 February 2013
Game Name: Zuko Monsters | Developer: Goodbeans | Publisher: Goodbeans | Format: iPhone, iPad | Genre: Adventure, Multiplayer, RPG | Networking: wireless (adhoc),wireless (network)
Sure, there's a new app that allows you to watch episodes of Pokemon on your iPhone or iPad.

But if you want a real Pokemon game experience on your iOS device, you might want to download Zuko Monsters as your mobile monster battling methadone of choice.

But, as noted in my review, levelling up your characters and progressing the story forward is a slow-moving process.

So I've created the ultimate beginner's guide to making your way through the narrative quickly, and ensuring that you're getting the most from the time you put into the game.

Let's begin, shall we?

Starting out



The game opens with a tutorial. It teaches you the fundamentals, but little else. Just make sure to read everything that's presented to you to avoid missing something important.

When that wraps up, you'll be into the game proper and need to start forming a solid party of monsters.

On the map, selectable areas have different icons to represent what you can expect to find there.

A magnifying glass lets you quickly search a space. It might reveal nothing (though, you'll gain some experience regardless), or alternatively the magnifying glass may turn to an exclamation point.

This means you'll be taken to the battle screen where you must fight a wild monster. The usual elemental systems of a Pokemon game apply here, so fire is effective against grass, grass better against water, and water will dampen the spirits of any fire-based monster.

Combat is handled by the player and CPU trading blows, so if you need it, take plenty of time choosing which attack will work best for each given situation.

It's pretty straightforward stuff and the type of damage inflicted is displayed next to the attack on the battle screen, so if the opposing monster looks like a plant, chances are it's not going to like fire too much.

Tap the heart, lightning, or star icons that pop out of the monster you fight - they represent additional health, energy for special attacks, and experience respectively. You collect them automatically, but grabbing them speeds up the battles as your opponent will not move until these elements no longer appear on the screen.

A final note on attack types: special attacks (those with elements and quick time events attached to them) use up energy, but your normal attack in the bottom left-hand side of the UI builds it back up.

I found that taking massive chunks of damage away from enemies with specials, then polishing them off with normal attacks worked best, and kept my energy levels high.

Mapped



Back to area icons then: a boxing glove is a trainer battle. These are identical to battles with wild monsters, except that you earn money from these bouts - which can be used in the store - and it's impossible to capture the monsters you face.

A speech box with a '…' on it is a simple conversation, you tap it to hear what the person has to say. Not too exciting, and not much in the way of crucial info, unless you really get into the story.

A letter icon with a 'Z' on it though can be pretty exciting. They're essentially requests from an inhabitant in the world that requires one of your monster's attention. You don't need to do anything except assign one of your monsters and wait the allotted period of time. If you've got a large enough stable of monsters then you can farm these for easy experience.

Lock icons represent your next big challenge. Usually this requires you to capture a specific monster or be at a certain level, and the only way of doing this is through grind. If you tap on the icon though, it will have a button that takes you immediately to an area where the creature resides, so that's useful.

Stop playing, reap the rewards



The upgrade path for your monster is usually a two-way choice per level, but if there's the option to boost your health, then do it.

Your health will dictate how long you can keep using your monster before having to make it rest to recover damage, so if you can keep playing, you can keep levelling.

Outside of the single player game, there are also multiplayer match-ups. It's largely a case of the person with the highest level creatures winning, but one tip that will get you winning battles early is to pick a water-type monster as your lead.

The reason is simple: most people will have trained up the fire-type monster first, and go into the battle thinking that they have a high level monster, ergo they will win. If you turn up with water, they're going to have to swap monsters fast, giving you the advantage.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a strong approach to Zuko Monsters though is in what you do while not playing the game. That's right: the best players know how to maximise their results when they're not actively engaging with the title.

It's all about being smart just before you exit the app. If your monsters are low on health, you should ensure you've set them to rest before exiting. Alternatively you can set them to work on one of the passive missions (the envelope icons), as they won't take damage from taking them on.

Got any tips to share? Let us and the rest of the PG community know by leaving them in a comment below.
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