If you like collectible card games with a fantasy/battle theme, you may love Buffstone’s MonTowers, a monster collecting and fighting game for iOS.

The player’s lovely and scantily clad digital assistant walks him or her through the game’s main features in an introductory tutorial.  Part sorcerer, part mad-scientist, you’ll collect gems identified with the elements and unique “monsters coins” in order to summon your own battle-ready beasts.  You’ll use these monsters to scale the MonTowers.  Each level of each tower features a new fiendish opponent to dominate in battle.  In return, you’ll get experience points needed for your own leveling up, access to the next floor of the tower, and occasionally an additional goodie: a token, potion, or monster coin that represents the monster you just crushed.  The monster coins you collect fill your gallery, with the obvious aim being to get all of them.  You can also get rare monster coins by performing a spell called “Gachumon” (which requires tokens, the in game currency), and you can blend monsters to create new ones.

The game’s control system is almost entire tied in with accessing and utilizing menus, since this is a collection rather than action based game.  You do, however, get to have some active participation in the fight scenes.  This is accomplished by tapping a rolling sphere at the bottom of the screen when it crosses a critical red area on the indicator bar, so that your monsters will attack their opponent at the optimum time.  To gather gems, you just tap the appropriate gem type after going to the Field; the catch is that for each tap you need one Field Energy point.  After you exhaust your energy, you’ll have to wait for points to regenerate with time or buy more using tokens.

Tokens, the in-game currency, are used to open up new monster slots (each monster slot you have open is space to summon and groom an additional monster for battle), perform the Gachumon spell, upgrade monsters, and skip the gradually increasing summoning and upgrade times.  These time periods become quite lengthy with the more advanced monsters, so waiting becomes a big part of the game if you’re frugal with tokens and not willing to buy more in-app.  The game uses these time limits and space limits as part of its pacing, however, and it works well.  Returning to the game to find a freshly summoned or upgraded monster is satisfying and a great motivation to revisit it.  The huge variety of monsters, from beautiful elementals to creepy horrorflick beasts to fantasy inspired warriors is another plus.  Even better, upgrading your monsters enhances their appearance as well as their stats, so there’s always something new to see.

The character design is very nice.  Your assistant is an unrealistically well-endowed horned humanoid female with an enthusiastic habit of addressing you as “Master,” and the each of the hundreds of monsters is uniquely portrayed in all three of its stages.  Upgrades may lend your monster accessories, armor, or other nifty details, appearance-wise, along with improving stats and gaining it special skills.  As far as audio, the game is fairly low-key.  When not in combat, there’s a subdued arcade soundtrack with a cheerful ring to it that you’ll probably end up tuning out and not even noticing.  Combat sequences have a heartier battle theme, as well as sound effects for various attacks, hits, and misses.

BuffStone could charge much more, considering the layers of challenge and hours of gameplay but MonTowers is available now in the iTunes App Store for only $0.99.

iTunes App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/montowers-legend-summoners/id517860442?mt=8

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