Developer: Gamevil
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Monsters, monster, monsters! It’s always about monsters! No one ever stops to think about Jan regular critters anymore! I suppose that’s because fantastical creatures are more interesting than the mundane animals we’re accustomed to (sea cucumbers are still weird, though). With that in mind Gamevil has released Monster Warlord, a game that essentially takes the idea of monster farming and fuses it with the kind of framework found in games like Mafia Wars. And it works, to a degree.

A nameless protagonist wants to become The Best. To do so they have to build up a menagerie of monsters and best the opposition (i.e. other players). To do so involves lots of Quest button tapping, acquiring the correct number of a specific monster in order to take part in a specific quest, upgrading the faceless avatar, constructing special buildings to help each more cash in real time, and of course battling other would-be champions. It’s all very similar to Zynga’s free-to-play social Mafioso adventure, but that doesn’t mean it’s simply a case of “been there, done that.”

While the overall structure of Monster Warlord is indeed a familiar one, it’s still one that works. Expending energy to complete quests, acquiring new creatures, and so on are still a fairly major draw. However, the shift from mob to monsters allows for a decent number of adjustments that keep things from feeling stale. Forming alliances and taking down very durable boss monsters for large chunks of cash and experience is one such example. Fusing two monsters in an attempt to create a much more powerful creature is another. Of course it’s all in the name of Incremental Improvements but it’s a proven model that’s every bit as habit forming as it has been since its inception.

Of course there are bound to be players who find the all too familiar concept to be a drag, and they’d be more than justified with such an observation. Monster Warlord is in many ways an old game with a fresh coat of paint. It’s a very nice coat of paint, and the game it’s covering is still quite viable, but it’s certainly nothing even remotely new. It also features a bank (to protect money from rivals) that not only takes a “fee” of 20% from each deposit but also won’t let players spend any stored money. So in order to save up they’re forced to squirrel away their cash, losing 20% with each transaction, then withdraw what they need in order to spend it. I freaking hate it when games do that.

So yes, Monster Warlord isn’t exactly brimming with originality and features one of the most obnoxious banking systems ever conceived, but it still captures the fun of casual, incremental play quite well. That and some of the monsters (like my little tiger thing) are simply adorable.


Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,