Preview: Monster Crown (Steam Early Access)

Dive into a dark world where monsters rule and make pacts with them to defeat an evil young woman seeking power. Hunt, battle, tame, and breed monsters to create your own legacy. Together with your monsters, you can restore the balance to Crown Island.

Pros:

  • 8 Bit graphic style with 8 Bit color palette.
  • 2520mb Download size.
  • Graphics-small/medium/large/full. (I’m guessing screen size)
  • Character creator-set your pronoun, choose a character model, and model color.
  • Controller support.
  • Monster catching gameplay.
  • Takes a lot of inspiration from the Pokemon games.
  • Charming Chiptune soundtrack.
  • Tutorial menu but you get some guidance.
  • Starter monster-answer a questionnaire and then when it arrives pick which one you want.
  • Turn-based combat.
  • Pacts-used to get wild monsters to join you.
  • Cool EXP bar that is like a race to the flag, hit the flag to get better stats/grow/learn new moves.
  • Day/night and weather effects.
  • EXP earning can be for all party members or turned off and it’s just for the leader.
  • Own in-game achievements style system.
  • Can remap controls.
  • Breed and fuse over 200 base monsters to create your own new species
  • Save when you want.
  • Quit or soft reset button.
  • Nails the retro atmosphere.
  • You see monsters roaming around and you walk into them to trigger a battle.
  • When entering a battle with a party you can choose your fighter every time.
  • Five types of monsters that can counterattack each other or be better against each other. They are-Malicious/Brute/Will/Relentless and unstable. A handy chart is in the pause menu.
  • Synergy-build a team that can work together to fill a synergy bar and do far greater attacks.
  • Play how you want.
  • The world is laid out in the same way as an EathBound or a Zelda from the SNES.
  • Big world.
  • Downed (fainted) party members can still earn EXP and level up if you have the setting on.
  • Monster actions–can get them to stay in a place and feed them or get them to go ahead and scout the area.
  • Customize Hud to show/not show-clock/inventory and party.
  • Notebook-tracks the different types of images, tasks you have, map, and a list of all encountered monsters (Pokedex).
  • Boss battles.
  • Dares to be a bit darker than the Pokemon games.

Cons:

  • No graphic options.
  • Rain shows when in a building.
  • Mouse cursor stays on the screen.
  • No Steam achievements.
  • Doesn’t support analog sticks just the d-pad.
  • Remap controls menu is very complicated and mouse control only.
  • Only one save slot and no save slot selection.
  • People will give you tips or controls and not say the button instead it will be things like button 1.
  • Seems you don’t earn exp for capturing monsters.
  • Basic character creator.
  • Cannot rename monsters.
  • Losing a battle means you lose everything in your backpack but you can store stuff in a safe.

Summary

Monster Crown makes no bones about it, it’s a love letter to the Pokemon games but mixes it up enough that it feels fresh and new. I instantly fell in love with graphics, music, and gameplay. To say it’s early Access is actually quite something as it is a very polished game in its current state. I lost hours to the game and will continue to do so as I fill up my notebook and build my ultimate team. You at no point need to have played Pokemon and the game never assumes that you have and breaks it all done in manageable chunks so you can get it done in a controlled manner. The world is full of very colorful characters, every town feels unique and charming. Whilst it made me very happy to play I still struggled with the combat in terms of knowing which style countered the other style and it just made it all very frustrating, now this is something that will get better over time but early doors it’s not fun to hit walls constantly. Pokemon fans will love the huge array of monsters to capture and fight and new players to the genre can buy in knowing they will be looked after and introduced into a truly unique genre. Monster Crown is a beautiful Pokemon love letter but still maintains its owns identity. Worth noting that this preview is based on a dozen or so hours and will change over time.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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