Monster Crown Articles RSS Feed | Monster Crown RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Studio Aurum Releases New Monster Crown Update, Adds Online Trading Fri, 28 Aug 2020 13:19:09 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Monster Crown entered the wilds of Early Access at the end of July, and now, Studio Aurum has released the game's first big update with changes to breeding and move learning.

The Net Egg adds a random element to the breeding system. Tamers add monster genes to the egg, which then mixes the species and moves around. Should players choose to breed with the Net Egg as one of the parents, they get a complete surprise when their monster hatches.

Tamers can now trade monsters online with other trainers, including random monsters hatched from Net Eggs, making it easier to obtain specific monsters or types to stack a team with.

Finally is the Move Learner. When Monster Crown first launched, monsters could learn six moves total, but couldn't re-learn moves. Move Learner lets tamers pick what moves their monsters know at any given time.

Even though Monster Crown is still in the early days of Early Access, we found a lot to love with this dark take on the monster-catching genre. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Monster Crown news as it develops.

Monster Crown Early Access Review: Raising a New Kind of Beast Fri, 31 Jul 2020 16:10:43 -0400 Josh Broadwell

It’s tough being a monster catcher game like Monster Crown. No matter what, they always have a hard time breaking out of their venerable grandpappies’ shadows. Pokemon and Digimon might not have been the first to lay the groundwork for the genre, but they were the first to go mainstream and, so, they stuck in the public consciousness.

Comparing new games in the genre to the likes of Pokemon might make them automatically seem derivative, but it’s a comparison I’m sticking with for Monster Crown. And for good reason.

Monster Crown is Pokemon’s (and even Digimon’s) Stardew Valley, being created very obviously with these inspirations in mind, while building on those foundations — fulfilling them, you might even say — and turning it into a completely new and totally engrossing creation.

This seems familiar...

Monster Crown opens with a brief explanation of how the game world works, courtesy of good ol’ dad. This world is inhabited by people and monsters. But the only reason they work alongside each other is because certain people called Tamers bargain with monsters using a mystical contract.

Otherwise, said monsters would probably just eat everyone and move on. That’s not something you’d expect Professor Oak to say, despite the inherent dangers associated with almost every Pokemon in existence. 

You get a glimpse of how these contracts work right away, since your character’s home is a farm run partly by monsters. Is it happy work? Are you the bad guy for enslaving these creatures? Or is it just grudging mutual understanding and the monsters secretly still want to kill you?

That kind of ambiguous tension between humans and monsters permeates Monster Crown. This is their world you just happen to have a foothold in, and the entire game (so far, at least) stems from that important premise.

And it’s impressive from the start not just because it’s edgy and dark. It actually shows you a world built on a relationship, however sour it may be, between humans and these critters — all without making you watch 986 series of an anime to see it in action because the games talk about it and won’t show it.

So with that juicy introduction to Monster Crown’s character out of the way, including a mock battle where your mom completely wipes the floor with you, it’s time to head out on an adventure. You’re a talented Tamer, because of course you are. But your goal is actually just paying tribute to the nearest king. Best to keep these ruler types on your good side, dad says. 

The Humanism Kingdom is a ways away, which is good because it’s a chance to soak in Monster Crown’s gorgeous pixel work. It’s hard to think of a game outside Shovel Knight that takes pixel aesthetic and uses it so well without just seeming like an obvious attempt to re-create the golden years.

Even outside their rolling waves of pixel grass, Monster Crown’s environments are a high point in and of themselves, though at a slight cost. On your way to the first town, you learn of two mega monsters blocking your way. They’re almost like forces of nature, unpredictable and obstructive, but technically just doing their thing. It makes the world of Monster Crown feel alive and lends these monsters a nice extra touch of both character and menace.

In its current state, Monster Crown’s routes, caves, and paths do feel a bit empty, though. You don’t run into too many people. That’s understandable, given the nature of the world. But it makes the trek from point to point feel lonely and like you’re just being shunted along to the next point. Environments being rather large and empty doesn’t help offset this feeling either.

The same duality applies to the story so far. Monster Crown is definitely the story-based monster catcher it’s billed as. That story gets split between a number of worldbuilding vignettes in towns and important places and the overall story surrounding a very interesting villain named Beth.

