Catch, breed and feed with Monster Park

Monster Park is a new mobile title from Kiwi, an Android-focused developer whose team members have previously worked on titles such as Disney Playdom’s Gardens of Time and City of Wonder. The new game is a free-to-play app and has launched into the top 10 of the New Free Apps chart, and the top 20 of the Top Grossing list on Google Play.

Note: This app was tested using a Motorola Xoom running Android 3.2. No technical or performance issues were encountered.

In Monster Park, the player’s goal is to build a successful theme park in which numerous comical monsters (clearly heavily-inspired by Pixar’s Monsters Inc.) live. By building up their park with diverse monsters and decorating it with numerous other attractions, the player will encourage visitors to show up and ogle their collection, which in turn increases the money they will earn. A series of quests direct the player through the early game, but for experienced players of this type of game there will be little here that is unfamiliar.

In order to add new monsters to the park, they must first be hatched in a “nursery” room, which is provided to the player at the start of the game. Monsters take time to hatch and must also have a dedicated room ready to move into when they are born — if they do not, they simply stay in the nursery taking up space, meaning the player is unable to hatch any more until suitable accommodation has been built. As with most free-to-play games of this type, any lengthy real-time actions such as hatching a monster or building a new room may be hurried along using hard currency, here known as Gold.

Monsters may be fed using crystals which are grown in specialized crystal-producing rooms. Again, it takes time for crystals to “ripen” for harvest, and again this process may be sped up using hard currency. After feeding a monster several times, the creature gains a level, at which point it increases in size, starts to earn more money per minute and requires larger portions of crystals to satisfy at a time.

The main impetus for progression in Monster Park is to fill out the “Monster Log,” a virtual stamp album that chronicles all the monsters the player has successfully discovered through play. These are split into categories: base, rare base, special and mythic. Rarer monsters may only be acquired through breeding monsters together using a “Romance Room” — though these offspring must then also be hatched in a nursery and have a home room in which they can live. The “collection” component of the game is a powerful incentive to continue playing, especially when coupled with the well-paced experience level system which regularly unlocks new content. The game needs such an incentive to encourage continued play, because at the time of writing there are no social features to encourage competition or cooperation with friends.

The game monetizes through sales of soft and hard currency though also includes a Tapjoy offer wall through which players may earn both of these currencies. The majority of offers available are cross-promotion deals with other apps — including Kiwi’s other recent Android release Brightwood Adventures — though there are also more “generous” deals in partnership with third-party services.

Monster Park is a decent, if relatively unoriginal game. It would benefit from an online social component, allowing players to compare their parks with those their friends had built — without it, the game relies entirely on its (admittedly addictive) collection mechanic to retain its users and subsequently monetize them.

Monster Park has been downloaded over 500,000 times so far according to the app’s Google Play page.