Published on July 31st, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Kemco’s Band of Monsters Review
Kemco have dropped the price of this cutesy monster battler from $8 down to a much more affordable $0 – prompting this impoverished reviewer to finally give it a go.
There’s no doubt this is a Kemco game, is there? It’s got their trademark 16-bit animé styling and all the flamboyantly haired teenagers you could hope to see in a game, but the core gameplay is a little different this time around. Monsters used to be friendly critters, tamed by music and used in arena games transmitted around the world for people’s entertainment. During one such game, The Bad Guy takes over the transmission and blasts some dark ambient electro around the world instead – the (ahem) Forbidden Score: Hell Shaft. Suddenly the monsters are all wild again, and everyone’s forgotten how to train them. Oh, and your pet dog starts talking to you.
See? I wasn’t lying about the Hell Shaft.
Three years later, your mission is to save the world, and this involves catching monsters with your flute music, levelling them up and breeding them with each other to make tougher and crazier ones. Exploring the map doesn’t just throw random encounters at you like every other J-RPG in existence, you mostly have to seek the monsters out in bushes and so forth. This means you can actually get from point A to point B on the map in a hurry if you want to, and get to the higher level beasts without wasting health potions on wounds from annoying minor battles.
You can only carry a small team of beasties, but the permutations are vast: monsters have affinities with different elements, and their powers range from various attacks through to healing and buffing. Monsters also have attitudes which can be tuned with potions, turning them aggressive or defensive as you need. It’s all quite intricate, and you’ll have to tweak your team according to the situation, making for a surprisingly deep combat system.
It’s great to see Kemco expand their brief a little, but Band of Monsters is lacking in one major department. There’s simply no player vs player action – it’s entirely a single player campaign, and it feels like the game is missing a limb somehow. There’s obviously less satisfaction in defeating AI opponents than defeating a sneaky human, but if you can put up with this you still have a fun, and slightly crazy, RPG on your hands that’s well worth the many hours you’ll put in.
A further note on the PvP issue…
It was brought to my attention by ‘droider Axel that Band of Monsters certainly appears to have a PvP element – at least it’s mentioned on the game’s Play Store page, and there are some references to it in other reviews. So where is it? Curious, I restarted my 3.5 hour playthrough from scratch, in case I’d missed something. I’m now 4.5 hours into a new game, and there have been no options for multiplayer / PvP in any menu or dialog so far. Perhaps this is regional issue?
More curious is the entire lack of any PvP footage online. Go ahead and search YouTube for Band of Monsters PvP, Multiplayer, Online, etc. Absolutely zip. Also,other reviews of this free version of the game mention PvP, but don’t actually review the PvP element.
If anyone can enlighten us as to whether this free version of Band of Monsters actually has working PvP then please let us know, as my email to Kemco on the subject is as yet unanswered.
Summary: Those who paid full price for this might feel a bit short-changed, what with the lack of multiplayer interaction and all, and it is undeniably derivative. However, as free RPG this is just great, and well worth a download.