Backyard Monsters was a real-time strategy beast on browsers, claiming over 25M players worldwide back before the Clans even knew there was a Clash. So it’s no wonder why Kixeye’s first mobile launch puts the Monsters in your pocket, with Backyard Monsters Unleashed, complete with added swipe and touch controls, as gamers train over 11 breeds of monsters, form tribes, and even declare war and coordinate attacks.
The free-to-play game is highly addictive, and as Will Harbin, Kixeye’s CEO claims: “Backyard Monsters is the first and most popular real-time strategy game on Facebook. Over the last couple of years its design has been emulated widely and successfully on mobile. It’s time to unleash the real deal.”
And real deal it is, as I’ve been playing the beta version for about a week, and I’m loving everything from the unique monsters to the intuitive control scheme added specifically for the mobile and tablet market.
“We’ve basically taken the Backyard Monsters game that’s a few years old now, and re-envisioned it for mobile,” says Caryl Shaw, the game’s executive producer, as we meet up inside Kixeye’s San Francisco headquarters. “We kept what was really the core of the game, which is creating your monster army, and then heading to your neighbor’s backyards and stealing their stuff.
“We think that is a pretty compelling thing. Certainly, other companies have been creating other games along these lines, but we’re really excited about our game. We’ve brought all of our monsters over, and we added some slick customization for you to be able to upgrade.”
The focus, beyond your army of monsters, is really on base building. When creating the look and feel of your backyard, you need to concentrate on not only how to defend your base, but also on creating an offense of your own by creating monsters.
When choosing to attack another backyard, you can quickly check out their loot and goo and decide whether or not they have enough for you to bother blitzing, then you can either move on to another potential victim, or attack immediately by sending monsters their way.
“Goo is one of the most important resources in the game,” says Shaw. “It’s focused around your online tribe, as you can donate goo to your tribe, and if you donate enough goo, you’ll unlock a boost that can come in handy later in the game in either offense or defense.”
Each monster carries with it unique abilities to attack, so the more you play, the more you’ll realize the strategy associated with each creature and how to send them in to swarm in waves, rather than just trying to spring them all out at once.
Adds Shaw: “Part of the fun of the game is developing tactics. Everyone can develop their own strategies to play, and experimenting with the different monsters really helps add a lot of depth to the gameplay.
“It took us a while to get here and to create this game for mobile, but we wanted to make sure we were doing right by the Monsters. We wanted to make sure we had a game where you want to go out and battle other players. That’s that Kixeye flavor we were after, and I think we nailed it.”