4 days of Monster Cry CBT is over. I feel sorry that it’s over and at the same time, I said to myself that was worth to play. It showed me something more than I expected, but I can’t stop thinking I was chased by time.
This was such a pleasant coincidence since I’ve always been dreaming of making a card game for mobile phone. That naturally made me seek for better and better card games. None of them ever satisfied me.
The first impression I got from the development company, Monster Smile Inc. was stimulating. Let’s think about this. The name of developer is “Monster Smile” and the game they made is “Monster Cry”. They sound like as if they founded the company just for making this game. I heard there are about 10 programmers and that was it, but it’s more than half a century when the years of their experience in programming sums up. Don’t you agree the game is worth to be anticipated?
Monster Cry is not just a ‘Ordinary card game’. Nor just an RPG. As it defines itself as a card battle RPG, it’s definitely different from some card games I’ve played till now. Unlike the other card games, composing card decks and combating strategically isn’t all about this game. There are stages with background story and quests, which leads to challenging combats and level ups. Basically it flows on the track of RPG style with some spice of TCG style strategy focused combat. That’s why I can’t argue with the fact that it defines itself as a Card battle RPG.
I’m quite sure that it would not satisfy all the curiosities of readers right now as I wrote this ‘review’ not a ‘walkthrough’. So if you’re not someone who had played this game from the top to bottom, experienced one to ten, you may skip reading this. If you want to read walkthrough, please visit Hungryapp.co.kr, and if you want know what I’m talking about, please play when it officially launches.
Ok, let me start. I’ll come up with three adjectives to describe Monster Cry.
Solid quality, fresh ideas, and manipulative features.
The great solidness of game quality
Literally, Monster Cry has solid construction that users can’t easily break.
Basically Monster Cry has DUNGEONS (Stage clear), Card level ups, ARENA, and RAID. I’ll leave out the ARENA since it wasn’t included in CBT, but still, it was very obvious that all other game features were deliberated after long consideration and study. That means each one of features has shown its importance.
They seem independent from each other yet they have connections, leading users to try everything obligatively.
You need a good card to clear stages in [DUNGEONS]. In order to possess a good card, you need to earn one from [RAID]. To earn a good card in [RAID], you need to have the key to open [RAID]. Once you earn a good card, you can open better [RAID]. So the cycle runs for effective user retention, keep them entertaining.
▲ The main page. Simple yet it has everything you need. The cycle starts right here.
You can’t leave out ‘Card level ups’ from the cycle. Monster Cry allows users to participate in attributing stats of cards. (RPG games that exist so far tend to follow fixed stats when cards level up.) That adds more fun for users and they will start loving the card they choose to raise by their own will and idea.
▲ Users got to love their own cards since they choose to raise cards in their way.
Two essential features of RPG are DUNGEONS and quests. Monster Cry has both, plus combat that requires personal strategy and stat attribution as well. Game play is enjoyable and smooth when it has solid features. Previously mentioned three factors of game features cycle all together as if it’s well constructed subway line. Let me explain little further.
▲ In Monster Cry, card can equip armors and weapons like in RPG games.
Beauty of 10% of newness affecting the rest
Imagine someone gives you a new hybrid weird looking blue fruit and say, ‘Go on, try it’, you may not want to eat that fruit right away because it’s not appetizing. It seems poisonous you think you could die from eating it. In this case, even if that fruit was born to be something new and tasty, it failed to approach customers. And then, another hybrid fruit comes up. It looks like an orange but it’s not an orange. You are intrigued and tasted the fruit. It tastes like orange but better. This is when 10% of uniqueness is added to the rest of existing 90% (which is already familiar to you). And Monster Cry shows that beauty.
All the features of Monster Cry are familiar to users. DUNGEONS (stage clear), Quests, and RAID system don’t go far from what we know already. However there’s a hint of something new and it puts the game onto some different level.
▲ Looks familiar isn’t it?
I’ll start with [Dungeons]. There are 25 dungeons with 5 stages each. Basic SP is given 100 points. 20 SP is to be consumed to play one stage. That means (assuming you are not to be defeated) you can clear 1 Dungeon straight ahead. I guess Monster Smile developers adore the number ‘5’. The number of action cards for the battle is 5. Bonus point for attribution is given 5 per level. Main menus are five. I can smell the compulsiveness!
Anyways, up to now, there’s no big difference between Monster Cry and other games. But Monster Cry has something new in procedure of stage clearing and reward. Before you start DUNGEONS, you need to set your card deck. 3 cards max. And start the 1:1 combat.
