Every iOS game has a story behind its development, but the one behind MinoMonsters [$0.99] may have been one you've already heard if you pay attention to iOS news. Like that the guys that founded the company that made the game are some of the youngest game designers to score an investment of this size for their project ( a cool million, to be exact), but they have some meaty people on board too, such as TJ Murphy, who co-founded the Social Gaming Network. In other words, MinoMonsters has a hell of a pedigree. And with that kind of story behind it, well, it's hard not to expect one hell of a game.

Luckily, the final product is pretty stellar. MinoMonsters operates off the Pokemon strategy, as it puts you in the role of an (unseen) hero who collects adorable creatures and trains them to fight on your behalf as you progress through a lush world populated by a series of different stages. The game looks like a comic book in action, and is absolutely gorgeous to play -- definitely a standout when it comes to what's on the App Store. There are tons of cute titles out there, but MinoMonsters looks and plays like a really handsome action RPG. Since I love that genre, I was instantly hooked on the combination of monster training and exploring.

Speaking of how it plays, there are four worlds to explore, and you'll start simply with only one Mino by your side. As you explore the worlds, you'll have a small log at the top of your screen that lists your quests. Some are fetch quests a'la MMO style (fight this many guys, etc), but others will have you looking for a big Mino to save or other such quests. When you get one of these latter quests, there will be a circular icon with a tiny arrow attached to it to help you navigate your way towards it with more ease.

Movement is flawless -- with the exception of the back home and quest icons at the top middle of the screen, there are not a lot of buttons to contend with. Each world is made up of a series of platforms you'll jump between to move around, and when you land on one with a Mino on it, a fight ensues. You can either engage in the fight by tapping the Mino with your finger for a normal attack or choosing a special attack from the bottom of the screen.

However, to do so, you'll need to earn lightning bolt icons to fill up that bar. Every time you get a hit in, the enemies will drop hearts, lightning bolts, and stars. These respectively fill up your life bar, your special attack bar, and your experience rating post fight. The way the enemies drop these works very well too, as it allows you to keep fighting. It's also worth mentioning that the more care you take with your Minos, the better they will perform in fights for you -- something I'll explain next here.

At any time in your explorations, you can touch the home button up top and find yourself on the Mino island. You'll see the Minos you have equipped, and be able to interact with them by touching them. Each will have an icon over its head to tell you how comfortable it is feeling with you. In order to make the Minos happy, you need to periodically come to the island and make sure you feed them goodies. When you have the opportunity to after some time exploring, there will be a heart over their heads, and you can touch it and feed them a slew of hearts and smile faces. This warms them to you and makes them better fighters. If you neglect coming to this screen, they will come to like you less and less.

This screen also has the shop on it, which will enable you to purchase new monsters, collars for them to toughen them up, gems to make them more powerful, and candy, which is what you feed Minos in order to capture them. These are all microtransactions, so you'll have to spend real money if you want to do any of this.

You are given some candy to start the game off with, but once you run out, you'll have to wait one day in-game to get 5 more. You also use these to run in battles, which means that it's fairly easy to run out of them quickly. This was one part of MinoMonsters I did not care for. I do not like feeling forced to participate in microtransactions, but considering how integral the candy is to gameplay, it seems to me that it would have been nice to at least find one in boxes from time to time. However, the MinoMonsters team have mentioned on their Facebook page that they will be adding an update in the future that will make candy easier to earn, so it's nice to see the developers on top of user feedback and aiming to please.

My only other complaint is that I think MinoMonsters needed more music. The sound effects are fine, but it made no sense to me that the overworld and the Mino island was silent. I actually looked to make sure I didn't mute something. It's a small bone to pick, but with a world as enchanting as this one at your fingertips, it seems it would have only been further enhanced by music to make that atmosphere a place you want to spend that much more time in.

You can play MinoMonsters alone just fine, but the creators really intended it to be an experience you share with friends. You can use the friends button to add Facebook friends, and once you do, that's when you can start pitting your monsters against your friends' monsters. I am solo gamer for the most part, but I can easily see how battling your friends could become something I wanted to do a lot.

I think MinoMonsters has the potential to become a pretty big deal. It's in a hell of a package, and it's clear that the developers want to continue expanding the world and building upon what they have. They have been clear in interviews that they would like this game to be the next Angry Birds, which is a lofty goal. However, I enjoyed it a great deal more than I did Angry Birds, so take from that what you will. At the price, I consider it a must-download, as it's easily some of the most fun I've had with an iOS title in some time.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.facebook.com/OoOoOomonkey John Usher

    I've really enjoyed minomonsters. The only complaints are the length and the level cap of 20 but as the devs are going to be updating this (hopefully a lot) I can see this being a huge hit.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed John. The Devs seemed to concentrate on a quality core to start with even if it's light on content.

      Other games like Monster Ranch/Geosociety and Monster Galaxy have tons more monsters, trading, evolutions, storyline, etc but they suck IMO.

      I really hope we see evolutions starting at level 21 (maybe why they capped it at 20), universal support with iCloud syncing, trading and Game Centre integration.

      But if anyone's considering it, definitely a fun game as it is right now and it's on for free right now.

  • Anonymous

    After a 20-hour flight, I clumsily bought LostMoshling instead of this, and wondered why it was so different to the way the review described the game. Woke up and realised it wasn't the same game...haha. Looking forward to playing the real game now, after I put down GTA3, that is...

  • http://twitter.com/davidvidalb David Vidal

    nice graphics!

  • http://www.facebook.com/thanhtv8790 Thành Chậm Chạp

    please add me 7A6CDCFD135C8484, I will add all of u again, thank so much 

  • http://www.facebook.com/riju.john.18 Riju John

    Add me

MinoMonsters Reviewed by Colette Bennett on . Rating: 4