But it also feels a bit… rushed? One early example has a very dramatic event occurring in your first town, that you’re about 75% responsible for. You get a couple of sentences about the town’s current state before the event, and after the climax, that’s it. Back to business folks.

Beth’s first big moment feels a tad rushed as well, like it might have more impact if you had the chance to learn more about the world’s politics and important people at that point. 

Preach it, brother

Still, I guess it’s a good thing Monster Crown’s story tantalizes me and leaves me wanting more, and hopefully, it gets fleshed out between now and its final launch. It’s also one of the only monster catchers not called Shin Megami Tensei where you’re treated to a proper story, which is a bonus on its own.

But, of course, Monster Crown’s real stars are the monsters themselves, and they and the systems around them are pretty excellent thus far. Monsters get divided into five different types, with the usual rock-paper-scissors chain of weakness and resistance. 

What makes Monster Crown’s system stand out is how soon you absolutely need to master it. Where your Rookie Digimon and hordes of Pidgey and Rattata mostly know moves related to their types, Monster Crown’s monsters usually have at least two moves of different types, making them an immediate threat.

Or if they don’t, they excel at their own type and force you to raise a good monster with a type resistance if you want to progress.

All the monster designs are fantastic too. These aren’t mascots like Agumon or cuties like Pikachu. These are monsters. And they look like it, which has the smart effect of making you feel a bit less attached to them — almost like they’re just convenient tools you formed a contract with…

Battle has the usual turn-based flow, where you attack, they attack, and speed determines who might go first. The Synergy system adds a nifty twist to the formula, and its meter builds every time you swap a monster out from battle, assuming the one you switch in doesn’t get knocked out (or whatever it is that happens to a defeated monster in Monster Crown). 

Each full stage on the meter powers up your moves and has some extra effect, like granting a bonus type. It’s absolutely essential for some battles and adds extra purpose to the common Pokemon strategy of switching in and out.

I haven’t had a chance to dig into Monster Crown’s signature monster breeding very much. It’s set up like a cross between Pokemon breeding, digivolution, and demon/persona fusion, where you can engineer brand-new monsters with a totally unique stat and moveset. After learning how battles and moves work, I can’t wait to get into it more.

And of course, Monster Crown has the usual set of things common to early access games. Text spacing is variable, the map could/should be more detailed, and the day/night system moves blisteringly fast without seeming to affect anything. Weather is a bit iffy, too. In one scenario that felt a bit too realistic, a narrow rectangle of rain followed me around, while everywhere else was bright and sunny. 

I’m not worried about these things, though. Or about most of Monster Crown. Its monstrous inhabitants — and their lovingly crafted backstories — are excellent, while the battle system is simple but addictive. The story is promising, even while it could use a bit more detail. And it’s a world full of unique personality and atmosphere that just begs you to keep peeling back its secrets.

In short, Monster Crown is taking the best of the monster-catching genre and spinning it together into something that's part homage, part brand-new creation, and totally compelling.

[Note: An early access copy of Monster Crown was provided by SOEDESCO for the purpose of this early access impressions article.]

Monster Crown Reaches Campaign Goal in Under 28 Hours Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:35:35 -0400 Erroll Maas

The Kickstarter for Studio Aurum's upcoming indie monster-taming RPG, Monster Crown, has reached its campaign goal of $5,000 in just under 28 hours due to the support of 263 backers.

The three revealed stretch goals include an extended soundtrack at $6,000. surprise monster designers at $7,500, and cross-platform cloud saves at $8500. 

Additionally, a new exclusive monster, Blaze, was revealed for the Backer Demo. This monster can only be accessed by inputting the revealed code in the CODE menu at the breeding facility, and his coloration cannot be found anywhere else. After redeeming the code, he will appear on the farm menu to add to your party. Blaze is a Brute type and will be set at level 10. According to the developer, backers should expect more code monsters to be released throughout the rest of the month.

Monster Crown is planned to launch by February 2019 on PC, Linux, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, and Android devices.

Crowns Rebranded as Monster Crown with New Trailer Thu, 15 Feb 2018 13:56:48 -0500 Erroll Maas

The developers of upcoming monster-raising RPG, Monster Crown, originally known as Crowns, have released a new trailer alongside a press release with a few new details on the game.

Monster Crown is a Game Boy-inspired indie monster-raising game which will feature a distinctive breeding system and an abundance of content.     

