With a perfect blend of old-school graphics and classic creature-gathering gameplay, Monster Sanctuary is a title to watch.
In a world where monsters coexist with humans, forming unique and powerful bonds, it’s your job to raise your companions from helpless eggs to powerful, combat-ready creatures that can defeat even the toughest of enemies.
On the surface, Monster Sanctuary falls into a familiar trope populated by some of the biggest game series on the planet, with distinct parallels to series such as Pokemon, Digimon and Monster Rancher. With its focus on the growth, training and fighting of monsters, the goal of the game is to do all you can to further progress in the world and defeat your enemies in increasingly more challenging battles.
But despite those initial similarities and the currently unfinished nature of the game, there’s a little spark about this indie title that makes it fun to play, and easy to get lost in; with the charm of the classic RPG combined with the retro-style side scrolling that is all too nostalgic for the average gamer.
Beginning with a choice of four monsters – with the standard decision between different elemental-type ‘starter’ creatures, in this case a wolf, toad, lion or eagle – you’re thrust into the world of Monster Sanctuary with a small amount of tutorial and offered a Metroidvania-style interconnected world to explore, battle in and collect items from at your will.
Though Monster Sanctuary is clearly still very much a work in progress, as the side project of an industry professional, some parts of the demo are surprisingly polished. This includes great surprises like the upbeat and catchy soundtrack that makes the game enjoyable to play for even extended periods, as well as a combat system that’s simple enough to be accessible while broad enough to provide variability and a little-added challenge.
It’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into the game thus far by developer Dennis Sinner, with little touches that further add to the game’s clearly well-thought-out development, like a combat system that flips depending on the way you’re facing and a branching levelling system that adds a level of detail you wouldn’t expect from the average monster-collecting series.