Developer: Sigma Game Limited
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s usually pretty easy to tell when a developer genuinely loves their game. There are often a number of almost imperceptible little touches that come out; such as just a little more detail in the animations, or a surprisingly moving soundtrack that almost seems too good. Regardless of whether this is actually the case with Bulu Monster (I don’t know because I wasn’t there), I can’t help but imagine the team cracking smiles throughout its development.

bulumonster08bulumonster03Bulu Monster is essentially another free-to-play Pokemonlike. Players create their account, wander around various maps using a simple waypoint and search system, and collect and battle monsters. Battles utilize a familiar ability system that allows a set number of uses for each technique, however the only way for these uses to replenish is through time or the monster gaining a new level. The capture system will also feel familiar as it requires players to try and snatch weakened beasts using special spherical containers that come in limited supply and have various success rates. And yet, it still stands out.

The most immediately impressive aspect of Bulu Monster is the way it’s presented. The monsters and other characters look nice and sharp, and the monster designs are actually quite clever. The battle animations are even more noteworthy. These might just be a series of 2D characters trading blows with one another, but the spectacle involved with even the most basic attack is definitely a sight to behold. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that the game can be played offline. That’s right, if a player wants to check in on their monsters while they’re on the subway or would like to explore for a bit while they’re otherwise minus an Internet connection, they can totally do that.

bulumonster07bulumonster12Bulu Monster does need a little polish in a few areas, though. The tinny-sounding and repetitive music is a pretty big offender and contradicts the stellar visuals. The capture system also feels unbalanced. Even severely wounded early game monsters tend to be a waste of a Capture Ball unless players are willing to shell out for the more advanced models.

The music may not have received as much attention as the visuals and the Capture Balls may be a gamble, but Bulu Monster is still an unexpectedly great monster-capturing game. Freemium or no, it hits most of the right notes and hits them very well. Heck, the fact that it can be played offline should be reason enough for most to try it.

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