Little has been heard from Zynga Japan since the company shut down the Japanese versions of FarmVille and Treasure Isle on social network Mixi, but now the studio seems to be making up for lost time with Montopia, a new iOS RPG that has a lot in common with Nintendo’s Pokémon games.
According to Dr. Serkan Toto, Zynga Japan is billing Montopia as a “Monster Battle RPG.” The core gameplay consists of players going out on adventures where they capture, raise and train monsters to fight for them. Along the way, players can engage in activities like gacha gameplay, breeding more powerful creatures, collecting virtual items and battling other players. At the time of launch, there are 200 different types of monsters available to collect.
Montopia is a social game, it hasn’t been added to popular Japanese social networks GREE, Mixi or Mobage (though the Montopia official website says that an Android version of the game is coming soon). Additionally, even though Montopia is playable in both English and Japanese, it isn’t available in Western territories and Zynga has yet to announce any plans to make it so. That last bit is a particular head-scratcher: When a fake version of Pokémon Yellowclimbed to the #2 position on the App Store last week, it proved that there’s obviously a market for this type of game on iOS.Gacha is incredibly popular in Japan, but it has yet to really catch on with social games in the West beyond a handful of titles — like Monster Galaxy, Miscrits of Sunfall Kingdom, Miscrits of Volcano Island and Monster Fusion. Zynga sometimes likes to test out new IPs in foreign versions of the App Store before they receive wider releases (witness Dream Heights’ launch on the Canadian App Store), so it seems entirely possible North American gamers might get a chance to try Montopia out sooner rather than later. Currently, Monster Galaxy still ranks as the top Pokémon-themed game on Facebook with 1.3 million monthly active users and 110,000 daily active users.