Monster Adventures, a mash-up of genres from Foursaken Media, is now available from the app store. No stranger to mixing game types to garner unique and interesting results, Foursaken infuses elements of roguelikes, creature collectors, RPGs, and adventures to create a compelling offering.
Monster Adventures Pros:
- A fantastic blend of multiple genres
- Colourful aesthetic and whimsical music reinforce light and enjoyable gameplay
- Lots of ways to upgrade and improve characters with essences, elements, and abilities
- PvP and Co-op multiplayer options
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Monster Adventures Cons:
- Starts off a bit slow, forcing the player to grind for a while before things get interesting
- Controls are serviceable, but a little awkward
- Almost feels like there are too many aspects to the game; can be overwhelming
- Avoiding enemies and targeting foes can be challenging, at least in the early going
You arrive at the village of Yerpa, a mystical town built around a strange well. Peering into it reveals a monster to the main character. We learn that they are kindred spirits intrinsically tied to each other. In addition to your newly-discovered blue buddy, there are a number of people in the village that you’ll want to get to know. The Mayor will send you on various quests, the Alchemist can imbue your monster with various elements, the Essence Collector offers different essences with which to equip and upgrade your monster, and the Scholar will study any monsters that you capture and teach your monster any abilities that he learns. There is also a fruit stand with produce that enhances monsters, a Coliseum to battle other monsters, and multiple environments to explore while capturing or destroying various monsters. Trips into the wilderness reveal multi-sectioned locales with randomized setups and lots of crazy critters. You’ll earn experience while making your way through these areas, as well as stumble upon treasures and collect currency to be used in the shop. The farther you progress, the more exotic creatures you’ll encounter. Of course, if you are defeated, you’ll lose half of the stuff that you obtained during that effort, such as your experience, loot, and captured creatures.
Monster Adventures will keep you busy, and it almost feels a bit overwhelming at times. Many of the more interesting elements aren’t immediately accessible, forcing you to grind for a while before you gain enough experience, earn enough money, and equip a few abilities to make yourself a formidable foe in the Coliseum. Once through the initial stages, things can get pretty exciting. As with many of Foursaken’s other titles, PvP and Co-op multiplayer are available to allow you to duke it out with or against other players. There are tons of different ways to alter your monster, which can be a lot of fun. The new abilities you earn and equip add to the ways that you manage foes, such as the ability to summon blobs to help you, burrowing to avoid attacks and the like. There is definitely a fair amount of strategy to employ, depending on which enemies you’ll be facing and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We’ve had a good deal of fun so far, though it seems like there is always something more that we could be doing or some aspect of gameplay to which we aren’t paying proper attention.
Graphically, Monster Adventures has an art style that is reminiscent of Bug Heroes, with blocky and colorful characters and environments. The three environments have their unique properties, and the animations are fluid. Some of the enhancements alter the way the monster looks, creating some bizarre monsters that I’d hate to happen upon in unfamiliar territory. The monsters will occasionally get caught up on an object, which can be frustrating when trying to avoid fast-moving foes or projectiles. It’s also not always clear where a monster can move and which sections are blocked. The ability to capture monsters is contingent upon weakening them enough to snag them in your net, as well as positioning your monster within a certain range to allow your net to hit the foe. Judging this distance and/or maintaining a proper distance when foes are coming at you is a bit challenging, one of the more frustrating aspects we experienced. Avoiding counterstrikes is also another challenge that continues to elude us. The soundtrack is upbeat and whimsical, keeping things light-hearted and fun. Controls use a joypad in the lower left corner for movements, while you tap on a button in the lower right to attack. The attack that occurs is selected from a series of boxes containing learned and equipped abilities in the upper right corner. You can use your net, strike with your fist, utilize an energy attack, summon a helper blob, and plenty of other options as you see fit. Several of these items have a cooldown/recharge period, so you cannot just spam the game with the same special item. A dash move is employed by swiping on the screen, allowing you to move quickly out of the way of an attack or an oncoming foe. This gesture wasn’t as responsive as we expected, though there could be a bit of a cooldown/recharge period tied to this that we weren’t aware of.
Replay value is fantastic, as there is plenty of content to keep you coming back for more. We can see this being the type of game where we are still discovering new and interesting aspects several months down the road. Its main drawback is the slow start that is likely to turn some gamers off. Once you get over that hump, though, it really gets its hooks into you. GameCenter integration offers several leaderboards and nearly a dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $1.99, Monster Adventures is an intriguing 4-Dimple app.