▲ your cards on the deck (left)
Some people would say ‘What?’, because there are three cards and I'm calling it 1:1 combat. It may not make clear sense. Nonetheless, It is 1:1 combat. From this deck, you choose 1 card to combat with your opponent and that is clearly 1:1 combat. The loser vanishes, and the winner goes back to the deck where it was belonged. After that you will have the choice to select survived card again, or to select among others.
Here's an interesting factor, attribution bonus points. You will win EXP every time your opponent is defeated. EXP goes only to the card which has fought. The other two in the deck don’t get any. So it’s not a team work. It is your choice which one you want to raise. Typical capitalist’s RPG.
Now, combat is over. The winner card gets it all, so is there anything else? Yes, there’s common reward for all the cards in the deck at the end of each stage clear. There are EXP, gold, equipment, skill stones, diamonds, SP and etc.
▲ Various types of rewards are given. EXP is distributed to each card.
‘renew’ button can renew rewards randomly.
Fortunately, all three cards on the deck will have EXP distributed. It depends on what random common rewards are. Normally there are three types. For Example, you can get EXP, skill stone and a shield (equipment), or, EXP, EXP and skill stone, or, Gold, skill stone, and equipment. Rewards can be overlapped as well. Probably you won’t get EXP at all as it depends on luck.
If you are not happy about the rewards, you can ‘renew’ the reward. Next result is also random. But you need ‘Diamond’ item here. It’s a cash item. It’s kind of reward roulette. Monster Cry is saying ‘If you don’t like the reward, pick another one, but you have to pay.’ It is clear but a little snobby message in a way.
Next issue is the RAID. You can achieve RAID KEY through Dungeon clearing or selling your own cards, and you can create a RAID using this key. Once the RAID is created, it is opened to all of your friends to join. (The creator of the raid is basically free to play) The limitation of entering users is 5. (again, here’s another ‘5’)
▲ See this line ups of Raid participants?
In Raid, there are 50 opponent cards waiting in line. You get a piece of card puzzle by beating each one. After the raid, if you’re lucky you can complete 1 whole card with matching pieces you have achieved. You need 9 pieces of puzzles to make 1 card. FYI, I had to gather 52 pieces of cards in total to complete 9 matching pieces of 1 Triak(Legendary dragon character) card.
Here, 5 users (maximum) enter raid with one card each has selected. And they line up to fight. In fact you may imagine a picture of one big boss roaring in the center, and 5 cards surrounding it and beating it simultaneously, but it’s not like that. There are 50 opponents, and 5 users. And as always, 1:1 combat. If you are strong enough to beat one faster than the other users, you’ll fight more of 50 than other users. In a way, it’s a team work and a competition at the same time.
▲ Reward in Raid. Getting pieces of card is not that easy
You never know what part of what card piece you’ll get. If you are not lucky enough you might get the same card piece more than one time. It prevents easy benefit towards users. I’m not saying it’s bad. The fun won’t last long enough if it’s too easy to get everything users want. And I’m cool cos I have my 52 pieces already.
Finally I would like to talk about stats. You’ll get 5 stats for every level. There are HP, defense, Attack power, and Card attack power. Each stat can be raised its points when you choose to attribute stat points. 1 stat point raise 50 HP, 10 atk power, 25 defense power, and 2 card atk power. I can’t really demand the answer why are they all having different values to raise? I just can’t be care enough to argue with a geeky game designer, can I?
Wait, sorry to interrupt but I notice that there are surprising numbers of users who do not understand what ‘card attack power’ is. It’s a kind of bonus attack power. Higher card attack power you have, higher attack damage you will give to you opponent with action cards. Check out the formula below.
Sword (attack) 1 = damage/2
2 = atk power + card atk power *2
3 = atk power + card atk power *4
4 = atk power + card atk power *8
5 = atk power + card atk power *16
Back to where we dropped. I assume that the card attack power is also one of elements which make Monster Cry special. The part where all the values of stat points are different when they are attributed is perhaps one of the things which impressed me. I can’t fully understand what the purpose of the game designer is but if it’s to make users squeeze their brain to make unregretful decision, he has worked it out very fine.
▲ Try spending all the action cards and give it a big damage. You will say ‘Hmm, not bad’
Another part impressed me is manipulative feature (in positive way). Probably it is related to ‘solidness’ I mentioned before. Basically Card games require smart and flawless game design. Otherwise, it will lose its game balance soon enough and users will lose their interest. It can be required with right level of balance and difficulty.
Monster Cry is not too hard to play, yet not too easy to play either. The hundreds times of combat will keep you go on without being bored. On a contrary, it will make you can’t wait to level up and attribute stats to your precious card and try it in another combat to find out how great has become.
There are two types of skills in Monster Cry. Passive skills and active skills. Skills in yellow text are passive and skills in blue text are active.
