Version Reviewed: 2.7.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Monster Strike is an online, monster collecting, cooperative multiplayer, pool-like strategy combat game from Yoshiki Okamoto, a developer perhaps best known as the producer of Street Fighter II. To be frank, the description is about as crazy as playing it. Monster Strike is a bizarrely compelling game, even though the core gameplay isn't always firing on all cylinders.
To explain Monster Strike as simply as possible, players battle on an enclosed field where they tug and release to launch their own monsters at monster foes. When enemy monsters are slammed into, they receive damage, whereas hitting friendly monsters unleashes combo attacks. Monsters that have been launched will continue to bounce around the screen until completely losing momentum, damaging enemies in the process and launching additional attacks from allies they brush up against. Each stage is composed of multiple waves of these bouncy battle arenas followed by a boss stage, which typically just involves having to deal more damage before grabbing all of the loot dropped at the end of the stage. As for Monster Strike's cooperative element, players can take on missions with up to three others' monster teams in tow, which adds some longevity to the battle system and allows them to take on more difficult sets of enemies.
If the bouncy battling stood on its own, Monster Strike would be woefully mediocre. Battles usually aren't terribly challenging unless taken on by underpowered monsters, but - luckily - making sure one's monsters are powerful enough is probably the strongest component of the game. Monster Strike really shines in its monster collecting/upgrading mechanics. As players complete levels they are constantly rewarded with currency, orbs, materials, and monsters that can be used to fuse, sell, evolve, and hatch newer and more powerful monsters. As a free-to-play game, it's remarkably generous in the rewards and abilities it gives to free players.
Like all always-online social games however, Monster Strike has many of the same old problems. By requiring a constant connection, there's a limit in where players can play. It goes a step further by also including near-constant disclaimers between menus that warn of possible data corruption if played in an area with a weak signal. In addition, the core part of battling in could be a bit more engaging. Most of the time I found myself rather lazily angling my monsters in the direction of enemies and faring perfectly fine rather than feeling like I had to plan a true strategy.
While these drawbacks don't categorically make Monster Strike less fun, I can see how the game would seem significantly lacking to those not drawn into its collectible nature. If fusing and upgrading monsters doesn't sound fun, then Monster Strike is likely just not for you. But, for players with some kind of loot lust, it might just be the next big thing for them to sink some serious time into.