Developer: Mobage
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

An archipelago of mysterious islands inhibited by a colorful cast of characters and some adorable yet ferocious monsters; this is Team Monster. With an art style very reminiscent of emergent puzzle game Scribblenauts and the monster raising mechanics of Pokemon, combined with some casual tower defense techniques (monster style), and Team Monster sounds like it should be a blast. Unfortunately, it fails to make quite the impact that one may expect, and though monster hunting fans may find it enjoyable at first, it’s not long before it becomes worn down by repetitive and predictable gameplay mechanics.

IMG_0379The premise sounds promising at first. After washing up on the shores of a mysterious island, a lone human and his talking chicken are greeted by a strange inhabitant; a monster who jumps to their defense against some other far nastier denizen. Soon after follows a tutorial highlighting the basic rules of play, after which players will have control of a team of up to four commandeered creatures as they fight their way through multiple waves of barbarous beasties and gargantuan bosses. The mechanics of play are fairly simple: players drag a line from the creature or human to their targets (humans can also heal allies as they attack), and learn when to activate various special abilities at the correct moment in time, which will vary depending on the monster type.

There is no argument that Team Monster looks absolutely incredible, and the developers have done a fine job nailing down the controls. The mechanics set in place for issuing commands to allies is very straightforward, and players can appoint their monsters to undertake certain actions by either selecting and dragging the portraits at the upper left corner of the screen, or by the simple method of dragging from ally to target.

IMG_0383Though there has been a lot of consideration put into how the game looks and feels, unfortunately it isn’t long before Team Monster starts to fall apart. It undoubtedly gets points for creativity, but it’s not long before it becomes obvious the game follows the tired pattern of familiar trimmings, including (of course) the hefty reliance on premium currency, a random monster lottery, the recognizable evolution system, and an incommodious energy mechanic. Both this and the free-to-play monetization are almost as problematic as each other, as only Crystals and Cash (in-game currency that looks like pearls) can be used to summon monsters, and these currencies can only be earned via achievements or replaying a certain level a repetitive number of times.

Team Monster is a game with potential, but these frustrating elements drain almost all of the fun away. Progression is slow and there is far too much emphasis on the free-to-play system for the game to really be worth sinking too much time into.


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