Monsters Invade: Oz (Free) by LittleBox is almost like Pokemon on iOS. Nintendo may never bring their first-party titles to Apple, but other developers can.
I have spent hours on my 3DS playing Pokemon White and White 2. The fun of collecting Pokemon, battling them, and saving the world is just too much fun. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that such adventure will ever come to iOS (thanks, Nintendo), but thankfully there are other third-party developers who are up to the job. And Monsters Invade: Oz is such a title.
First off, I am in love with the graphics — these hand-drawn environments (and characters) are beautiful, colored, and lush. The game has smooth-as-butter animations, and the game menus are easy enough to understand. The soundtrack is also fantastic, as it is energetic and helps get you pumped up for the game itself. Who doesn’t want some fast-paced music to go along with their adventure instead of some slow stuff?
The game is set in the World of Oz, and you must stop the Wicked Witch. Sound familar, right? Except this time, she just has every creature under her control and you must save and gather them for the ultimate battle. These monsters will fight you randomly on the map, but you are able to capture them and train them to be on your side. They will also evolve once they meet their requirements, becoming even stronger and cooler looking.
The game will start out with a brief tutorial of how to play the game. You will move your character around on the map with your finger — simply tap where you want her to go, or keep your finger on the screen to continue running. Monsters will not show up on the map, but you will randomly run into them, a la Final Fantasy style.
Battles are turn-based, but will require a mini-game of sorts in order to do the most damage. To attack, you will need to tap on the button in the bottom right corner, and then it starts up the mini rhythm game. You need to tap on the dial when the pointer is in the green area, and this will happen three times, going faster with each one. Once you have tapped them, a spinner comes up showing how much damage you will do, such as 2X or 5X. Your monster will then attack, and then it is the enemies turn. You can also use items to heal your monster, and still attack. You can also switch out your current monster for another one, or throw the book to capture a weakened creature.
There are also power-ups available that you can use to make battles easier on you, but these will consume gold bars. The amount of gold bars, as well as energy (blue bottles) are shown at the top, as well as how many books you have remaining. If you are running low, the game encourages you to get more through in-app purchases, which annoys me. At least there is the fact that you do get some chances in the game that will allow you to get more of these items, though they are not too common — a lot of time must be spent playing in order to get a handful of them.
To keep things interesting, there are also “quests” in the game for you to complete, which will reap rewards, like more gold bars and capture tomes. A new quest will replace the one you completed, so there’s a lot to look forward to, as well as six complete worlds and over 100 monsters.
There is Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, which add to the replay value. Leaderboards are based on how many monsters you’ve collected, and there are 28 achievements to obtain.
I found the game to be pretty fun and amazing, but the thing that bothered me the most were the obnoxious in-app purchases, and the fact that you need to have gold bars to get power-ups. And the annoying Facebook login window to get some free gold bars will keep showing up if you say no — I mean, no means no. These tiresome methods of pushing IAPs kind of tarnished the game for me.
I still recommend checking out Monsters Invade: Oz if you’re looking for a beautiful monster capture-and-battle type game for iOS, though, but you’ve been warned about the push for IAPs.