Price: FREE ($6.99 to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.6
App Reviewed on: iPad Mini
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
I'm a pretty big board game fan, so when I saw Boss Monsterfor the iPad I immediately wanted to check it out.It's based on Brotherwise Games' retro-style card game where you assume the role of the big bad boss at the end of a dungeon. Your job is to build a formidable dungeon to kill off any heroes who wander in looking for treasure.
The iOS port is pretty faithful to the original. You're randomly assigned a boss monster, each of which has its own level-up ability - such as Cerebellus who lets you draw three Spell cards, then discard a Spell card when you gain a level. Your dungeon has five spaces for rooms, and when you've filled them you gain a level. Each room of your dungeon shows how much damage it does, what kind of loot it offers heroes, and its special ability.
Every hero wants a different type of loot, such as the rogues being particularly fond of gold, so balancing deadliness with the enticing nature of treasure can be tough. When you kill an adventurer you gain their soul, and when you reach 10 souls you win. But if the hero manages to get through your traps and monsters, he'll deal damage to your boss. Five or more wounds and you lose.
One of the unfortunate things in this version is the long tutorial. 24 pages of text is excessive, and it would have been more fun and a whole easier to follow if it had just been a playable tutorial - my eyes glazed over after page 6. Thankfully I already knew what to do from having played the card game, but figuring out how to do it was a different creature entirely. There are cards such as the Construction Room with a special ability that lets you build a second room, but the game doesn't ask what room you want to build. It's all too easy to hit Done by mistake and miss out on building that second room.You have to be diligent in remembering to use your powers, or else you’ll end up losing a lot by accident.
For a digital version, Boss Monster is pretty good. The art is a fun retro pixel style and includes the 8 original bosses. It's great if you really love the card game but don’t have anyone to play with. Here you can play against an AI, or if you unlock the full game you can play online with two to four players. There's also a pass-and-play option, but once again, that's only available in the full version. It also appears that Plain Concepts is looking to release several expansions in the future, so there'll be plenty to purchase if you fall in love with this port.
Boss Monster is pretty solid if a tiny bit tedious. You need to really pay attention and be careful with what you play, but once you have it memorized it's pretty fun.