Kyoto-based developer Q-Games has, up until now, devoted its efforts exclusively to creating games for console and mobile platforms like the PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. Now the company is branching out into the social space, kicking things off with the newly launched alpha of PixelJunk Monsters Online for Facebook. Featuring some cosmetic and gameplay changes from its PS3 and PSP counterpart, the tower defense title has been reworked for its free-to-play debut and is already picking up users.
According to our traffic tracking service AppData, PixelJunk Monsters Online currently has 2,000 monthly active users and 300 daily active users.
PixelJunk Monsters Online adds some elements to the series, and to the tower defense genre in general. For starters, the game features a world map which contains new levels laid out like parcels of land. These areas can be purchased by the player using Rainbow Juice and Forks. Players receive Forks automatically over time, but also for beating stages and leveling up. Rainbow Juice comes at a premium, being awarded for winning and leveling, but can also be purchased in the game’s shop. Leveling up also provides players with the game’s premium currency, gold bars, which can be redeemed in the shop.
On each area of land that makes up the game’s islands, players must defend their hut from spiders, giants, and other invaders. Each level is sprinkled with trees, along with some grassland. Before entering into actual gameplay, players can use any Seeds they have (earned through winning or purchased through the shop) to plant additional trees in the grassland. There’s also an option available when replaying levels to use the same tree layout as in a previous attempt. Once gameplay starts, players can use the coins they have to turn any tree into a defense tower. They start out able to create ballistas (giant crossbows) and cannons. Some weapons are better suited for attacking airborne enemies, while others work best against those on the ground; others are effective against both.
Enemies attack in a set number of waves and follow a path represented on-screen by a dotted line. When they come in range of the player’s towers, the weapons attack. The weapons also have a radius within which they’ll detect attackers. By dancing in front of the towers, players can increase their strength or range, with the flags on the upgraded towers changing colors to denote their level. Enemies drop coins when killed, which can be used to build more towers, and sometimes leave behind stones, which can be used to instantly upgrade towers. The game is won when players defeat every wave of attackers, and is lost if enough enemies reach their hut. upon winning, players are shown how they fared, are awarded Forks and Seeds, with high scores being rewarded with a bronze, silver, or gold crown for the level.
At present, the game allows players to invite friends to play, and displays how many levels their friends have gotten a bronze, silver, or gold crowns on. When replaying a level, players are shown which of their friends has the highest score on it compared to theirs, which creates a desire to one-up friends’ scores.
Monetization hasn’t been fully implemented in PixelJunk Monsters Online yet, but the game’s shop is accessible. Here, players will be able to exchange the game’s premium currency, gold bars, for additional Rainbow Juice and Seeds.
Q-Games tells Inside Social Games that the title will be updated as it progresses in development with additional content. This will include new types of towers and a working monetization mechanism.
You can follow PixelJunk Monsters Online’s progress using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.