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Feb 18, 2013Zuko Monsters, by Goodbeans GmbH, is a mobile role-playing game. It unleashes various collectible monsters, each of which has a particularZuko Monsters, by Goodbeans GmbH, is a mobile role-playing game. It unleashes various collectible monsters, each of which has a particular “type,” and each of which also has types that they are strong and weak against. As you climb the game levels one by one, you will see the monsters gaining strength and learn a variety of new abilities. The game follows a story and the game levels can be completed, by collecting as many monsters as possible and battling against other human players.
The game resembles Pokémon. But unfortunately, lacks a Pokémon’s charm. The biggest drawback of Zuko Monsters is that the role-playing exploration side of gameplay which is dull feels like an afterthought and more often than not is simply an excuse to put very artificial-seeming barriers in the way of the player. Unfolding from an isometric perspective, the player simply taps on “hotspots” around the area to interact with them, and their non-customizable (but re-namable) avatar simply appears at the relevant location rather than actually walking or running around the area. Hotspots range from specific characters that can be battled against to locations where monsters can be assigned to complete passive “missions” to level them up without engaging in combat. The gameplay progress is limited by a specific obstacle which requires a specific type of monster to overcome. Luckily, the monster required tends to be readily available in the conveniently-marked bushes around the area, and all it takes to be able to progress is to capture it by weakening it in battle and then using your “capture gauntlet” to add it to your arsenal. Some monsters require more than one “charge” of the capture gauntlet and thus the player must ensure that their team of monsters in the battle are not defeated in the meantime, but if they find themselves struggling all they need to do is go back to an earlier area and level-grind a little to power their monsters up or simply buy some new ones. Fortunately, the battle aspect of Zuko Monsters fares considerably better than the exploration part. Rather than taking the “hands off” approach to combat as seen in a frustrating number of mobile games, Zuko Monsters allows the player full control over their monsters’ abilities in a turn-based battle. Each monster has their own selection of actions that they can perform in battle, with each costing a particular amount of energy to perform. If the monster runs out of energy, the player must perform basic attacks to regain energy. Special attacks, meanwhile, trigger a “quick-time event” where players must tap on several on-screen circles before they disappear to increase the power of the attack the skill still triggers even if all are missed, but hitting all of them makes it considerably more effective, and the effectiveness is increased further if the attacking monster is of an opposing type to the defender. Players may also switch out monsters at the cost of a turn if their current one is not doing the job this happens automatically (and does not waste a turn) if the current monster is incapacitated.
Social features include Facebook connectivity, which is used both to optionally log in to the game and to invite friends via Timeline post, and Game Center support for online multiplayer battles. It’s also possible for two devices to have a local multiplayer battle, though this is only possible via Bluetooth rather than direct Wi-Fi connection.
Overall, Zuko Monsters isn’t a bad game and it’s actually one of the better Pokémon wannabes on iOS sadly, that’s not saying all that much, however, as the definitive social monster-catching role-playing experience is still the one to be had on Nintendo’s handhelds.… Full Review »