A few months back we had an interesting discussion about another game in the monster-catching genre, EvoCreo.
This time, I've been playing Dynamons World, a free-to-play (with microtransactions) mobile game.
The first thing that stands out is that this has been designed as a micro-transactions mobile game. There's two in-game resources, gold and gems. Gold can be bought for money (or you can get a small amount by watching an ad). You can buy gems with gold, or win them (slowly) in the game. You spend gold on items, and gems on healing your monsters and levelling them up.
EvoCreo included a few microtransactions, but they had clearly been bolted on. Dynamons World is built around microtransactions, so the game already has a feel very different to what we'd want for Tuxemon.
That said, there are some very interesting features in Dynamons World that I've observed:
They use a type pentagram like us! Although their system is that you resist damage against the same elements that you do extra damage against, and you resist two elements and do extra damage against two elements. That leaves just skills of your own element and skills with no element ("Normal") that do the standard amount of damage. However, every monster has lots of Normal skills, so you will be doing unmodified damage most of the time. Monsters only ever learn skills from their own element and Normal skills.
The element chart is:
Grass > Lightning > Water > Dark > Fire > Grass
With every type resisting the two in front of it and weak to the two behind it (so Water resists Dark and Fire and is weak to Lightning and Grass).
There isn't really a map/overland. There are different areas on a world map, and you can travel to those areas as they unlock. When you travel to an area, you are on a point on the map that's connected to a network of other points that you can click to.
The game has a very simple plot (or no plot at all), but I don't think that's the fault of this simple map structure.
There's a card system for skills (i.e. moves/techniques). As a monster levels up, they add skills to their deck of skills. Often they'll be skills the monster already has, so they'll have e.g. 2 x Scratch, 2 x Power Up, x1 Fireball, and they'll level up and get 1 x Burn and 1 x Scratch.
At the start of combat, you get dealt three skills. Each round, when you use one, you get dealt another one.
There's a little bit of tactics involved, e.g. do I use Power Up now and risk getting knocked out before I make an attack, or make an attack now knowing it won't do enough damage to knock out the enemy? But it's not very impressive - even though I think there's something there in the card-based system.
You can bring three monsters into each battle with you. All the rest can be swapped into your team of three at any other time. Monsters take time to heal based on how much damage they have, so if you've been fighting a few battles you might have to use your weaker monsters - or browse Facebook for 10 minutes until you get a notification that everyone's healed up.
(Or you can pay to quick-heal them).
Buffs and debuffs displace each other. So if you're Sick (i.e. poisoned), you can use Power Up to get the temporary Powered Up buff. Woo! You're no longer Sick. Of course, it works the other way as well: you can make your enemy waste their Power Up by making them Sick before they get a chance to use it.
Like a lot of the game, this is pretty simplistic in practice ... but I think it shows promise. Imagine if you had a system of terrain, buffs, attacks and blocks (or something). Your enemy might be setting up a devastating attack that depends on having Lava terrain. You foil him by using Rain Dance, which changes the terrain to Slick! Or maybe you give yourself a Buff, Flying, that means you're not touching the ground and therefore can't be affected by certain forms of attack, including the ones that work well with Lava terrain. But your enemy has anticipated this, and Poisons you, so you lose Flying, and now you're vulnerable to his next attack.
This works well with the card-based system Dynamons World uses, because you can't spam the same skill over and over.
The game is just designed really nicely for mobile.
I have a few others, but I don't want to overwhelm you all at once.
Has anyone else played any of the Dynamons games? What did you think?
I used to play a lot of MTG (magic the gathering) and have a soft spot for games like that. It would be fun to incorporate elements of it into TXMN. It would be easy to lose core aspects of the genre though, where there are set skills and simple turn based combat, a nice story, and map exploration.
In Final Fantasy 8, there was a card mini-game (I'm sure other games have them too...). Maybe some Dungeon Crawls use the card-based combat, or you can enter into Card Tournaments. In FF8, you had to find people to play with you, that could be fun to add. Maybe allow your player to collect cards and you play the card game in TXMN with other NPCs or players in multiplayer.
As far as microtransactions go, I'm not opposed to it for a official multiplayer server, to support art commissions, feature programming, and hosting costs.
I've been thinking it'd be fun to write a Tuxemon boardgame or miniatures game or card game or something, not to include in the video game but just as something fun to take advantage of all the characters and monsters that we've designed.
Here are some of the other interesting features I've observed in Dynamons World.
They have an Aim stat that affects accuracy (although I'm not sure exactly how, and there's no Evasion stat that Aim is compared against). ShadowApex suggested this feature for Tuxemon.
They use only Attack and Defence as the other stats. The player always acts first (one player), and a coin is flipped when it's two player.
I have to say, collapsing Melee and Ranged into one stat and Armour and Dodge into one stat has occurred to me from time to time. However, I think keeping them separate does offer an interesting other area for team building.
It uses vector art rather than pixel art. I think it works very nicely, and vector assets are more adaptable. (Obviously I don't think Tuxemon should switch!)
Items don't take a turn to use. As a consequence, they have smaller effects. I think this is also to encourage them being used more often, since they can also be bought via microtransactions.
I also think the names are cute: Focus Fongus (improve Aim), Powder Pepper (improve Attack), Bunker Berry (improve Defence) and Rage Root (give Rage, which is a buff).
There are also items that give you a new skill (technique) for one battle. That seems pretty interesting, although I haven't used them yet.
You get a prize when you've caught all the monsters found in a particular area. There are variations of some monsters, e.g. in the winter area one of the monsters is wearing a cardigan. A bug is Wood type in one area but Water type in another.
There's an option to share on social media every time you catch a monster, win an important battle, etc.
If we ever make a mobile-focused follow up to Tuxemon, I think there's a lot that could be learned from Dynamons World. Its focus on microtransactions definitely comes at the expense of game play, but aside from that the game feels very satisfying to play on the mobile - it's clearly designed for touch rather than a keypad, for example.