App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Sometimes a central mechanic can make a significant difference in one’s perception of a game. In Geomon’s case, that mechanic is the location/time/weather-based monster hunting. While the game proper might be a decent (if a bit run of the mill) collect-a-thon, limiting creature varieties to specific areas, times, and other factors creates a pretty compelling reason to keep coming back for more.
Geomon isn’t just about gathering up monsters and training a team of elite non-existent beings to reign supreme. It’s also about balance and conservation. At least that’s the running theme through many of the game’s visual and story elements. Players train to become an agent meant to keep the world in balance. Creatures are typically of the “recognizable animal mixed with an element” variety, only with a more heavy-handed Mother Earth motif. The Gullbro (a seagull with the plastic rings from a six-pack hanging around its neck) is only one example. Trapping these critters is a dance many should be familiar with: weaken using acquired creatures then try to snag them. The catch (no pun intended) is that all Geomon’s levels - and by extension the beastiary itself - are capped until players acquire various ranks, thus encouraging constant mission progression.
Despite the lack of any significant animation, the illustrations and creature designs in Geomon are generally pretty cool. There are always exceptions and constantly being beaten over the head with eco-friendly themes is a bit much, but overall it’s a good looking game. There’s also always a guide to call up at any time, even during fights, to help remind players of a number of different things such as what an attack does or what element trumps what. And, of course, there’s the use of location-based services. Sure it’s kind of a gimmick but it kinda works. At least on me. It’s tough to ignore the siren call of “Let’s see what I can find in this part of town.”
Of course there are also some less than impressive moments. Having to wait well over an hour for the next mission to pop up is one. Being unable to find any “new” creatures because it’s 10pm and I’m home for the night is another. And while I appreciate the use of special IAP currencies for a number of special (but not vital) items and ‘Mons, I’m not too crazy about only being able to earn said moon money through the occasional (read: very occasional) mission or posting on Facebook.
Yet I do still love the hunt. There’s just something about the real-world/virtual world crossover that keeps my interest. Kind of like hunting down card packs for a CCG only rather than spending a ridiculous amount of money I just have to “get out” from time to time. I can’t promise that Geomon will make players forsake their favorite monster-collecting iOS game, but I think fans of the genre should give it a try and see what they think.