Developer: Aeria Mobile
Price: FREE
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

When reviewing games, coming across a game that’s lacking but lots of other people seem to really enjoy is an inevitability. That’s the thing about opinions. But every so often I’ll play a game and I just won’t get it. The appeal, the love, the excitement, none of it makes sense to me because what I’m playing almost appears to be a completely different title. Magimon isn’t all bad; it has a few redeeming factors, to be sure, but I’m completely flabbergasted by this “#1 card battle game in Japan” thing.

Beginning a game in Magimon for the first time is a bit of a process. Players have to set up an account with Aeria Mobile if they haven’t already, select a user name, an in-game avatar, an element, then finally a faction. Then it’s on to the tutorial! From there players are taught the basics of questing, battling, monster creation, and enhancement before being left to their own devices. This typically means more questing (with each completed zone ending in a sort of trainer battle) or fighting other players for treasures. Once enough components and/or cash are gathered from these various tasks, it’s then possible to generate new monsters for the team or bolster favorites by sacrificing a few weaklings.

Beneath all the stylish illustrations and somewhat Jetix-like “Kid Friendly to the MAXXXX!!!” themes, Magimon utilizes a rather familiar free-to-play framework. Questing requires energy that recharges over time and can be increased with experience, battling other players uses a different sort of energy that also recharges over time and can be increased, battles are automated and depend on team composition rather than reflexes, and the monsters themselves are depicted more like collectible cards than “living” creatures. It’s a system that’s incredibly easy to come to grips with for newcomers and probably already second nature to most freemium veterans.

However, Magimon’s familiarity is a double-edged sword. Anyone already accustomed to the general formula might view it as simply more of the same. Specifically more of the same as presented by Kids WB. The battles are also a huge disappointment since they don’t really indicate a reason behind success or failure. I’ve fought plenty of people of various levels and team sizes, and with various lead monsters of their own various levels, and the typical results have either been that I lose for some reason or draw. With no discernable reason as to why. And no, the battle log doesn’t help.

Magimon is a decent, inoffensive (ignoring the horrendous sound effect and music, anyway) freemium game, but that’s all it is. How it’s supposedly garnered so much praise is beyond me. But hey, if some people out there are enjoying it then more power to them.

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