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Monster Adventures

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Raw

Product: Monster Adventures | Developer: Foursaken Media | Publisher: Foursaken Media | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
 
Monster Adventures iPhone, thumbnail 1
The App Store description for Monster Adventures claims that the game contains, "the monster-catching of Pokemon with the adventure elements of Zelda".

One of the most commercially successful video game properties of all time combined with one of the most critically acclaimed series ever? "Holy moly" you might think, "this is going to be topping fun!"

Monster Adventures certainly will be fun to a certain crowd, but the comparisons with Link and Ash are tenuous at best. Gauntlet and Shiren the Wanderer would be far more accurate analogues for this action-RPG hack through randomly generated dungeons.

Crawl

You start in a sleepy village, and pretty soon you're given a creature that you're told will accompany you on the adventures you're about to have.

Then you enter randomly generated levels that are partitioned out into distinct areas of a level, and must clear them of enemies to proceed. This entails engaging in some fairly repetitive combat, utilising special attacks when needed. You earn these extra abilities by capturing the smaller creatures.

If your foes run out of health, you gain experience. Should you get knocked out you'll be penalised by having Coins, XP, and other items taken away from you.

IAPs explained
For 69p / 99c, you get ten random Essences, which will give you a selection of additions to your creature. 69p / 99c will also net you 2500 Gold and ten element orbs, which will yield you a few Fruits and other minor items you can use to help you out of tough spots.
It's a cautious, methodical, and slow grind through dungeons until you hit a decent level of experience, at which point the enemies are a breeze. Then you get to a Portal to explore further into that same dungeon, and the baddies become far too powerful for you again, and you repeat the same process.

Like most good dungeon-crawlers, Monster Adventures is oddly compelling. There's a great satisfaction in filling a meter, levelling-up, and seeing new enemies, even if it's a process you've no doubt experienced in hundreds of games before.

When not questing - either by yourself or with friends online - you can enter the Coliseum to take on what are essentially boss creatures.

Going Commando

Your creature can eat Fruit for temporary or permanent bonuses in the single-player, and be assigned Essences, which change its physical make-up and capabilities, while fighting creatures. You can build your monster in whatever way you see fit, but none of the results looks particularly attractive.

It's partly the fault of the game engine: it's robust but basic, with unspectacular special effects, so-so textures, inflexible animation, and the occasional spot of slowdown. However, it's mostly because idiots like me get to sculpt how their creatures look.

I spent time trying to make the creature look cool, but it always ended up looking like a blue Baby Head for some reason or other. Then I concentrated on having the strongest creature, and after I'd added wooden legs, bat wings, a flower for a face, and crab claws, I was the most powerful freak in the circus.

The UI is well laid out and fairly intuitive, but the game isn't great at explaining all of its concepts to you, or how you can view certain menus. Enemy design isn't as varied as it is in something like Pokemon, either - it's generally just variations on a blobby theme, with the occasional boss fight against something more detailed.

Monster Adventures is a decent game, then, but certainly not Pokemon crossed with Zelda. But if you're after an action-RPG with element-based creatures, and don't mind some uninspired visuals and a whole lot of grind, then Monster Adventures is a solid purchase.
 
Monster Adventures
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 18 October 2013
Running about smashing things with your creature is fun for a bit, and the experience grind loop is certainly powerful here, but otherwise it's a pretty standard dungeon-crawler
 
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