The evil wizard Jarenth cast a spell on me that caused me to download and consequently play around with the Android app Tiny Monsters. At least that’s my best explanation for why I’m still checking up on this thing like a week later.
I do apologise in advance for stretching of the images, but this is an app for iOS and Android, so not many high-res images out there. This thing is made by a company called TinyCo, who like to make products with ‘Tiny’ in the title. I hesitate to call this a game in any respect, as I don’t feel like it fulfills any of the regular criteria. It feels closer to a more compelling version of gardening.
The deal here is that you start out with on a mountaintop full of wilderness and your Nursery is sitting in the middle.
There’s a short tutorial explaining the basics of construction, eggs, farms and harvesting, and then you’re left with a bunch of quests to work towards if you feel like it, and a limited amount of stuff to buy from the market.
Pretty much everything you do grants you experience, and leveling up gives you access to more types of eggs, monster habitats, special buildings and more. Eventually the idea is to work towards something like this…
I’m not close to this fella above here yet, but I can recognise what most of these things are. You just click (touch) stuff to make things happen. There’s no real win or lose state here. It’s more like a constant work-in-progress. I guess it’s possible to get everything in the game, but it would take ages.
And in my honest opinion that’s perfectly fine. I find myself liking this garden project more than I expected. The quest system is set up well, for the most part. Ever giving you some goals to work towards while teaching you more about how the ‘game’ works.
There are farms you can build to grow food which grows the monsters. The monsters slowly produce money you collect to afford more stuff, and each habitat has a limit for how much money it can store at a time. You can breed monsters to produce interesting hybrids, or special mythical versions. You can spend money to clear the bits of wilderness away.
It all feels remarkably relaxed. I never feel like there’s any stress or pressure to get to the next thing. Things get progressively more expensive and take longer time to complete the further you get in, but that really only helps enforce the longterm feeling of the project.
There is of course a micro-payment system in there which allows you purchase diamonds to speed things up, but personally I don’t feel they’re all that necessary. You still get some diamonds just from doing quests, and for me that’s been more than enough, at least so far. Maybe I’ll get more impatient later, we’ll see.
To me it feels like a garden project you slowly cultivate. You don’t have to put more into it than you feel like, and it doesn’t really try to force you into more. So yeah, I’ve kinda grown fond of it. And since it’s free, I honestly don’t see the harm. As far as I’ve seen, there’s not even the social aspect of stuff like Farmville where you bother your friends for little boosts and gifts. Which means Tiny Monsters is better than Farmville in my book. For what that’s worth.