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Monster Wars

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Monster, monster, monster

Product: Monster Wars | Developer: Liv Games | Publisher: Liv Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
Monster Wars iPhone, thumbnail 1
The very best games aren't afraid to play around with the rules and regulations of genre, experimenting with new gameplay mechanics.

Of course, mash-ups require the deftest of hands to guide them, or they're liable to end up as unplayable, amorphous blobs, devoid of the coherence and familiarity that gamers need.

Monster Wars, much like its predecessor Legendary Wars, is less a full-on, test tube-rattling experiment than a laid back, Sunday afternoon tinker. Drawing on the Plants vs Zombies template, it chucks in a few twists here and there, but seems content to remain stolidly fun rather than truly revolutionary.

S-lane your enemies

Veterans of Legendary Wars will be instantly at home with the setting, except this time round you're battling for the bad guys, taking down the legends you led to victory in the first instalment.

The shift to the wrong side of the law means plenty of cartoon ghouls at your command, and grim, grave-strewn battlefields to fight on.

Fights take place on three lanes, which span the length of the battlefield, and which you populate with the terrifying denizens of the underworld. Warriors cost gems, though, which your obedient goblin slave is digging up in the background.

As well as concentrating on the big old scrap, you need to keep an eye on the goblin and tap on him when he pulls up one of the golden jewels to add it to your bank. This dual focus keeps things interesting, and makes sure you're kept on your toes.

Gem-uinely violent

You can set your units to automatically attack or defend, as well as taking more direct control if that's the way you like to play. Moving minions involves tapping where you want them to go, and you can send group orders with on-screen buttons.

The game also offers the occasional change in style. Instead of castle defence, you might find yourself engaging in some side-scrolling hack-and-slash action, destroying buildings and hapless soldiers to gain extra gems and soul stones.

You spend the gems you get from these bonus rounds, and from the game proper, on upgrading your ragtag band of skeletons, zombies, and undead warlords. An RPG-style system lets you make them tougher, faster, and generally better at caving heads in.

Command and conquer

The game looks gorgeous, and it's clear that whoever designed the rotting army you get to command had a whale of a time doing it. But underneath those cartoonish good looks though beats a clever, strategic heart. Monster Wars won't be beaten without some sound tactical reasoning.

It's not without its flaws, and in some areas - story included - it lacks a bit of polish. Controlling your units sometimes get fiddly, and too often you feel like the fun's happening elsewhere, while you're waiting for an ugly minion to find some more currency for you.

Those problems aside, Monster Wars is as entertaining as its forebear. And while the tweaks it adds to its tested formula are fun, they're not quite enough to catapult it to knight-slaying greatness.

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Monster Wars
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 6 February 2012
Gorgeous to look at, and a heap of fun to play, Monster Wars is a clever but flawed mash-up of tower defence, RTS, and slash-'em-up
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