I started gaming with the NES. I had quite a few games back then which are now mostly forgotten. I remember I had a game called Totally Rad. I never finished it but I always liked it because the bosses filled the screen and you could use magic to turn into animals. Also the game is called Totally Rad.
Back then there was no internet and I never bought magazines so I chose every game based on the box art. Which is how I ended up with Super Turrican. Turrican was my Mega Man, I never finished it.
Yesterday I finished playing Telltale's Walking Dead. It made me think about what it takes for a game to create an emotional connection with the player. Here is a bit of vague wishy washy talk in that area.
Montowers is a free to play iPhone game. In Montowers you summon monsters to fight other monsters in towers.
Apparently I’ve been playing it for twelve hours. I know that because of a game centre achievement that popped earlier this morning.
I feel ashamed. Usually the shame of a free to play game is putting money into a vapid experience when you know full well there are more deserving outlets. Montowers never really demands your money. Monsters you fight will sometimes drop Tokens, the game’s premium currency. The Tokens are used primarily to speed things along as opposed to other free to play games that use premium currency to unlock the coolest stuff.
No, the true shame of Montowers comes from matching up how much I enjoy the game with the reality of what the game actually is. I can summarise the entirety of Montowers with the following three bullet points.
- Level up
- Sexy cartoons
There are two voices in my head. One says, this is naff. The other says, but you love it. Somehow, in little five minute chunks, I have played this game for twelve hours.
It’s so bad.
There is a character called Tiana. She guides you through the beginning of the game and pops up here there, when you level up or beat a tower. She is very sexy for a drawing. The dialogue that has been written for her is super creepy. She refers to the player as my master. (See how I distanced myself there by saying ‘the player’ and not ‘me’.) Also, by beating the first two towers, you unlock new outfits for Tiana. She then says you can ‘order her’ to wear them. That is creepy.
Even the monsters are sexy. Not all of them. Some are goblins and giant mushrooms and skeletons. Others are Angels, Nymphs, Wood elves and Dark elves. Sexy Dark elves whose outfits get skimpier when you upgrade them. You can upgrade each monster twice. They get more hit points, more attack power and if they are a lady, a skimpier outfit.
I’m like an animal being lead by the nose. Montowers has distilled the elements of an RPG that set off the good times lobe in my brain. Levelling up and collecting stuff. Over which it has pasted the tantalising wallpaper of not quite naked cartoon boobies.
I should be twelve hours futher into Ni No Kuni but I’m not. Montowers has held a mirror to my face and said this is who you are, be ashamed.