While walking home one day, an unnamed hero falls into a black hole and is teleported to Ovest Town on the planet Battalia. For reasons unknown, he is suddenly given pet monsters to train for the purpose of defeating Professor Mad Dog Lunatic, the villain who teleported him to this planet. And you are the unnamed hero. OK!
Generic and unsubstantial plot aside, Monster Saga is an interesting creature raising game in the same vein as Monster Rancher and Pokémon. My expectations of Art Logic's latest monster training diversion started out very high, especially after viewing the fantastic art and critter design. The idea of bright green, banana-chucking monkeys duking it out across a beautiful hand painted background really appealed to me! The game features over 20 monsters to collect and train, 20 missions, 12 side quests and all the normal objectives found in this genre. However, Monster Saga's overall make-up is inherently flawed and mind-numbingly boring.
Upon pressing the "New Game" button, the player skims through a lengthy, useless tutorial that gives a horrible exposition of the game mechanics. Immediately, he is introduced to the battle system. These full-out monster brawls are actually automatic screen pushers in which he has no control over his monsters. All he can do is plan for war before throwing his mindless beasts into combat. Pet interaction is reduced to upgrades, quests and side quests, all of which require the player to wait several seconds before seeing the results. Quests are available every year at the same time. They reward food and money for their completion, but the player may only send one monster on any given quest. Specific conditions limit the monsters allowed to quest, which usually require upgrading stats to a certain level. There is also the success rate to keep in mind, to see if the monster can complete the task at hand. Tournaments are available to rank up the player’s breeding license, opening up even more possibilities to explore and upgrade.
While all this sounds cool, it is actually just another example of a good concept poorly executed. Frequent ad interruptions add to the already horrendous loading times, battles move at a snail's pace, and there are no options to rearrange the monsters in your party, or even change your character name. Monster Saga got all the little things wrong, the time-saving buttons that skip pointless scenes and graphics. Ranged units are inexplicably overpowered, and you can easily breeze through the game with four ranged Level 5 monsters. There are no healers, no way to prioritize attacks, and the antagonists are represented by boring blocks of text instead of respectable pictures or cutscenes. Perhaps Monster Saga's greatest flaw is its tedious slowness, which may turn away even the most patient gamers. The only worth to be found in such a game is in the collectible monsters. However, you have to play through the game a ridiculous six times over to obtain a full bestiary, since New Game+ deletes all your data instead of keeping your monsters! Monster Saga is a commendable effort to replicate the successes of past monster trainer classics in a flash game medium. However, it is plagued with several flaws, bugs, and glitches that seriously dampen its potential and transform the game into a chore.
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