It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review of Android app gaming breeding games, mostly because I haven’t played any new ones, but the reality is, in most of these games, that it’s really fun and fast-paced at the beginning, but after the “free taste” that gets you hooked, you end up being buried under breeds that take forever or an endless parade of things you don’t want in hopes of getting something that you do. Therefore, when the makers of Tiny Monsters released a new game, I decided to try it out.
I trust that, for anyone who has read my previous reviews, and if you haven’t, go do that, I don’t have to explain the general aspects of these types of games. You build habitats, you breed monsters, you level them up, yadda yadda yadda. Therefore, you think you know what to expect from Tiny Castle.
But you’d be wrong, at least partially. Sure, you do all of those things, but that’s not the limit of the game and that’s what makes it fun. You start on a small island, mostly hidden in clouds. Instead of just growing food and generating money, this game introduces the concept of magic dust, which you can use to clear away the clouds, slowly revealing the extensive playfield which you must move onto. See, this is war, your castle is at war with an evil queen which seeks to wipe out your forces and sends monsters of her own. These monsters, if they get too close to your farms or your habitats or your dust generator, steal some of their output and thus make it more difficult for you to expand. Therefore, you need to send out your own monsters to take out the invading creatures. Each of these creatures has an attack and a defense strength and all of them are weak against one kind of creature that you might have. If so, you get a bonus to defeat them, otherwise it’s a straight battle with a little bit of dexterity mixed in. If you scare them away, you get a bonus, plus whatever they were stealing from you. It’s an interesting mechanic.
Of course, you don’t have to fight them, you can just bribe them to leave you alone, but that costs food and food, at least at the beginning of the game, is in short supply. The invading monsters slowly breed as well so if you don’t take care of them, one becomes two, becomes four, etc. It’s best to deal with them as fast as you can. This, of course, damages your own monsters and they need to be healed, at a cost of coins, before they can fight again, and if all of your healing spots are occupied, you can’t fight again until someone is done.
After you clear the clouds and the monsters, there’s the typical “clear the land” mechanic, but since money isn’t that much of an issue here, you can get rid of a pretty good chunk of rocks, trees and other debris pretty easily. However, as you go on, things get more expensive and that means you have to upgrade your castle so it can hold more coins, food and dust. There are also separate bins that you can buy that give you more room for these things, but that’s more elements you have to protect from the marauding hordes. It takes some planning to keep them all safe from potential pilfering. Once you’re done with the first island, there’s a second with different kinds of monsters to take out and there are things beneath the clouds that you need to find and recover to unlock different kinds of creatures. When I first downloaded the game, there were something like 10-12 of these large islands to explore, in order, but now that I’ve been playing, they’ve reduced the number I can see to three. I don’t know if that’s a developer change or something you can only see when you first start.
This is actually a lot of fun. Unlike some companies, like the producers of the <fill-in-the-blank> Story games, where it’s all essentially the same kind of game in a different setting, this one is very different than Tiny Monsters and that’s a good thing. There was a lot of thought that went into this game and even though it shares a lot of mechanics with what came before, it’s not a direct copy. I’d love to see more companies try to shake things up like this when they come out with inevitable sequels to existing games.
Pros: It’s got a lot to offer to the jaded breeding game player and, so far at least, it works like a champ. Very few crashes, very few glitches. It’s a game that gives you a good reason to keep leveling all of your creatures to the max, the higher level they are, the more effective they are in combat.
Cons: Honestly, while I know it appeals to the target audience, I find the creatures far too cutesie, it strikes me as rather wrong to be sending these characters into battle most of the time. Another minor issue is the touch recognition. When you finish tasks, a flag appears above the habitat or farm or whatnot denoting this and it’s a natural response to click on the flag itself instead of the building that generates it. This will often have you tapping on the element that’s behind what you intend and that’s annoying. Finally, and this is one thing that actually bugs me, but after combat, if your creature has suffered damage, it has to go and heal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much damage it’s suffered, it costs the same amount of gold and takes the same amount of time, whether it took virtually no damage or was almost knocked out. The less damage taken, the less it should cost and the less time you should have to wait.
Fun:Surprisingly fun, especially given what I said about Tiny Monsters. It’s not just another breeding game, there are elements of strategy here, deciding what enemy monsters to take out, how to level your own creatures to take on enemies that are weak to them, etc. You do have to pay close attention to your resources, how you earn them and how you spend them, there are a lot of new elements and they all work together very well.
Frustration:All of these games have some degree of frustration, it’s built into the gameplay. Hours and hours of waiting to breed things, which the developer hopes will make you spend real-world money to speed things up. However, it hasn’t been that bad so far, with the exception of some combinations that seem really, really difficult to breed.
Reliability:No crashes so far, which is a bit surprising considering how badly I trashed TinyCo’s other game, Tiny Monsters, for exactly that. Then again, Tiny Castle doesn’t have any form of social gameplay so far, I hope they’ve learned their lesson when they inevitably introduce it.
Wallet-Drainer:I’ve yet to find any reason to give them a red cent, which is probably a bad thing for TinyCo. You do have a premium currency, but it doesn’t seem to be all that useful if you’re patient and you tend to get more gems on a regular basis anyhow.
Written by TinyCo
Cost: Free/Premium content available.
Requires Internet connection to play.