Pokémon inspired monster collecting games may be a common sight on iOS nowadays, but GREE is hoping to take the genre in an adult direction. The company’s newest game is Monster Quest, an adult-skewing mid-core strategy title for iOS that abandons cartoony, ultra-cute character designs in favor of deeper strategic decisions.
Set in a post-war society lacking in adults, but well stocked with genetically enhanced monsters leftover from the war, the free-to-play Monster Quest offers players more than 400 monsters to capture and train. As is typical of the genre, players use their lineup to capture even more monsters, but they can also take their teams into battle with other Monster Quest players in real-time PVP combat.
Developed in GREE’s North American RPG studio, the game is largely the product of the Funzio team that created the popular mid-core titles Modern War, Crime City and Kingdom Age. According to Mike Lu, GREE’s senior director of product for RPG titles, Monster Quest was designed to appeal to older players who grew up with Pokémon, but updates the classic formula with more strategy, choices and a more mature storyline.
“We took the core elements [of monster collecting games], but made Monster Quest much more realistic while still keeping the fantasy elements,” he explains. “We tried to slim down the deep, engaging experience you find in a role playing game into bite-size, five minute gameplay sessions. That experience comes from decisions — how you decide to level up your player, where you attribute your points, what monsters you collect, which you fuse, which elements are you focusing on? Those are decisions that you’re making as you play the game. They can be done in five minutes, or a three hour game session.”
The game’s more mature art style is also designed to appeal to adults, using a 2.5D isometric perspective and teaming players with monsters that look like they belong in a zoo, not a pet store. The monsters are also seen onscreen, accompanying the player as they navigate the world map. This, according to Lu, helps players foster the same sort of relationship with their favorite monsters that Pikachu and Ash had in the original Pokémon.
“Pikachu was never the strongest Pokémon, but he was always there for Ash.” he says. “We wanted that same feeling to come from this game.”
Monster Quest is out today on iOS. Watch for our review of the title, coming soon.