Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MonTowers: Legend of Summoners

I've always been a pokemon fan, and had a tendency to gravitate to monster collecting games. So it was natural that was one of the first things i looked for to download when i got my ipad. Sadly though, the amount and quality of the offer in monster games lacks in comparison with Nintendo's powerhouse.

This week though i discovered a small island in that vastness of desolation: MonTowers.
A small casual menu based game that promises hundreds of monsters to collect and some hours of fun for a small price.
Beautiful anime graphics and easy to play.


MonTowers setting is nothing spectacularly creative. You take the role of a summoner in his quest to be the master of all monsters while climbing up various towers with a monster challenger in each floor. To do so you will have to capture and summon the monsters you've defeated to fight by your side (well, more like fight for you). 

In order to summon the captured monsters or upgrade them you will have to head to the field to collect the elements you will need to perform the summoning, consuming a little of your energy on the process. You can also mix monsters into new ones by combinng them with the appropiate recipe, as well as upgrading the monsters through 3 levels each one.

Combining monsters adds some unique monsters that can't be found in any other way.
With your summoned monsters you can now head to the towers themselves, where combat will await. Three of your monsters will face an overpowered version of one monster on each floor. Unlike pokemon, your monsters don't have attacks you can choose nor types that produce extra damage. They do have abilities  that affect their combat performance though, like improved defense, regeneration, double attack and so on.

Your interaction in combat is limited to heal your monsters when they are in need and determining initiative by playing a small tapping minigame which is a bit pointless unless your monsters are close to be dead.
Tap the ball in the red area to pwn the sexy Mummy.
Even being bland, the combat manages to be thrilling just by the fact that a monster's death is actually a death and not a fainting, effectively removing him from your summoners list. So you will have to be keeping a balance between using to much of your limited potions or letting die that monster that took a lot of resources to raise to Master level.   

Time Attacks

If you are familiar with menu games you should already knew the hateful timing mechanic that they use to control your gameplay time. Usually you have to spend energy to perform actions that let you advance on the game, thus when you are depleted on energy you can do nothing, nada, rien, until waiting a set amount of time for your energy to refill. Montowers uses this timing concept for energy and monster regeneration but in a way so subtle that it wont make you just stop playing but instead keep you coming for more. 
Your ability to collect materials is limited by time. So you have to play carefully.
Energy is not linked to the fact of you actually climbing the tower, so you are free to fight and farm as you please on the towers without that hindrance. Instead energy controls how many resources you can extract from the field, thus conditioning your ability to summon and upgrade monsters. As your monsters progressively look weaker as you climb higher, due to enemies growing stronger every floor, you will find yourself cautious to risk the next challenges without appropiate companions, thus backtracking to easier levels for monsters you didnt manage to capture on your first fight. 

This is a nice strategy, because the game does not deny you the chance to play but instead puts a great challenge with a great risk on you with the promise that you will be able to overcome it in some time, what makes you keep coming in to fight that monster later. And if you are in really need of energy you can also buy it with tokens you get as a reward from quests ingame.

The fact that monsters die and are not supposed to be equiparable in fighting qualities between them makes creates the need to be constantly changing your teams ranks as you progress throught the towers. This removes the attachment of other games with the creatures and keeps the game changing, unlike pokemon where once your team is firmly stablished you will rarely go through all the trouble to train replacements.

Be ready to keep a team storage of 10 or more monsters to endure heavy damage through  stages

Art and Character Design

The game description says that the game has about 220 monsters. Well, that won't be accurate per pokemon standards as each of the monsters has three levels of evolution that, while retaining the name, vary on the visuals, having different clothes or physical aspect (female monsters have a tendency to get sexier as they level up). This sums up a grandtotal of 660 monsters where you certainly are to find some that meet your likes.

Despite the main idea being bland the artistic department is fantastic and reminds me of other great anime style games like Fantasy Defense. Graphics are clean and sharp, and monsters are drawn expertly and full of detail. Attacks also have nice animations on the style of old first person view rpg's. Only the poor summoner's assistant seems to not stand to the overall level of greatness as her face seems blurry during animations.

One of my favourite features is the gallery mode. A place where you can view all monsters you have collected on full screen with up to 4 different backgrounds. Having the iphone/ipad the ability to screenshot means you can save the pics of every monster you collected. 

As all monsters are classic rpg monsters and PC classes (you wont see any bizarre turtle with cannons and the likes) and mantain an artistic coherence as they rank up, this is an awesome monster database for pen and paper rpg masters out there. I would love to see more backgrounds for the gallery, maybe inspired from the tower's backgroungs.
A Master level Living Doll shows his sexyness in fullscreen.


As a casual monster catching/taming game this totally gets my seal of approval. Can't do nothing but love sexy monstergirls and games that drain your life away. A fair warning though: as a casual game you might find yourself playing more than you should.

I hope this company pushes this idea further in future games and shows us a game with more options during battle, but they certainly have a headstart on quality and quantity of monsters.

The game is now priced at 1$ so if you are into monsters collecting or rpg it would be a shame not to try it. If you are not into this niches though you might not find any appeal on it (unless you are a 4chan denizen and you are looking for sexy monstergirls)


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