Pokemon is one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world, but Nintendo is not bringing a version to iOS any time soon. That allows third party developers to attempt to fill the void, and a few have tried, with Monster Legacy being the latest. You can tell from the outset that the developers, Outplay Entertainment, really focused on the Pokemon mentality when designing Monster Legacy. You’re given a 2D adventure game where you get to travel distant lands in search of new monsters while battling an evil force. The game starts out by supplying you with one monster, and then you’re given a series of monster battles to keep collecting new additions to then use as your own combatants.
The mechanics are almost identical to Pokemon with the world set-up, monsters that pop-up out of the grass, keeper battles, and a turn based set-up. It’s tough not to compare the game to Pokemon, and Monster Legacy does a good job standing up to the weight of the comparison. It isn’t Pokemon, but it’s close enough to enjoy the Pokemon style on iOS with cute collectable monsters, the ability to evolve them, and a big world to explore. There are over 20 locations with three main quests each to complete as you explore forking pathways, and come across all kinds of different characters. The battles are the heart of the game, and there’s a simple set-up that provides either a basic, or magical attack on your turn. There are four classes of monsters, and each one has different skill sets, and combat based relations to each of the other classes. You get to level up your monsters, and then also access The Ranch, where you can build resource collecting buildings to improve your exploration, and collecting.
There’s a lot that you want to like in Monster Legacy, but the longer you play, the more the experience starts to drag down. The game is made free to play, and the developers have really monetized every aspect of the game so that you can be bogged down in the currency. There are three different in-game currencies with the gems being the premium one, and they’re used for everything. If you want to heal your monsters, use special abilities, guarantee capturing a monster, switch out monsters while exploring, or evolve monsters, it’s all tied to gems. Since there is so much tied to gems, part of the gameplay is purposefully held back to push you to buy gems. The most obvious example is that there are three types of collectable boxes to use to capture wild monsters, with two available for coins offering 60% or less chance of success, or a third option that offers 100% chance, but at the cost of gems. The game makes it an extreme hassle if you try to play for free, and even if you spend $10, you will soon be in need of more real money to keep playing at a quality pace.
Monster Legacy (Free, Universal) bogs down the experience with in-app purchases that interrupt the entire flow of what looks to be a quality game at the outset. There are so many quality features, but they get lost when almost everything you do in the game is either asking for gems, or restricting your success.