I wasn’t really part of the Pokemon generation. When the show started airing in Japan, I was living in Los Angeles which was home to several Japanese video stores, so I saw the first six or so episodes, bought some of the merchandise – let’s face it, them pokeymans is cute – and didn’t really pay much attention to the whole thing.
I also have never played any of the assorted Facebook games which revolve around making you wait to do things unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege of not waiting.
So, “Montowers ~Legend of Summoners~” is new to me in a couple of ways. It is a no-holds-barred cash grab designed to make you sweat and grovel for tokens, earned ever so slowly through game play but conveniently available in bulk lots in the in-app store, and it revoles around the catching and raising of various monsters to do your bidding and fight for you.
Also it falls neatly into the category of games I HAVE played an awful lot of over the years, that being games designed to pander to the basest instincts of man.
I don’t usually write pic-heavy posts, but it is just so darned convenient to take screenshots on the iPhone, I can’t resist. I warn you in advance.
The plot, as it were, of Montowers is that you’re a resident of a peaceful, bucolic land, just minding your own peaceful, bucolic business, when all of a sudden massive monster-filled towers pop right up out of the ground. Like daisies!
Obviously, you can’t stand for this, so your next order of business is to storm these towers, killing or enslaving the occupants of each floor with an eye towards making your peaceful, bucolic land all peaceful and bucolic again.
In this pursuit, you are aided by a peaceful, bucolic, demonic assistant with the traditional fashion sense of demonic assistants throughout literature, to wit:
Anyway, the basic gameplay of Montowers is pretty straightforward. First, you fight a bunch of different monsters:
The actual combat is pretty simple and you don’t have a lot of input. If you notice the little red area and the little golden circle up above? Well, the little gold circle bounces back and forth and you have to tap the screen when it passes over the red area. If you hit it just right, your monsters get to attack before the other guy.
Defeating an enemy monster gets you experience and very occasionally potions or tokens. If you’re lucky, you get to capture the monster you just fought. Kind of. What you actually capture is a “monster coin”, which can be turned into an actual monster through a summoning process which involves mining up raw materials and then hitting “summon” and waiting.
The cooler the monster, the longer the summoning time and the more raw materials you need to collect. These raw materials, by the way, have their own respawn timer, so you’re waiting for ther materials to respawn so you can start the actual summoning timer. So far, the longest summoning timer I’ve seen is 50 minutes.
These timers can, of course, be reduced or eliminated by spending tokens, which leads naturally to the aforementioned cash shop where you can load up for ever-so-reasonable fees.
Thankfully, all of these timers run in the background, even when you’re not playing, and the game integrates into the iOS notifications system – so you can, for instance, mine up all the available resources and then start summoning a monster from its coin, exit the game and eventually you’ll get a popup on the home screen telling you that you can mine for more stuff and collect your latest monster.
These same resources are used in increasing your monster’s level, which increases its attack rating and hit points – very useful stuff – and tends to either bolt on more and more protective armor – if it’s a male monster – or take said armor away if not.
I suppose, technically, a skeleton is about as gender-neutral as you can get, but I am classing it as a boy monster just because.
I’m not actually griping about this, mind you. I am firmly in the game’s target audience, after all.
The game supports the iPhone 4 retina display, so the art is all high resolution and pretty and stuff. Sadly it’s not an iPad app as well, but I suppose it’s really designed more to be the thing you’re carrying with you and occasionally interact with when it makes your phone chirp and ask for attention. Kind of like a tamagotchi, when you look at it like that, though it won’t actually starve to death and accuse you of being a bad parent.
In the final analysis, it is rather a satisfying experience. Leveling up your monsters and blowing through the ever-more-difficult tower levels is fun and – thus far – not terribly stressful, and collecting the monsters as you catch them ticks all the appropriate checkboxes in the part of the brain that likes to put all of your DVDs in alphabetical order and has a set of 50 state quarters in a little blue book.
It’s very slow paced, of course, due to all the timers, but once you actually get a few monsters summoned and raised you can go and fight other monsters as much as you like – there aren’t any artificial lockouts there. It’s not a social game, meaning that you’re not under pressure from your friends to pay-to-play more to catch up with them, so any buying of tokens is entirely dependent upon your own patience level.
I’d write more here, but I think my gathering timer is up. Got to get back to catching them all.