Thursday, 1 November 2012

Monster Life : Free Virtual Pet App Tips, Review and Guide

Happy Halloween! Speaking of monsters, I am a big pokemon and digimon fan. When I discovered Monster Life I was stoked. It was a less detailed FREE Pokemon and Digimon game. In the game, the monsters are reffered to as tamanna. You are training to become a master and stop the evil monster named Chaos(who has been stopped before). You raise an egg, hatch the monster, then do various activities to get it stronger and evolve to the next level. There are four forms after hatching (very Pokemon like). The first two evolutions after the egg are easy to level up(very much like Digimon). Pokemon Trainers/Digidestines are referred to as Monster Keepers.  As your monsters level up, they become stronger as their stats increase. Sadly once you reach the third and final stage, that pet doesn't have any way of becoming stronger besides temporarily with in-battle boosts. 

When zoomed into the critter, the background is the same real-time environment that the monster is in.
Unlike Pokemon, you don't travel that far, and eggs takes only a few seconds to hatch.  The eggs all look the same and don't resemble the monster species. The monsters are not as detailed, but they are still creative and cute. The graphics are also not HD, but are still 3D and look nice and cool.

Like Digimon you pet, feed, play, train, and clean your pet when it's time.  When they need attention they'll have an air bubble aboce their heads with the corresponding need.  Each time you do so, your pet gains some experience points. You get experience points by completing goals and world map missions which are battles.  Each pet species has it's own unique attack, variety of petting responses, way of celebrating and dancing.

Design your own ranch!

There are different ways to pet. Each method will give difference animation responses.
1)Tap the monster
2)Slide your finger across the pet (like a real pet)
3)Accelerometer - sideways
4)Accelerometers - back and forth.

To start battles you must select the fight from the world map, which is located under . Battling is a little similar to Pokemon on easy mode. You see the lineup of the enemy or enemies and their levels.  Then you matchup whichever monster of yours you want to fight. It's easier for the player because you get to match element types and monster level(and the computer doesn't). The order of element advantages goes as this;


Once you choose a monster, you may change your selection before the battle starts(before you press "Fight") by pressing the red minus button by that monster. When the battle starts, pay attention to your monsters health bar. Not only for their health, but also became it may turn to a special attack/critical hit button. Press it and that monster will perform it's special ability.
   On the bottom of the screen there are in-battle power ups; Attack, Defense, and Health. Each of them has a cost. The higher the level of battles, the more friendstones are require to use each of the power ups. Early levels don't require that much. Attack and Defense boosts only lasts a few seconds, so it's probably better to make sure your timing of the boost matches the situation. I believe the health power up only restores health, meaning you can't gain more health than your maximum hp. 

   Like a Digimon, after a battle your monster needs to rest whether fainted or not. Higher level monsters will require more resting time. When visiting that monster you will see how much longer until they can battle again. You may also see this time displayed next to the monster during battle setup/monster selection.

Like pokemon you can battle 1vs1 or 2vs2 to 3vs3. It starts off 1v1 and gradually increases to 3v3. This causes the game to become much harder to progress later on as you just wait for timers to run out. Each battle will make your team down 3 monsters so will have to wait until you have 3 available to fight again. When you highlight a point on the map, it will tell you a description of the battle(but not how many monsters required).

Glossery of Important phrases
Friendstones - Heartshaped stones used for in-battle power ups. Can be obtained by liking a neighbors ranch, sending a gift to a neighbor, petting 5 times in a neighbors ranch. 
Gold - Not super rare like other games. May be obtained by completing battles, Goals, non listed objectives, and attractions. Sometimes petting your own monsters will get you gold.
Attractions - Not the kind of attraction between two lifeforms. This kind of attraction gets you gold. Each generates a certain amount of Gold after a certain time. Once they have generated that gold, they stop generating until their current gold is collected. Some of these attraction move, and you can see them move in the background while up close to a pet. They give the app liveliness.
Neighbor - other monster keepers. Two of them are A.I.(NPC). You can real human players via Facebook. There is also an option to visit random players. However, this option became difficult to get to work after a few levels. 
Crystals- The more expensive currency of the game. Hard to get (sorry I'm not sure). The easiest way is to purchase them with real money. These are used to buy some exclusive pets that would decrease the amount of monsters you have to wait in order to battle again.
Habitat - a location which you can place your monsters on. If they like or are compatible with that habitat, they will have hearts coming out of them upon placement. They will also receive bonus exp from either battles or from pet activities like grooming and feeding and such.

