Buffstone’s MonTowers takes a familiar theme—collecting monsters and fighting them against one another—and wraps it up in a delightfully addictive iOS app package that’s visually appealing and impossible to put down.
One part sorcerer, one part scientist, one part monster fighting fan, you’ll follow your pretty (but monstrous) assistant’s tutorials to learn create your own stable of ferocious battle beasts. With these, you’ll take on the MonTowers themselves: towers which boast a different magical champion at each level. Your own monsters will do battle with each champion to ascend the Towers in order (Novice, Dark, Blood, Doom, Brutal, Demon, and Hell). Some battles will award you special items, the most coveted being new monster coins. Each collectible monster coin can be combined with elemental gemstones in order to summon the monster it depicts. Once summoned, that new monster is ready to train and help you further your conquests.
MonTowers is essentially menu-based, with the exception of the interactive combat mode. There are three main areas: the field where you collect gems, the lab, and the towers themselves. Reaching each area is as simple as swiping from another area’s main screen. Pop-up menus manage most tasks within each area. When in combat with another monster, however, MonTowers includes an engaging interactive element to increase your chance to score critical hits. Below the target monster is a bar with an indicator which rolls horizontally back and forth. When the indicator reaches the critical shot area, the player taps to initiate the attack. The speed of the indicator and placement of the critical zone vary from monster to monster. This feature makes the combat aspect far more engaging, and it’s one thing that keeps MonTowers from feeling like a thinly veiled card game.
There are a huge variety of monsters in the game, and each can be upgraded twice. Aside from the obvious satisfaction of eking higher stats out of your established monsters, the upgrades are fun because the monsters’ appearances change as well. They become more complex, more detailed, and more evolved with each upgrade. The sheer number of different monster types multiplied by their different incarnations after each upgrade makes collecting the monsters and looking forward to training them positively habit-forming. No sooner do you glimpse a new tower’s champions than you start wanting them in your own lab.
The look of the game is one of its major strong points. While we’re calling them all “monsters” in this review, the range of creatures designed for collection in this game is far beyond generic monsters. All manner magical and supernatural creatures make up the monster selection, from sexy elementals to creepy zombies to adorably deadly deadly fairyfolk. And of course, all types of beasties. Each has been well designed, with oodles of detail.
Buffstone’s MonTowers is at first glance an unassuming “collect ‘em all.” But quality, polish, and creativity of design sell this one. It’s available now in the iTunes App Store, for only $0.99.