What happens when you mix Pokemon style monster card battles with match-three puzzle gameplay? You get a match made in heaven. A ‘Monster Match’ made in heaven, so to speak. Monster Match is a downloadable free-to-play game for iOS devices and Android (played on iPad for this review).
For the card battle part, you have five monsters on your team, and another player’s card from online will help out, too. Before matches, you can combine cards to level up your monsters and even evolve them into more powerful beasties. On the top part of the screen are the monsters you have to battle. They inch down lower on a grid after each turn and when they reach the bottom, they’ll attack and whittle down your team’s collective hit points. Make sure you don’t run out of hit points or you’ll lose the round. Sometimes you’ll capture monster cards while playing. Level up your rank after stages so you can use more powerful cards.
To attack each turn, you’ll need to play a little puzzle game that’s similar to other match-three jewel color titles like Candy Crush or Bejeweled. When you make a match of two or more, you’ll perform an attack. Each monster represents a different element like fire, water, grass, light, or dark. There are gems with shapes and colors representing each element, so when those match up, your monsters will attack with that element. So it’s important to have a well-balanced team with all the elements. Each element is strong and weak against others, so if you are battling monsters of one particular element, you may even want to rearrange your team or build a new deck for the best results.
To match colors on the puzzle playfield, just slide your finger across the touch screen. Matches can be made horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally. Try to make matches of four jewels or more; that will give you special jewels that can clear out bunches of others. Plus your attacks are stronger the more colors you match. String along your attacks by making combo chains, and heal your monsters’ HP by matching the pink heart jewels.
The only quibble I had with this game are problems that plague other free-to-play titles as well. To play, you always have to be connected online, and you must sign up and make an account on the publishers’ Web site, both of which are annoying gaming pet peeves of mine. But other than that, this is a fine game that I’ve gotten quite addicted to lately. There are hundreds of monsters to collect and battle, several islands for you to tackle, and even daily events. Definitely a fun and clever idea for a game.
If your kids love Pokemon, card games, or puzzlers, then they’ll enjoy Monster Match. Reading skill is required, and some light parental supervision may be recommended for signing into a game account and the social parts of the game.