Monster Galaxy is something unusual and ambitious for Facebook, an attempt to create a clone of Nintendo's extraordinarily deep Pokemon RPGs that's friendly to social gameplay. While there are very few true social mechanics in Monster Galaxy, the game is largely successful at bringing the appeal of monster training and collecting games into something you can play for free on Facebook. The game features 120 distinct monsters to battle and capture, without any of the "spend money if you want this rare monster!" shenanigans you might expect.
If you've ever played a Pokemon game, then Monster Galaxy will feel quite familiar. You get a starting monster at the beginning of the game and then use it to capture more. You can capture monsters by weakening them without actually defeating them. Monster Galaxy offers users an extremely convenient "Capture" bar that fills as your chance of capturing the creature increases. You can click it to see your exact percentile chance of successfully making a catch. Defeating monsters lets you find items, like the Star Seeds you use to catch monsters, and earn experience for all the monsters who participated in the battle.
Battles in Monster Galaxy are fully animated, which is both good and bad. The animations are fairly simple and quickly lose their luster, though the Flash-based interface is extremely useful. The animations are sadly rather long and there doesn't appear to be any way of skipping them. The game is mostly about fulfilling a long series of quests and exploring little corners of the map as you go, which means there are long periods of mandatory grinding for levels. The entire process is massively slowed down by the animations.
Probably the most remarkable thing about Monster Galaxy is that it's a perfectly good monster training game. The battle system is complex and easily on par with most of Pokemon's pay-to-play console competitors. Monsters are broken up into twelve Zodiac groups and each monster has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses with regard to monsters from other Zodiac groups. Each monster has a standard physical attack, a buff or debuff, and a special attack affected by Zodiac properties. Some animals also seem to have an elemental property, though it's less clear how this affects combat.
Monster Galaxy's story is fairly silly, but the quests are still amusing enough to finish and you often get to juggle several objectives at once. It's a practically ideal game for amusing Pokemon-age children, since the main tempting microtransaction items can also be earned (albeit more slowly) through gameplay. Adults may find it a bit too repetitive and shallow when compared to the proper Pokemon games, which feature more sophisticated game elements like breeding and multiplayer battles. It's still a fun diversion, though, and there's very little on Facebook that plays quite the same way or at the same level of quality.
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