Game worth checking out: Neo Monsters

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By Sanglorian 3 Feb 2018 08:36

Champion · 491 comments

Neo Monsters

Neomonsters has surprised and impressed me. Initially i assumed it would be simplistic and obsessed with monetisation. I found the interface baffling and many elements totally unnecessary - or implemented so lazily as to be useless.

Now, after quite a few hours of play, i am fascinated with a great deal of things that it does differently from other games. A lot of the choices seem to be deliberately chosen to make the game easier to program, but there are lessons there for Tuxemon too.

In Neomonsters, the player starts with a base of operations: a ranch. Altho there is a top down overland map in some parts of the game, most parts of the game are point-and-click, through a GUI with buttons and lists.

For example, I can train my monsters, pursue a number of different storylines and engage in challenging puzzle battles all without travelling on the overland map.

In fact, the overland map is something of a disappointment. Really its only purpose is to provide pacing, so there is at least a risk of random encounters between qualifying battles.

On the other hand, the side quests and other storylines are really interesting. They're just displayed in lists, with each stage in the quest having dialogue and a battle. The plot - which involves time travel, a murder mystery and a lot of suspense - is actually pretty compelling, and you can explore different elements of it at your own pace by choosing which storylines you pursue at any particular time.

This must make new content very easy to make: just set dialogue and the battle for each stage, and the story's done. You could support any number of stories this way, without worrying about where to place them on the map.

There's also stand alone stories where you're given a fixed team. These are fascinating because they are tests of skill and problem solving - you can't just grind till your team is over levelled.

Another element is that a number of stories let you bring along a monster borrowed from anyone else who's currently online. That lets you try out other monsters.

There are no in battle items, and your monsters heal between most battles. Captures are still suspenseful, despite not consuming an item, because if the capture fails then that monster cannot be caught. Often, this is more gripping to watch than a Pokeball, since you can usually throw another.

All monsters of a particular type have the same four or fewer moves.  There are also abilities that can trigger,  including when the monster enters battle or is knocked out.  The game also highlights moves that have conditions that are currently met,  like ones that are only usable after the monster has been in battle a certain time.

Monsters fight up to four against four,  and you can have about 16 on your team. Each move puts the monster back in the initiative order a certain number of seconds - so the upcoming monsters order can change with each move.

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I think Neo Monsters is a template we should seriously consider for any spin off games we create. It is simpler than Pokemon in many ways that are conducive to programming, stripping away a lot of sub-systems. It is also extensible in a way that suits a community project: any number of related, partly related or unrelated storylines can be added very elegantly to Neo Monsters; the same cannot be said for Pokemon.

Add in the layout and mobile-friendliness of Dynamons World, and you'd have a compelling game!