Much like the other days of the week build towards Wednesday in anticipation of the Google Play store update, so too does today’s featured Play Pick slowly swell in momentum and anxiousness towards a flashy pay-off in classic build-em-up style. Monsterama Planet, a free-to-play space colony builder by developer/publisher/fruit/bird Kiwi, takes the standard model of the mobile building game and institutes an extremely welcome set of changes to the formula.
The quick and easy tutorial for Monsterama Planet puts you on familiar ground if you’ve had the pleasure of knowing titles like Ravenwood Fair or SimCity Social: plot your layout and place your buildings, crops, and decorative accessories, and then harvest them for profit, expansion, and progress along a long list of amusing quests. In this particular case, you’ve crash-landed on a cloudy alien world, and once you’ve relocated your stalwart crew in the fog, your task is to make it hospitable for the adorable monsters that live there. This is accomplished by clearing the fog to find their dwellings, building utilitarian structures of your own, growing delicious alien veggies and fruit, and generally being a decent set of people/robots. (Yes, you have a robot.)
As with most build-em-ups, the game is free-to-play, and the monetization comes into effect as a means to get more stuff, and do things quicker. However, there are two major changes in play in Monsterama Planet: for starters, there is no limit to the number of actions you can undertake in a given period of time. With no “energy” mechanic limiting your moves, you can harvest as many crops as you want to, build to your hearts’ content — accomplish much more in a given play session, in other words, than most entries of the genre. You start with 3 crew members, and while some actions will occupy them for longer than others, so long as you have a crew member free, you can keep getting things done. Put one of them on collecting a resource that might take 20 minutes, for example, but you can still handle the 5-second jobs like picking fruit with the other two.
Speaking of long-term tasks, though, that’s the other welcome change: like many build-em-ups, the other way to pay into Monsterama Planet is to give up some in-game currency for the privilege of completing a task faster. However, while most games will make you shell out cash for such currency, this game actually gives it to you with alarming regularity. Your basic utility buildings will crank it out every few minutes, you’ll get it for completing several quests — there is a high-level cash-only premium currency for the game’s most exclusive stuff, but Monsterama gives you plenty of ways to hurry along your tasks without paying up.
It’s a refreshing change, and one that really gives players the opportunity to explore without being relentlessly pestered to pay up.