Casual Game Spotlight: Monster Builder
Welcome to my laboratory; just ask Igor for anything you need. We’ll be mixing up a nice batch of monsters today with whatever DNA we can find about the place. When we’re done, we can take them into battle against some invading monsters and see how things go. OK?
Monster Builder from DeNA is another in the Pokemon style of build, battle, upgrade, repeat games. The novelty is you get to research new monsters by using various combinations of monster type and class “DNA.” You get the three-way rock, paper, scissors power structure with fire, plant, and water (red, green, blue) as well as a list of creature type attributes (humanoid, monster, dragon, etc). With two sets of properties to work with you can create a lot of monsters.
Before you start fighting other monsters, you will need to select monsters for your team. The game lets you set up three different teams so you can have a ready mix of monsters which work well against specific enemy types. Once the fighting starts you will need to manage how many of each type of monster you set loose. You can spawn monsters only so fast and only up to a certain limit, and once you hit the limit you can only generate more monsters when one of your current monsters dies. There is also a mana counter with which you can create special monster types and use their special attack. Each special attack also costs mana, so the speed with which you can generate mana will need to be considered.
The game offers some power-up packages with a “buy now or the deal goes away” notice. A bit gratuitous on the limited time sale front, but everybody is just trying to make a living. There is even a “free” button which will reward you with some game coin in exchange for watching a video advertisement (fun, eh?). Regardless of the deals, as you win rounds you can build up coins and gems with which you can purchase upgrades to your equipment. Winning levels also gets you new DNA strands which you can turn into new monsters. With all the DNA storage slots, monster storage slots, monster team management, monster upgrades, machine upgrades, and lab assistant outfit upgrades, there is a lot to do in this game.
One disappointing factor is the tips. This game, like most, will provide some how-to information, especially early on. The bad part is some of the tips are only on screen for about a second and then they disappear. It would be better if the tips stayed on screen with a “clear” button, but there it is.
The game may not always tell you what you need to succeed, but most of the elements are fairly intuitive or only require a little digging to figure out what to do. If you lose a round, it’s no biggie—you just try again with a new monster mix. The game play requirements are mostly just tapping a button to create a monster or use a skill and watching the monsters duke it out. The graphics are well done and the format fits well on the small screen of the iPhone/iPod Touch. Most of the background audio/music is OK, but the percussion sound effect while waiting in the monster holding area is a bit annoying (but that’s just me being picky).
All things considered it’s a nice game. With the large number of monster combinations available to the player, this one should provide lots of play time.
Monster Builder is available now for free (with in-app purchases) in the iTunes App Store.