Mobile gaming has become extremely popular in recent years. People can manage farms, fight with virtual dragons, and solve puzzles anywhere. Many new types of games have been created due to the increasing demand for new and engaging content. Thus, running games, shooters, item searches, and more genres have been expanded upon. Camex Games released Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena in October 2017, and players took to it instantly.
Why Was ‘Tactical Monsters’ So Popular?
A genre of gaming that has not been very touched upon is that of tactical grid-based RPGs. We’ve seen some amazing installments in the past, such as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in 2003 and the Disgaea series. However, there’s a scarcity of them in mobile gaming. This is where Tactical Monsters excelled. Not only does the game have many new features relating to physics and classes, but the character roster is expansive. Now, it’s even available on the PC! You can find it either on the Google Play store or on Steam! Not to mention, the game has some pretty catchy background music.
Gameplay and Combat
This is where the game definitely excels. Each side is comprised of up to 5 different monsters with the goal of eliminating the entire enemy team. Both sides will engage in a grid-based arena that may or may not have movement obstacles. Characters can attack enemies with either ranged or close combat actions with either physical or magical damage. Depending on their stats, characters tend to be better at defending one of these than the other. It’s best to have a mixture of all types on the field at a time.
Ranged characters can attack anywhere on the map with their weapons. However, there is a special feature in the game called “effective range”. This means that when an enemy is enough spaces away, damage received from an attack is halved. It is best to attack ranged characters with a close-range attacker with a large movement range. However, characters can easily be flanked, as the basic movement range is three spaces. Griffons, for example, fly over obstacles and can travel long distances to attack, but are very easily killed. Every move must be calculated.
Eventually, a character’s ultimate will charge up (indicated by the dots below their portraits). These ultimates can turn the tide of battle in your favor or your opponents’, depending on who gets it first. You can receive dots by attacking, being attacked, or counterattacking. Those with high counter rates can charge their ultimates within a single turn if they survive. These moves can range from stronger attacks to status effects (such as Kabu the orc’s shield bash, which stuns enemies).
One feature that this game does well is a variety of game modes, which become unlockable as you progress through the first chapter of the game. The first, adventure, is the basic singleplayer game mode. This will take you to a map where you will fight pre-made enemies of gradually-increasing difficulty that will give you monster cards to unlock and level up your fighters. Each level is rated upon completion from one to three stars. When a character dies, you lose one of your three stars until you’re left with only one. Keep trying to get a perfect, because you’ll need those stars. The more you collect, the more progression chests you can open until you get to the rarest, a bright purple. These give you a decent handful of monster cards and currency of both types.
Second, players can enroll in the “Monsters Academy” mode. This is basically a secondary tutorial that will show you advanced tactics and reward you with five or ten gems each. Unfortunately, many of these stages have extremely vague hints at how to complete them.
Third, we have the player-versus-player battles. Players will battle it out here for rewards to see who has the best teams. The competitive aspect of these types of games brings in many new players and adds a new level of gameplay.
Finally, the most interesting mode, Guerrilla Warfare, awaits. In essence, this is pretty much just a long ten-round boss fight of enhanced monstrous-level bosses. Upon completion, the player will receive a special purple box with tons of useful loot inside.
Clans are also accessible in this game in the middle of the main menu. Once unlocked, they allow you the option to join or create a guild used to engage with other players. Monster cards can be shared among players to help increase the overall rank of the guild members and help them level up their fighters. In the advanced section on the lower right, different special modes can be selected. Guerilla Warfare and Mine Defense switch back and forth here from time to time.
Mine Defense can help you obtain gold when you’re low. Your team will automatically fight a group of enemies. Should you succeed, you can steal resources from enemies to generate gold for yourself. The more you defeat, the better your generator. However, enemies can steal yours as well, so set a strong defense.
Proving Grounds is a mode designed to test intelligence, providing the hardest tactics puzzles created by the developers. Rumble Tower is the “see how far you can go” mode with rewards at different checkpoints.
Finally, we have the Beta Test option. This is a new version of PVP with a ladder-climbing aspect. Essentially, this is the true PVP for ranked matches and seasonal rewards.
Problems with ‘Tactical Monsters’
As with many mobile games of this age, microtransactions have dominated the market. Developers know that some people have a problem with being patient and waiting for materials or energy to refill so they can progress. This is how they trap you and your wallet. Tactical Monsters is not free of this problem, unfortunately. To get chests that will help you level up your monsters, or cards that you can buy individually, it can cost a pretty penny. To obtain the lowest level, a steel chest, you’d have to earn 250 gems through progression or spend about $4.00. However, if you had spent $4.00 on the chest, you’d have enough for the gold, so steel is relatively pointless. For a purple mystery chest, you’d have to spend $20.00. These prices are horrible, especially for cards you may not even need.
As far as tiny issues go, here’s a small list I’ve put together. First off, the PC port of Tactical Monsters has no borderless-fullscreen option to play the game in. For lower-end computers, this can cause crashes if they need to alt-tab to the desktop. The windowed version only reaches a strange 1680 x 1050 resolution, so you have a lot of space on either side of the window. The subscriber bonuses you can buy will help your gaming experience for a monthly fee (the ultimate pay-to-win scenario). The Discord promotion for 500 gems takes one to three days to deliver. Another slight annoyance is that there’s no volume slider on the PC version. You’ll have to change your speakers’ volume, use the volume mixer, or switch it off altogether. It’s also very easy to misclick and move your character rather than attack, wasting turns and leaving yourself open.
‘Tactical Monsters’ Horrible Graphics
Yes, this might seem like something to overlook since it’s a mobile game, but every game deserves good animations and graphics. While some of the characters look well-made, others are very polygonal and look like they were made out of folded paper. Worse yet, the animations for all of the characters really don’t do them justice. The movements are incredibly robotic and barely animated at all, with static arms and legs flailing wildly. Only a few characters have decent movement animations, like Raul the werewolf. The backgrounds are very well-made, so it makes me wonder why the characters don’t follow suit.
I believe that this game really could be something amazing if more time and effort is put into it. The graphics and animations of characters need a major overhaul. The combat is very fun and engaging and I love the many varieties of modes to challenge myself in. However, I find that the prices and pay-to-win situation are really disheartening. If that were taken away and the game was given a light price, somewhere around even $5.00, I feel that it would draw in more players and reduce the number of complaints I’ve seen on the review pages. This game could be a major top-seller if done the right way.
So, what do you all think about the game? Could it be improved, and in what way? What are your personal pros and cons? Was I right on the money or way off on my observations? Let us know in the comments!