Spoiler alert! Monster Life outdoes its social network game competitors for sure activity, with breeding as well as fighting, but in the end it fails to fuel player passions. Three Stars.
It's possible that Monster Life will be a lot of fun for players with little or no experience with social network games, but, for all of its cuteness and color, players weary (and even leery) of yet another game asking them to fork over real dollars to grow their menagerie will lose interest quickly.
My main concern is the lack of an independent social network to store player data. I've had three games I actually like totally wipe my scores (and every thing else I earned) from game center with no way to restore them. There is no way I intend to invest effort in yet another game that could reset me to zero in a few weeks.
Monster Life does its best to combine cuddly with killing skills, an effort that rarely succeeds. Players breed monsters to defend their kingdoms from invaders. They feed them, pet them, play with them and then let them kick the shit out of each other in a number of training arenas. You can heal your injured monsters, but sooner or later you have to buy the healing gems.
If this screenshot looks familiar, you've played a game like this before. Probably several of them. Monster Life challenges players to build and expand their monster farm. You buy items from the store and upgrade them. Oh, yes, and spend lots of money if you keep playing.
You hatch them, of course, and then nurture them until they're mature enough to move into a habitat which you have to buy for them. Clearly these monsters are of a generation that never intends to make it on their own. You also develop a theme park with statues and attractions to lure tourists and pay the little monsters' huge feeding bills.
The sheer amount of activity to engage players suggests to me that social network games are starting to lose their luster. This should hardly be surprising. I've watched a number of good games simply be discontinued by their developers for lack of player demand. Which is another reason why I can't recommend investing in one. While it's frustrating to have a game you've spend money to play suddenly crash, it's even more frustrating when the developer tells you they're taking your money and running.
In a new twist on the social network game motif, you can send your creatures off to train and enhance their combat skills with head-to-head confrontations.
There is a lot to like about Monster Life. The characters are endearing, and the graphics fun to watch. The developers went all out on animation and it paid off. I just can't see it competing with the best of the games that have gone before.
I think game developers might be better off adding modules to games players have invested heavily in, rather than asking them to start from scratch and waste another fortune (probably bankrolled by unsuspecting parents).
Jenny Manytoes rates Monster Life
Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to Monster Life. It's okay, but if you want to spend money, you want better than okay.
The Jenny Manytoes Rating System
Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
- When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she's in heaven.
- When Jenny purrs over a product she's very happy.
- When Jenny naps next to a product it's okay with her.
- When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
- When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don't think I need to explain this one.