The Average Gamer

Monstermind Review (Browser)

Have you been playing Monstermind? Launched by Bossa Studios last year, it’s one of the best Facebook games out there. BAFTA certainly seemed to think so, with their specialist jury awarding it the “Online – Browser” award at this year’s Video Game Awards.

Monstermind is about defending your city from monsters. Sure, at first it looks like another city-building sim but you quickly realise that keeping your citizens happy has bugger-all to do with anything. You need to keep them alive. Very quickly your focus will shift from building an aesthetically-pleasing town to one bristling with military forces and microwave guns. The key to it is defending your town hall because without that, all your defences will drop and it’s free for any visiting gorillas or giant birds to rampage.

Add to that the need to build shops to general income, bigger and better military installations for defence and enough housing for the workers to support these buildings and you have a deep and tactical asynchronous Facebook game to play against your Facebook buddies. There’s nothing quite like coming back to your town after a couple of days and seeing the whole place reduced to rubble by your “friends”.

This dependence on friends playing is great for your competitive streak but is also one of the game’s biggest weaknesses. In the first few weeks, we had a lot of fun destroying each other’s towns but over time, as rival cities became more advanced and people tired of the game, I found that all I had available to attack was a burning pile of debris. The developers addressed this with the introduction of Eva, who floats above your town hall signifying that you’re open to attack by random players. It keeps things ticking over but being told that my town was attacked by some random stranger doesn’t quite evoke the same sense of rivalry as being destroyed by my mate Jason.

Today, Bossa Studios have launched a new campaign mode. A series of maps has been set up with specific challenges, like destroying all the weapons but none of the residential buildings in a given town using only 5 gorillas and a giant robot. The faster you win, the more points you get, with the inevitable leaderboard stacking you up against your friends.

The money, experience and item rewards (e.g. houses) you win for completing each map do carry back into the main game, but the price of trying a map more than once far outweighs the reward. If you’re not so good at these types of puzzles, the campaign quickly feels more like a money sink than a truly integrated mode. Still, each map is a good short challenge – perfect for a lunchtime. Give it a go.

Monstermind is is a free-to-play game on Facebook.

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