What happens when you combine elements of World of Warcraft and Fable? Something like Monster Fights for the iPhone. But before you get excited, don’t take that comparison too literally, as it’s just a starting point to elaborate from. In the classic battle of man versus monster, you assume the role of the monster, fighting off a horde of human foes not particularly happy to see you. Original? Not so much. But originality doesn’t necessarily need to get in the way of a good game.
Monster Fights doesn’t provide any context as to why you’re invading the towns of villagers. You just do it. Along the way, you’re going to kill, destroy and tumble over anything that gets in the way. The monster you command is enormous relative to the humans, and the only way they can seriously hurt you is via crowd attacks.
This tree camouflage idea isn’t working.
Maneuvering your monster is executed by using on-screen controls, but it feels very slow and imprecise. We get that monsters are supposed to be huge and slow, but this one feels like it’s walking through quicksand. Obligatory functions to jump, attack, and foot stomp are also included. Combinations of those different functions launch special attacks and trigger a ‘Rage’ state that packs on additional damage.
These controls would feel better if not for the collision detection and clipping issues. While the hit zones are fairly generous, the lack of precision will cause suspect deaths, especially during boss battles. The foundation is here, but Monster Fights could definitely stand for some tweaks to make the experience tighter.
Outside of the control problems, the camera and perspective adds frustration too. Your monster obscures the view of oncoming villagers and dogs, and you’ll frequently wonder who’s draining your energy. There is not a free flowing camera that’s adjustable on the fly, and we sorely missed it. This problem is especially exacerbated by the game’s ridiculous difficulty level.
Time for a power fist.
We don’t mind a hard game, but we do mind a game that’s cheap and unfair on the normal difficulty level. From the second stage and above, the game brutally throws waves of enemies at you. Watching the humans maneuver around with such ease and fluidity made us jealous; our monster isn’t nearly as nimble. Also, humans require upwards of 5-6 blows before they die. When you’re getting swarmed by 10-15 of these guys while you’re fighting the boss, you’ll be dead before you can say ‘What the fu’¦’
The comparison we made to those other franchises is primarily aesthetic. Yeah, there are some mild RPG elements like leveling up health capacity, but that’s about it. Monster Fights isn’t the most technically sound game you’ll ever see, but we enjoyed the colorful medieval worlds. We also liked the ethereal music– it sounds like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Games like Monster Fights are frustrating because they’re so close to being all-around solid games. A few more weeks of development time could have easily helped smooth the rough edges here. If you want to play the monster, try Wackylands Boss instead.