▲ The percentage of skill enchant is based on skill level of card that will be sacrificed.
▲ Skill in use. Skill name, required numbers of action card,
cool-down time. This part can be tricky to understand without tutorial.
Is there more? Of course, there is. I wouldn’t bother writing a long review if there wasn’t great things enough than the game system. The art and graphic is awesome. Like I mentioned on the title, the game and the art complement each other very well.
▲ Will these type of arts make it in local and Japanese market?
At first I wondered. But now, I can’t imagine something else.
In other words, the game and the art are synchronized, once you start the game, you can feel what Monster Cry is by its atmosphere. Arts representing each dungeons and cards are also amusing, blending harmoniously without any flaw that possibly draws eyes.
Likewise, UI and effect don’t disrupt the other art factors and are very intuitive. Visual effects are full of wit and ideas which make you feel like looking at a moving animation. While existing card games simply show what type of skill attack the cards have, Monster Cry shows the maximized uniqueness of each cards.
▲ it’s not simply about how great the effect is.
It’s an element showing the identity of the character.
Time for criticism
Despite the fact that I’m not a generous person, I’ve said many good things about Monster Cry. Now, it’s time for criticism. Not that I feel obligated to criticize, but because I’m sure some critics would make this game better.
It seems like there’s no fine line between ranks of cards. Some says ‘SS is better than S’, logically SS should be better than S. But some doubt. Why is there a doubt? Probably because when users raise their own cards, it makes many variable cases causing a big difference. Some cards can be stronger in attack, some will have bigger HP, some will have high defense. At the end, high level cards won’t be able to make a difference between S, SS, or SSS. Skills DO make difference but I can’t agree more it could be better if they put certain types of characteristics (elements such as firic, tidal, wind and etc.) into cards and make them distinguishable. But one thing I know that way, the game designer’s brain would explode.
Server problem is the second. I understand it could happen on the first day of the CBT. Since Netmarble sent APK d/l URL to testers had led so many testers connecting at the same time. But the error messages! There were so many types of error message pop-ups as if I was watching matrix screen. I didn’t like that at all. Especially when I was playing Raid or doing skill enchant.
▲ Various kinds of error pop ups made really annoyed
To be honest I was considering calling up the developer and say ‘Seriously, are you using magic station as server?’ but I let it go because the game was fun and tried to understand since it was just CBT. This server crash cannot be pardoned at official launch. I don’t care how fun the game is, how well made the game is, I’m saying no mercy to the server crash. It’s meaningless if users can’t play. Never send the server director home if this happens. Make him starve until he fix that problem!
Now, it’s about the play time. Mobile game should be simple, casual and easy. It takes average 5-10 mins per combat in Monster Cry. It gets longer as you level up. It gets longer if you play Raid and Arena. Ok, it’s alright because the game is such fun. This is positive side I assume. However, Monster Cry should consider light users. If the target is for hardcore users, never mind.
▲ While you enchant and equip cards and etc,
you will earn extra SP to play another dungeon
For the last, content wise, it’s perfect. But I felt sorry when I had to witness the exhaustion of the content at the end of the CBT. There was the first max level user on the second day of CBT, and on the last day almost every users cleared all the stages. Of course, Arena wasn’t opened yet and since it was CBT, items and rare card drop rate was high.
But still, I find the content is too little. If someone have all three Epic Dragons Brothers (Fellrung, Krimkind, and Triak) and be max level and clear all the stages, that users has no choice but to leave this game. It is certainly possible to extend contents and lifetime of this game. However for now, it seems like the life of Monster Cry is too short. That could be the critical problem. I hope there’s something more hidden behind the content that was shown in CBT.
If someone asks me ‘so what is the core content of Monster Cry?’ I wouldn’t know what to say. There are so many things to enjoy but nothing that stands out and say ‘This is Monster Cry’. Everything but the Raid has the end of the content. And if the Raid become the playground of three dragons brothers, that would be end of Raid as well.
▲ Triak, one of three dragon brothers
Features, composition, billing model, graphic and system. All five factors seem almost complete. It deserves shoutings, ‘Long live the Monster Cry’
Personally I am sick and tired of mobile games that has life term of a fly. I am sick and tired of casual games on kakao. It’s definitely not the era of Card battle RPG game in local market, but I respect the courage of Monster Smile. What I worry about is ‘So how are you going to survive this competitive mobile game world?’ and I haven’t discovered the answer from CBT.
Overall, I admire this game. I utterly blame myself for not developing any game that’s like Monster Cry. I recommend you to try if you call yourself a mobile gamer. Secondly, the chief programmer is total geek. I can smell it. I will pop by to meet creators of Monster Cry someday. Just tell me when this game will be launched, so that I can leave some money in my account.
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