Genres: Role-playing, Metroidvania
The Pokemon franchise might be losing its hold on the Nintendo Switch. The console has recently hosted many great monster-catching titles, including the Nexomon and Tangledeep. More and more great games in the genre are releasing, and Monster Sanctuary is the latest game to continue this trend.
Monster Sanctuary is the marriage of a few genres. The two most prominent ones are monster-catching and platforming. It feels like a blend of Pokemon and a Metroidvania. Players will encounter and collect monsters as they explore the world of Monster Sanctuary. It’s a neat combination that one wouldn’t think would work until they try it.
In the beginning, players choose their starter monster, then a brief tutorial teaches the basics. Players can make contact with an enemy, which transitions the game into a turn-based battle. Up to three monsters can be available for the player at once against three enemies, making it a tactical affair. Those who have played games like Pokemon will feel right at home as they choose moves that consume their monster’s mana. The battles are enjoyable, though some do feel like they are too much of a grind. The pacing of a fight isn’t always great, as some are too long and wear out the player over time.
Catching and raising monsters are the main way to progress through Monster Sanctuary. Outside of battle, Monster Sanctuary acts as a light Metroidvania game. Players will need to catch certain monsters and teach them moves that will help them progress. Vines, cliffs, and other obstacles require monster help to get through. While the platforming and exploration are okay, it’s not as compelling as catching and raising monsters. The world can be navigated through very little effort. Exploration just isn’t too challenging. There is enough here to hold the player’s attention, but not much more.
Despite this, there is still a lot of content. Those who like to have a myriad of options when it comes to monsters and strategy will love the depth here. There are a lot of ways to approach battles, and even more monsters to find. Every monster actually feels unique to play with, so those who want to explore all of the game’s options will be satisfied.
Monster Sanctuary has basic, 16-bit style graphics. It works for this type of game, though it would be nice to see some more detailed monsters. The retro feel complements many independent games, but I can’t help but wish that there was more to see in the world of Monster Sanctuary. Regardless, the game is still charming, with a nice soundtrack to follow the players on their adventures.
Monster Sanctuary is a charming monster-catching game with great combat and lackluster platforming.