Aug 14, 2013

[Games] My Singing Monsters (iOS)

I don't know why I never got around to posting a review for My Singing Monsters until now. I was totally hooked on the game shortly after it came out and played it for quite a fair amount of time - so much so that I ended up using my partner's iPad quite a lot just to advance our islands. And while I still play the game occasionally, I have to admit that I've already moved on to the company's latest game, My Muppets Studio.

But before I can publish a proper review of the newer Muppets game, we first need to revisit what made this first game so amazingly great.

My Singing Monsters is a world builder game developed by Big Blue Bubble, Inc., the same folks who created games like Cut the Rope. The game is free to play on iOS and Android, but naturally there are a number of in-app purchases possible.

The premise behind the game is seemingly simple enough - you as a player start with an untamed island where you can make a home for your monsters. But yes, these monsters sing, although in manner that is more like a single aspect of a greater orchestra. Thus each monster will either have a simple phonetic sound to repeat over and over again or the body of the monster resembles a traditional instrument.

Each monster is associated with one or more elements, sort of like Pokemon. And thus understanding these elements and the various combinations needed for each monster are a key to advancing in the game. Of course it's simpler to just purchase the monsters with the in-app currency, naturally the challenge of the adventure is getting the combinations right. The breeding aspect to things is central to the whole game and how you eventually come up with the full orchestra.

But things don't just end there - this is just one of many islands after all. Each monster will earn you gold over time (they just do) and this gold will be used to purchase the new islands and many other things. For example, there are various decorations available that help make your monsters happier - and happier monsters make more gold. You can also use gold to buy food for your monsters and this increases their levels, thus increasing their breeding chances and their potential income.

Over time they've added to the game by introducing new islands and new seasonal monsters that appear for limited times. Thus one can either race to breed the new monsters during the week or so that they are available or of course you can purchase them from the store.

What really makes this game special are the songs that the monsters come up with - they're pretty ingenious and quite enjoyable. I've gone as far as downloading the first three island songs as MP3s just so that I can play them at random to cheer myself up.

The only problems that I had with the game was the repetitive nature of things, the practically random probability for some breeding combinations and the steep currency curve. Since the game has no real "difficulty" other than figuring out the monster breeding combinations, the developers instead decided to just make each subsequent island more expensive than the prior one. Thus you are obligated to save up more and more money just to get the first level castle upgrade for the next island. While this does increase the amount of time needed to play the game, it doesn't necessarily do this in a manner that is consistently fun for the user.

It's because of this sharp curve that I eventually stopped being a daily player and just returned periodically to check on the seasonal monster offers.

My Singing Monsters is still a pretty solid game app and one that I still recommend to friends. And who knows, maybe you'll last longer in the game than I did.

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