I would really really Highly recommend this game if it didn't have a few annoying flaws.
   One problem frequently occurs before the app even starts.  The app takes 1-4 taps to open up. Upon the first tap the screen goes black like the app is activating. Then it goes to the homescreen like nothing has happened. Another click or two or three and the app will either open normally or just click and go stay on the homescreen.
   Later level battles requires lots more friendstones. This is understnadable, if it wasn't so difficult to visit random ranches. The game takes a while to connect you to a server, then it may or may not find you a random ranch for you to do your business(pet and like to get stones). This connection problem seems to have almost disappeared soon after I posted this article. I doubt that it had anything to do with my post but I am glad the change was made. Only one like is allowed each day or so, but petting 5 patient times in a neighbors ranch gets you 25 friendstones. Almost all the time, connecting to find a random neighbor ends with "failed to connect" or the app crashing and closing altogether(no longer in RAM). The only good thing to this is that after this happens, it only takes one tap to open up the app and load again.
   The cooling off period between fights is extremely long at stage 3 battling, about 11 hours.  And I'm only at the 2nd of 4 islands.
   Another big no-no is the amount of notifications you receive. This was also a problem with another gameloft game NFL PRO 2012. The problem is different in that each notification only beeps once, but you get many of them. This only happened once, but one night I received 30 notifications(Even with all the notification options turned off in the options menu). Some days are busier than others, but on busy days this can be quite bothersome. I kept thinking I got messages, texts, or communication from people I knew, but it was just the game. This has also been fixed after this review was posted.
   I Just found out that there is a special limited time update for Monster Life until the end of 10/31/12 (Halloween). Sorry that only some of you in the world have a few hours left. I Highly DO NOT recommend this update. With some digging in the comments section, many users have found a very big flaw with the update. Instead of getting 25 friendstones per 5 pettings in a random neighbors ranch, you only get 3. You do however get to buy things using friendstones now, but that's almost impossible to pull off. And the main part of the applications playability just went way down. It's also been stated by some to have closing or finding random neighbor issues.  I also found out that it's under "My Apps" on Google Play, but it is in the apps section of my phone. Clicked on install and it took me to download "additional files". However, it's waiting for response from the network to proceed. I don't want to have to start over! (Even though I'm not actually progressing in the game any more anyways even with playing). I do however have 6 monsters now so I can have two battles before waiting another 15hrs. Plus I like the friendly atmostphere of the default style anyways.

This is where they hatch. The Green arrow means it's ready to evolve. After hatching they are level 0 and cute.

     If these problems are just device specific(Sony Xperia Play 1GHz single core), then maybe you can enjoy the good without the bad from this app. After a few attractions, I also notice lag in the smartphone application. It gets worst the more you have going on in current ranch. Coins will take longer for their animation to complete and you'll have to wait longer until petting your pet will count towards getting coins again if applicable. You can pet will the coin lags because the petting animation will be done before the coins. You can get by this a little quicker by exiting the up close view right after you collect the coin. Then you go up close to the pet again and pet em. This will get you another coin without having to wait for the coin animation to finish before starting to pet.
     Hint: Lag seems to be reduced when 1) there is nothing running in the background up close to a pet. 2) The app is installed on your device and not on your SD Card.

-If you created a Free Gameloft account, the app stops at 68% of loading to welcome you back. Not sure if  this stops the loading, or just the loading animation. 
-Below your "Edit" button in the Menu, there is the Option button. You can also access the Options by going to Help then clicking on the surrounding icons in the background. 
-There are over 20 monsters to choose from, but they require levels and gold to purchase. So most players will have the same stuff as you.
-Most player ranches (random neighbors) that you visit will have the first few monster that you have.  Only dedicated players and players that have spent money will have different monsters, attractions, habitats than you.
-Without spending any money, you may still play the game and use the diamonds available to buy at least 2 diamonds only monsters. 

Tips/Hints: Be Careful while scrolling through your ranch. It's really easy to drag and misplace one of your monsters if you touch them while doing this. I do this everyday. Sometimes it may take a few seconds to find your pet because they are behind an object. 
    -There is a trophy for using power ups, use power ups on the first island at the first three battles because their cool down periods are short, and they cost a LOT less friendstones at this location.
    -If one of your goals is to do a certain recreational activity with your monster, and all you have are level 3 monsters then maybe it's time to purchase a new monster. Young monsters need a lot of attention and Stage 2 monsters take only an hour before their next petting activity is available. 
    -The first 3 fights on the world map (single battles on the green island) have really short waiting periods, so they can also be used for goals that require you to fight multiple times with a specific monster.
 - Be careful collection coins during battle. I accidentally clicked on revive while doing so. This used up precious diamonds when I didn't need to revive to win that battle. As long as you beat all the opposing monsters, losing monsters during that fight doesn't seem to affect the prize from winning.

If you are looking for a digital virtual pet monster in a device that can fit in your pocket then this is the app. Monster Life is brought to you by the incredible developers at Gameloft.Gameloft is a top developer and are behind big hit games such as Asphalt 6, Asphalt 7 etc, Six Guns,  Dungeon Hunter 3, Real Soccer 2012, NFL Pro 2013, and some app versions of Assassin's Creed. If you haven't heard of them, then you are really behind on app news. The smartphone app can be downloaded at Google Play (4.5/5 rating) for Androids and on iTunes for iOS. Remember it's FREE.

 I might uninstall the app to see if I can get the special download today. The beginning of the app was funner anyway. Rushing to finish this posted up on time. Might update later.


(Update 12/12/12 : Since approximately November 14th 2012, users with an ASUS Nexus have reported a problem with opening the app. I myself have the same issue since then. After loading to 100% it closes. Again, upon installation the app didn't show up under "My Apps" in the Google Play app. But I've been playing it fully functionally even completing story mode until this date) 

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