Flash Friday: Monster Slayers

Last week, I reviewed the game Monster Legions by the Kongregate legend Nerdook. Despite being a big fan of Nerdook, I had never actually played the game though this did allow me to give an unbiased review. Today, in stark contrast, I’m going to be reviewing one of my favourite Nerdook games: Monster Slayers. They may have similar names but these games are very much not alike, except perhaps in graphics. Monster Slayers is a game I remember playing years ago; technically it’s not that long but I nevertheless feel nostalgic for it. It was one of the games that really cemented Nerdook’s popularity in the community and probably the first of his games I’ve ever played. So here I am, sitting down and writing this to try to keep my mind off the fact that Medieval Cop 8 still hasn’t been released yet. Time to test whether this game is really as good as my nostalgia has led me to believe.

Like Monster Legions, Monster Slayers isn’t a game where you take direct control; it is a strategy game after all. Most of what you do to increase your chances of winning is done outside of battles. You form an army of five slayers, which can each be a different class. Again, the classes are very similar to that of Monster Legions. You have your swordsman, spearman, horseman and archer. You upgrade your units with gold increasing their power and even making them into a more powerful unit similar to evolution in Pokemon. But when they ‘evolve’, it gives you three or four options to choose from each with their own advantages whether it be increasing their damage, giving them special status effects to make enemies weaker or even giving them special skills such as battle regeneration to really make your slayers a group to be feared. As well as this, you can equip your units with hats that each have their own special effects. This is a much better system than in Monster Legions as you actually have direct control over how you build and form your beast butt-kicking squad.

On top of this, you can craft summons with materials gathered on your heroic escapades. These special items can turn the tide of battle with their unique effects. From poisoning enemies to firing flaming projectiles to increasing stats, there is a large variety of summons that allow you to further develop your own, unique strategy. Crafting is simple enough. You pick two items and click the craft button and that’s really all there is to it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save the crafting recipes meaning that most of the time, it’s simply a guessing game. Someone in the comments made a list of all the recipes but alas, the game could of benefited greatly from the addition of such a simple feature.

Like most Flash games, the story is nothing special. A king dies and his ghost hires some people to rid the land of monsters. It’s not Shakespeare and it doesn’t need to be. You can choose from a bunch of side-quests as well as the main story though every battle goes pretty much the same. You march forward, attack the enemy when they come onto the screen and watch the show. Whether your doing a monster bounty or escorting a caravan, it’s pretty much the same meaning the game is quite repetitive. There’s also a Fall Back and retreat command but I never really got any use out of it. The commands can be awkward at times such as when you use quick march and your units walk right up to the enemy without attacking or when your ranged units absolutely refuse to move past a certain point to attack an enemy on the edge of the screen but I didn’t have any massive problems with it.

Finally, like with most of Nerdook’s games, you can test your dream team’s mettle against the rest of the world. It isn’t a massive feature, but it nevertheless is good for killing some time. Sadly, the game is quite short. Although it makes sense due to the repetitive nature of the missions, I was sad to rediscover the game only takes the best part of an hour, or possibly less to complete. The music is also dull after a while despite being pretty nice at first though there is thankfully an option to turn it off. Monsters in the game, like the graphics, have that neat and recognisable Nerdook style that I’ve come to know so well. Some of them have some great designs despite only really varying in terms of stats.

Overall, I’m glad to see that Monster Slayers is just as good as I remembered it to be. After all these years, I’m still not able to stifle a laugh at the game’s comedic ending and although the gameplay could do with a bit of changing up and variety, it still manages to hold up after all these years. The hour I spent playing through Monster Slayers for what I assume was the fifth time was time well spent and I can see what made it such a monumental game all those years ago. I don’t regret returning to it at all and if you haven’t played it already, you certainly should.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Nerdook style graphics
  • Multiplayer feature
  • Many different ways to play
  • Satisfying, easy-to-learn gameplay
  • Awesome ending

Cons:

  • Doesn’t save crafting recipes
  • Dull music
  • Repetitive quests

Verdict: 8/10

Play the game for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/nerdook/monster-slayers

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