Kairosoft is back with a new game on the App Store, and it appears as though the studio is testing the free-to-play model with it. Beastie Bay [Free], as the new game is called, is a cartoony RPG that plays pretty similarly to Pokemon. Its twist is that it's also a city simulation game that tasks you with building structures to support your pocket monster fighting and collecting habit.

To our knowledge, this is the first time Kairosoft has launched a free game on the App Store. At this price, it appears you get access to the entire game. The drawback being you've got to look at ads. With a $4.99 IAP, however, you can remove the ads -- and enable landscape mode.

This is an interesting approach, as Beastie Bay will presumably get in a lot more hands than any other Kairosoft title ever has before. And the model appears to be for users, as there's no commitment upfront if you discover that the simulation isn't exactly clicking with you.

We'll be all over this one in the coming days, so stay tuned for a review.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002107668714 Давид Абабеков

    Pixelmon?

  • homosaur

    Been playing this on Android for awhile, very solid game. Like a cross between Pokemon and Dungeon Village.

  • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

    This is such a downer. I always respected Kairosoft for not taking the freemium approach. I loved knowing that whatever I bought had no pay to win, I had everything there was, and none of the mechanics were specifically designed to drain my bank account. I'm not saying this IS that, but it's definitely the risk. Regardless, they were always worth the ~$3. I'm sure they were probably leaving money on the table, but it was so refreshing.

    • homosaur

      You should try it before complaining, I never hit the point where I needed to buy stuff

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        You missed the point.

      • AWonton

        I think you missed the point of doing freemium right, which is what this is doing, no paying for power, no draining your bank account to beat the game, the "risk" isn't there if they don't cross that line.

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        I didn't say it wasn't (in fact I said the opposite). My point was that they avoided that path entirely until now (and doing very well with it from what I understand). Given their track record I'm sure this is worth the $5 they're asking to get rid of ads. My concern is more about what comes next. I'd just hate to see the same slippery slope we saw with ngmoco and others.

      • PallaZ

        You Sir, don't get the point.

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        Which is?

      • ratsinheat

        Yes you did say that. You called it "pay I win". You suuuuuck.

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        Read the whole statement... I was speaking generically about freemium, and in the next line stated that I'm not saying this specific game falls into to those traps (yet). Sometimes I forget how pointless it is to attempt adult conversations on [gaming] forums.

      • Benjamin Palmer

        I can definitely see your point. Sometimes its nice to play a game and not have to worry about whether or not you could be doing 'better' if you'd just pony up for whatever the IAP premium currency is. Yes, some games are designed well enough that isn't much an issue, but at the same time, with Kairosoft games in the past you never even had to consider that. Now it will have to be a consideration at the least.

    • http://twitter.com/phatbhuda Eric Ma

      I think you all missed the point: the game has no "Pay to Win" or Cash currency. It's ad supported. You can remove the ads with the IAP.

      • Benjamin Palmer

        It does say there's a 'Set of 100 medals' for $8.99 and 'Set of 200 medals' for $15.99 on the iTunes info. So, there's some cash currency. I don't know what its used for, but something is there.

      • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Fade to Slack

        You can easily farm medals after you beat the game. I picked it up on Android months ago. Not one bit of IAP was used, but I spent tens of hours playing it when I was making a guide.

      • MidianGTX

        The point is Kairosoft just can't stop releasing fugly games.

      • toxiccheese

        Beauty is subjective. I frankly enjoy their design and art style.

      • MidianGTX

        I've got nothing against their art style other than the UI being a bit uninspired and not matching the game artwork properly. My problem is their games being made for other platforms and then ported. You wouldn't stretch a renaissance painting to fit the wrong size frame, it'd be hideous, and it's got nothing to do with the quality of the original painting.

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        That's odd, because I see $9 and $16 options for 100 or 200 "medals"....

      • Retero

        That's odd. Infinity Blade has cheater's iAP too. Do you complain about that too. I don't as the point of bickering about iAP. If it doesn't affect the gameplay then don't pay for it. Some people like to give money to the developer too and this is also a way of "donating" money.

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        Yes, I'm absolutely willing to complain about "cheaters IAP". The reason I (and many others) dislike any IAP that influences the game is that quite often influences the game design as well. There are plenty of good articles written about it, and I'd just rather not see Kairosoft go down that path.

        If donating money is what it's for (which it isn't), then that could be better accomplished with a simple "donate" IAP. But I'm not sure how it qualifies as donating if you're buying something with it...

  • http://twitter.com/ThomaDaneau Thoma Daneau

    There goes my free time for the next week.

  • araczynski

    definitely will give it a try since it seems so similar to their dungeon village which i loved. though including 'pokemon' in the references is a big turnoff for me personally.

    curious to see if its tailored for the IAP or if the IAP is for the impatient.

    • homosaur

      For the extremely impatient later in the game. I never thought about purchasing the medals and have advanced quite far.

  • diovivente

    This isn't optimized for iPhone 5? How is that even possible at this point?

    • PallaZ

      Development started before the iPhone 5 release?!

    • ratsinheat

      Because the 5 is a fraction of the market.

      • JosephmWood

        Fraction of the market? Yeah, a large fraction. They didn't make it iPhone 5 because they make all their games in a certain format that adapts to all screens. They don't seem like a company that is on the 'cutting edge' of iPhone gaming so they don't care about adapting it to the iPhone 5 screen.

        Doesn't matter to me. Their games are amazing regardless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neal-L-Ensor/1664689766 Neal L Ensor

    Anyone got some suggestions or pointers to info about this game? Been playing the Japanese version for a while, but I feel like I'm just flailing around, still on the first island with 3 critters...

  • grits

    I like this model if I'm reading it right. So once you pay the five dollars there are no more IAP's?

    • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

      Yup, ditch the ads. If it stays this way I love it. If they take it further than that, not so good.

    • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

      Nope, there are $9 and $16 currency options.

  • Gamer_Kev

    It's always sad to see a good company start down that road. Freemium is really ruining mobile gaming, or at least for me anyway. It's one of the reasons I'm still on an older iPad as these days I'd rather pour my money into my gaming PC and consoles.

    • ratsinheat

      Just pay the price then. All it removes are ads. Not that big a deal...

      • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

        He's speaking more generally I believe, like I was. I agree completely.

    • http://twitter.com/phatbhuda Eric Ma

      This is not the negative type of "freemium". Try the game for free with ads or pay the free to get rid of them. It's like having a "lite" version and a full version all in one!

      • Ryan Bach

        There's also a premium currency that you can buy with a consumable IAP.

  • xzeldax3

    Kairosoft are genius for doing this. They will gather so many new people who will get sucked into the awesome world of their games.

    This isn't "Zenonia" freemium people, so stop complaining.

    • JosephmWood

      I agree completely. These are the best games in the AppStore and my friends never get their games because of the price. Now they will!

  • Dams

    Wow, first kairosoft game I will skip. I own all of them.

  • Stustaff

    Kairosoft should have sold this for $5.99 and just be done with it.
    They should also have had a free version available.

    Then if I like the free version I could buy the $5.99 one! They could then make someway of transferring my save over.

    Having one app so you don't have to transfer saves but that is free yet then costs $5.99 to get the adverts removed is RUINING GAMING FOR EVERYONE!

    I would have bought this for $5.99 but now won't get it free and pay $5.99 to remove the ads. FREEMIUM I HATE YOU AAAAAAHH.

    Idiots.

    • http://twitter.com/phatbhuda Eric Ma

      I don't get what's so horrible about paying $6 to upgrade your ad supported version.

      • DannyTheElite

        The reason they are doing this is because it will get them in the charts and people will say wow this is great I'm going to have a look at their other games - more sales
        (I paid for the ad remove)

    • homosaur

      They do have free versions of the games and they are time limited. I'd rather pay to remove ads than have the free versions be worthless. This criticism makes no sense.

  • http://twitter.com/phatbhuda Eric Ma

    This is the first of two (so far) ad supported Kairosoft games that they've localized for the US on the Android market. Looking forward to being able to play the Apartment building manager one too on my iPhone.

  • grits

    There is no difference to the consumer between this and just paying out right for the game. Anyone who complains I do not understand.

  • grits

    In fact, this is much better because you get to play the game for free to try it out or if you want, never Pay.
    No other iap??? If so then this is how all games should work?

  • Ariectus

    UH, the Ads aren't the only IAP, you can buy packs of "Medals" as well. That really sucks, I hate knowing I can just buy my way through a game instead of doing some grinding, that's why I loved Mega Mall Story and Astro Story so much. I was so excited about a pokemon kairosoft game =[

    • nicodemus82

      The medals are used to upgrade/purchase certain things in the shop. You do earn some in game as you play though and you never really need to purchase any. I completed the Japanese version without ever buying any IAP's

    • homosaur

      I have three islands open and have never once been low on or thought about purchasing these medals. I think these are exclusively for the small branch of players that have literally zero patience. Slippery slope, perhaps, but this game is fine.

  • E P

    Seems there's a lot of "Kairo" news today.

  • witedahlia

    I hate freemiums in general. This game however is fine because you are paying for an ad unlock. Yes I understand there are medals but you honestly don't need to buy them. My main complaint here is that they took so long to let me buy the stupid IAP unlock. I played for quite awhile but it kept saying "unlockable later in the game." I think they should just let you pay instantly and get it over with. I hate ads and had to look at them for way too long. I don't understand their thinking behind this. Love the game itself, though.

    • http://www.centercode.com Luke Freiler

      Simple - they get ad money AND sell the game. Win/Win, for them (not us).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6844547 Lars Kelley

    FYI. I beat the entire game without paying a dime (I played the jp version). Think of it as a premium game with ads.

  • EZ Ice

    Cool game although my only complaint so far, I really like their pixel art, but I really don't like the weird clean user interface, it doesn't have the same charm.

  • grits

    Let me preface this by saying I've been playing games for 25 years beat dark souls and many other difficult games. So I'm not a newbie. I tried to play this game and sat there for 10 minutes clicking around with no idea what to do and finally I just had to turn it off I literally was not able to do anything except place some random buildings.
    This has to be the worst tutorial in any game.

  • skinnyceps

    I want to try this now :D
    Downloading!

  • WarMachine

    This looked so half-assed when I tried it. And a cursor? Is this a half asses port or half-assed game.

  • EZ Ice

    After playing a little more, i'm agreeing with grits post....kind random stuff to do, nothings really clear...and im really not into their bad UI visuals or design. Weak.

    Dungeon Village is sooo much better than this. I won't be paying or playing any more of this...

  • http://twitter.com/deathfisaro Ken Lee

    I played this for weeks because I got it from the Japanese store.

    The downside of the ad bar is that you don't get to see the status bar so you have to home out if you want to check the time or your batteries remaining. I don't mind it at all.

    As for the medals, you don't really need it. Upgrading items increase stats by a negligible margin and the actually more relevant upgrades like survival items cost too much normal resources (food and lumber) for medals to matter. (Even if you buy medals as IAP, you can't instamax everything and feel like new game+, it will actually take multiple playthroughs for completion (yarikomi) regardless.

    The game gives you 1 medal for every 7 minutes (IIRC) of idle playing time and that's just shy of however much you actually need for a comfortably overpowered team which means that's about the perfect amount for your first playthrough at least.