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One of the true rewards of playing a monster-training game is the ability to create your own cool-looking creature and customize it to your liking. Monster Adventures not only lets you decide what such a beast looks like, but its mash-up of role-playing and roguelike genre elements makes each play session an exciting and slightly addictive foray into its vibrant world.
Monster Adventures starts you off with a basic creature, and it’s your job to train it and enter it into tournaments to bring pride to your village. Its premise may be nothing particularly special for the genre, but this simply means that you'll need to spend time exploring enemy-ridden territory to gain experience points, money, and power-ups. As your creature levels up and gets stronger, you can challenge more formidable opponents or even online friends and foes. Your monster’s growth also keeps exploration feeling fresh by opening new areas to discover and bosses to battle. To add to this variety, the layout of your map is randomized each time you set out, so you never know when to expect an ambush or where a portal to the next area lies hidden.
Such roguelike elements also create a risk/reward system that pushes you to get stronger to fully explore what its worlds have to offer. If your monster falls during battle, you'll lose any items you picked up, plus your experience points are cut short, meaning you'll need to decide whether to return home or simply press on. While each foray feels different, the game’s rudimentary controls involve just tapping your screen to attack, and it won't always respond to your gestures. These controls – and the fact that you’re just pummeling enemy after enemy – can make the inevitable grinding feel tiresome after a while.
To let you customize your experience even further, you can purchase essences to change not only the look of your creature, but also its stats or to give its attacks elemental attributes. Monster Adventures even includes Pokémon-like features that challenge you to capture as many wildlings as possible to extract abilities to use to your advantage. All of these different components work together to deliver quite the robust quest that can scratch your monster-breeding itch for some time.
The bottom line. Monster Adventures mashes up different genres to give you a compelling and seemingly fresh experience each time you play.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Robust monster customization options. Engaging roguelike and RPG components. Exploration incentives and rewards for leveling up.
Controls feel clunky and unresponsive at times. Grinding can take its toll on you.