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Mo' Monsters

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad


Product: Mo' Monsters | Developer: Rumpus Inc. | Publisher: Rumpus Inc. | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure, RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
Mo' Monsters iPhone, thumbnail 1
This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting the game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about.

Carry on.

Nintendo presumably knows what we all know: that there's a huge audience craving a Pokemon game for iOS devices. But, for reasons best understood by Iwata and his colleagues, we'll probably never see one.

Luckily, where there's a will (to replicate an existing game experience), there's a way (to narrowly avoid copyright infringement). Mo' Monsters is the latest title to take a crack at the Pokemon formula, and it does it in freemium form.

First impressions

Mo' Monsters got off to a bad start, suffering from game-breaking bugs and crippling slowdown (even in menus). Fights often ended in paralysed stalemates. Thankfully, the issue was resolved in an update.

Technical hiccups aside, it's a decent enough Pokemon-like experience, though it doesn't have anything like the complexity or presentational punch of the Nintendo franchise.

You pick a monster at the beginning of the game (you know, like Ash does) and then go from point to point on a single-screen map, battling enemies, gaining experience, healing yourself, then moving on to the next encounter.

The familiar idea of combining animals with unrelated elements in the world is at the core of Mo' Monsters small selection of creatures. For example, a buffalo made of clouds suddenly becomes - any ideas? - a Puffalo.

But the monsters don't interact with one another while fighting, the stages for combat have no personality, and the animations they do have are weak. UI design is functional and is smartly laid out, but it's nothing special.

3 days: A patch obliterates the bugs

With the game now running at full swing thanks to a few patches, Mo' Monsters is a far more pleasant experience - you can now complete previously broken stages, for instance.

The game ticks along at a steady pace, rarely leaving you with nothing to do. Each stage you tackle has a cool-down period, though if you've unlocked enough areas you can pretty much stay in the game forever. That is, of course, as long as you have a healthy monster to deploy for combat.

There's no equivalent of a Pokemon Centre in the game. Instead, you have to wait for your monsters' health to recharge naturally or feed them with potions that you can buy using in-game currency. They don't cost too much, but it's a factor to consider.

Each stage seems to scale up the level of the enemies you'll face, which means it's not possible to revisit earlier stages and bull your way through to grind out experience, as eventually you'll run out of health items.

Unless, of course, you pay for them with Gems, the game's second and much rarer currency. You generally use these to buy special items or unique monsters, and they're almost never doled out by the game unless you fork over cold hard cash.

7 days: The free ride continues into oblivion

Even after a week I had no problem breezing through the game for free. By revisiting areas several times I was able to use my veritable legion of monsters to overwhelm any enemies that stood in my way.

By exploiting the one-armed bandit mini-game that gives out items whenever you take a spin, I was even able to avoid running out of potions. Once you reach a certain level of, accumulating more wealth, items, and monsters is trivially easy.

The game also gives you lots of Super Potions to heal your monsters fully, which means you can focus on making one very powerful lead character and seeing everything the game has to offer.

Which isn't a lot. At the time of writing there are only four locations to visit, very few monsters to capture, and no challenge to speak of.

Mo' Monsters is reasonably enjoyable for a while, and there's a small degree of depth to the gameplay, in that monsters have weaknesses to certain attacks, and a swing bar system is used for a few special moves. But on the whole it's too shallow to sustain your interest for long.

Nintendo take note: the goal is still open.

How are you finding the game? Got any tips to share with the Pocket Gamer community? Let us know by leaving us a comment.
Mo' Monsters
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 25 October 2012
Fun for a few days, this freemium title won't dent your wallet, but it won't steal your heart either. After the improvements made following a shaky start, there's hope that this will evolve into something more elaborate, but right now its play is all too shallow
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