Monster Mountain is a fast-paced role-playing game that places you in the shoes of protagonist Rusty Rain as he makes his way towards the summit of a menacing mountain. If you’re a longtime RPG fan, the game will feel very familiar and easy to grasp. But don’t worry if you’ve never touched an RPG title in your life; Monster Mountain will be similarly easy to grasp, thanks to its friendly learning curve.
It’s a dark world out there
The atmosphere in Monster Mountain is a bit dark, courtesy of the brooding Mountain occupying almost the entirety of the game’s world map. Think of the Mountain as Mt. Olympus in Greece, but more menacing, and instead of gods and goddesses that populate it, there are monsters to keep you company. Thankfully, the mellow background music provides a nice touch to keep the atmosphere from being too dark.
The world map is simplified into a linear point-to-point system in which you just select the locations without actually travelling around. The menu icons are neatly arranged around the perimeter of your screen, so the overall layout doesn’t look cluttered and messy.
A frantic battle system
Don’t let the off-battle atmosphere fool you; it’s a lot different when you’re engaged in a fight. The battle system is a variation of the classic turn-based system prevalent in most RPGs. Characters – both yours and the enemies – are constantly moving around the screen, hacking away at each other with no regard for safety. Their “turns” are determined by a Cooling Down Bar, although the fast-paced combat leaves you ample time to actually monitor who goes first.
You can manually select your targets in the middle of the action, but, again, the fast pace sometimes makes it hard to be accurate. (Pausing the game still allows you to select targets, but that would be like cheating.) Characters also have classes which affects their combat style. For example, the Knight class attacks enemies head-on and the Ranger class shoots at enemies steadily from the back.
Practice your drawing skills
The pace temporarily comes to a halt once you activate a character’s skill. The action will pause to allow you to execute the skill by drawing on the screen based on the pattern shown. Although the patterns may seem a bit hard to accurately follow, the game doesn’t exactly require you to perfectly draw them, which is quite fair considering you also have a timer to worry about. Battles proceed through phases, with the last phase typically containing more powerful enemies or the boss. Also: you can activate pre-equipped Tarot cards acquired in the game to gain friendly effects, which adds more depth to battles.
Aside from the typical levels, characters can also be beefed up when you Evolve and Enchant them, which requires sacrificial lesser characters and resources, respectively, to do so. It can be quite addicting to repeatedly grind to get you characters to optimum shape, especially since the game has a very welcome auto-battle system that allows you to simulate battles in locations you’ve previously finished. In fact, you can repeatedly grind early-game before moving on to make things easier, but only if you have the patience for it.
A LOT of characters to deploy
Battles reward you with coins and resources which you can use to hire new characters, termed as “Call to Arms” in-game. It works like a mercenary-for-hire system, although the fact that you can’t directly pick the ones you like is quite a bummer, especially if you’re going for a themed setup. Several locations yield specific characters, too, so you can alternatively go for that method, although you’d have to progress through the game first to unlock more locations.
Several unique characters will also join you along the way, if you want more special and more powerful characters. The dozens of colorfully designed characters, complete with bios, serve as the highlights in Monster Mountain. You can easily burn countless hours by simply unlocking characters and optimizing your team of four, forgetting that you still have a Mountain to conquer. For grinders, this game will be heaven.