Mini Monster Mayhem
In 1998 American shores were assaulted by a 150 cute little monsters that fit neatly in your pocket. Under the massive merchandising campaign that pushed plushies, fruit snacks, and a cartoon show, was a new take on the old turn based rpg. Since it's introduction it has had unwavering success. As soon as one age group grows out of the obsession, another is ready to take it's place. It's long life has inspired a new game on Face Book that seeks to eliminate some of the limitations we've come to accept.
As mentioned above, Pokemon re-invented the 3/4 view turn based rpg game. By offering 150 monsters to tame and level as opposed to the tradition of 9 or so characters they automatically increased the re-playability of the product. The innovation ends there.
The art was basic, the creatures could only learn 4 skills at a time, forgetting older skills for the sake of new ones, and the player avatar had two options, male or female. Overall the game was made of a random number generator for monster spawns, the standard turn based battle system, and enough interactive elements to push the story line forward. 12 years later someone finally jumped on this formula and made it their own.
For the first few seconds of playing Miscrits I wasn't interested. After the four stages of character creation I was introduced to a browser based world with a familiar 3/4 view. Movement is based on a click to move system and various items can be interacted with the same way.
After my first battle I was hooked. The game follows the paper, rock, scissors standard we've come to expect from the elements. The 2D art is beautifully done and each creature has 3 additional stages to unlock. Player characters also level up, based on the number of miscrits they have managed to capture, train and evolve. As a result of leveling avatars are granted bonuses to their skill sets to increase convenience. There is a basic storyline in place that expands over various territories, each with their own unique miscrits. After exploring the area's the arena helps level your creatures quickly while competing against other players. Even at max level there is another arena that rewards platinum, this can be used to increase stats as your creatures level, or to buy items to raise their stats yet higher. Rare creatures pop up throughout the world in various places on a daily basis as well. Certainly enough to keep the avid rare hunter coming back.
From it's inception it trumped Pokemon in one major respect. Social play. Because it is a Face Book game it is already on the largest social medium in the world. It has active forums and contests for it's users. As a means of promotion there are maps that cannot be accessed with out either the minimum requirement of teammates for the area, or an appropriate bribe to the guards ($2.00). Once you have your teammates, you can duel them, visit their house and heal their miscrits, as well as sending them gems (which can be used for rare miscrits) or items (to be used in the heat of battling). Broken Bulb Studios has done an excellent job improving on an old game design and streamlining it into the free to play cash game model.