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In the past, Kairosoft has brought us cartoonish simulations of what it's like to be a video game creator (Game Dev Story) or shopping mall proprietor (Mega Mall Story), among many others, but its latest iOS affair has you catch and train various elemental critters and then use them to explore your surroundings. While all this may sound a lot like a Pokémon game, you’ll soon realize that Beastie Bay is a civilization management game first and a monster-catching game second.
The game’s objective is to grow your island resort by building and enhancing its structures. It’s a simple process that discards all of the politics and negotiation aspects of more robust civilization games, but still gives you the options to customize the land to your liking. In order to do so, you’ll need to amass various resources such as food, lumber, and other items you’ll only find by going on expeditions, which involve battling with various monsters in an area until it is fully explored.
Each time you go on an expedition, your island will continue to produce resources and develop new technologies, so it never feels like you’re fighting or grinding for no reason. You can invest resources on improving your equipment, enhancing the number of monsters you can bring to battle, or how much food you consume during each trip, for example, so you can always choose what you want to focus on. Despite feeling slightly repetitive after a while, you’ll soon discover that going on these expeditions has various benefits and gives you better tools to enhance you island further.
While the game does a great job with its simulation components, its battle system proves too simple in execution. Each turn merely lets you attack, defend, or use one of your monster’s special skills to assault foes. Curiously, the game never truly explains how each monster’s elemental type plays out during battles, nor can you see an enemy monster’s health until after you capture it, which isn’t helpful considering you need to weaken monsters to catch them in the first place.
The bottom line. Beastie Bay isn't as multi-layered as the games it is based on, plus its battle system is lacking, but the great simulation features may still keep you coming back for more.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Engaging simulation components. Charming music and graphics. Lots of different ways to customize your island.
Battles don't offer much strategic depth. Needs instruction on how certain elements work. Lack of iPhone 5 screen support.