Meant for monster-catching completionists and battle masters, the game will include over 200 monsters to collect; countless combinations to breed; a sprawling, wild world; a deep, dark story; and online battling and trading.

Monster Crown does not yet have a release date, but a Kickstarter campaign for the game will launch on April 10. An older demo, Crowns Frostbite, is available for download on PC. Players can also get updates on the game through the Twitter page, Facebook, subreddit, and website. You can also check out our interview with Lead Developer Jason Walsh to learn more details about the game.

An Interview with Jason Walsh, Lead Developer of Monster Crown Thu, 15 Feb 2018 13:53:38 -0500 Erroll Maas

Jason Walsh is the lead developer of the recently rebranded upcoming indie monster-raising RPG, Monster Crown. He took some time out of his busy development schedule to sit down and chat with me about what inspired the game and how some of its mechanics differ from similar games in the subgenre.

Erroll Maas: How did you come up with the name Crowns/ Monster Crown, and what were some other names you were considering?

Jason Walsh: When the Crowns project first began, the scope and ideas were much smaller than they are today, but one thing was always important -- this was going to be a game about monsters that all wanted to be top dog, and it was going to have a story about characters that wanted "The Crown," either literally, in a kingdom, or figuratively, in a power struggle. Crowns felt right, but as time went by, people kept saying, 'This doesn't tell me much about the game,' or 'What does Crowns mean?' Obviously you can't reply to those questions with a full knowledge drop on the motivations of the monster or characters -- or well, you shouldn't (I certainly more than once dropped a long-winded explanation). We even had some people say that they expected some Civilization-esque medieval game after hearing the title. It also wasn't very searchable. People may hear of Crowns, go to look it up, and basically only find information about a British TV show! The concept of Crowns really stuck, though, and people had come to know us. From there, Monster Crown evolved quite naturally.

EM: What influenced the decision for Monster Crown to contain a darker narrative and lore than other games in the subgenre?

JW: Well, growing up with monster-catching games, I really took to them. Thoughts of them would invade my every waking hour -- they lit up my imagination. Whether it was Pokemon, Dragon Warrior Monsters, Digimon, Telefang, or Monster Rancher, I was hooked on the concept of having these awesome monster companions and traveling with them. But there was some dark recess of my mind that also got sort of wrapped into it. I remember a very distinct dream where I was exploring and came across these very dark, vicious, nightmarish monsters. I found some secret in the game, and a world of horrors was unleashed. It scared me quite a bit, but as I grew older, it turned to a fascination. What dark secrets lie beyond those pixel walls? if you were to escape the cities, the routes, reach the deep parts of the world no one else had ever reached -- what would you uncover? That can be an interesting question, and it's one I've had in mind while building every corner of Monster Crown. Those willing to explore, to try unusual things, to let their imagination run amok -- they'll have plenty to discover in Monster Crown. Dark games like Shin Megami Tensei also greatly inspired me to develop the tone we're looking for in Monster Crown.

EM:  How many monsters will be in Monster Crown, and do you have a favorite?

JW: There will be 200 base monsters in Monster Crown. Each one has various genetic variations, and as you can see in the trailer, many will have totally unique transformations when a specific item is used on them -- the Atomic Clock on Dracoyle ages him. The Antifungal on Laz turns him back into his original form. For those completionists out there, I know where you're coming from. I have an urge to collect all the monsters too -- you'll have your hands quite full with Monster Crown, and I'm not talking about things like palette swaps. Personally, my favorite isn't revealed yet -- it's Tanukrook. My teammate Shad seems to have channeled something straight out of that nightmare I mentioned earlier.

EM: Palette swaps do seem to be a common problem in monster-raising RPGs outside of Pokemon. Was it difficult to avoid palette swaps when creating monsters, or was it a goal since the game's inception?

JW: Great question. Because our base idea was that the breeding system creates true crossbreeds, we knew right away that palettes were going to be a vital part of that system. Before we added genetic variations, we still knew the form would be based on the father, and the palette the mother. In that sort of system, a wild palette swap isn't too appealing -- you could just breed your monster to be whatever color you wished. 

So inherently they wouldn't be valuable to Tamers. Things like near-palette swaps, like the battle hammer-wielding variant of the Battle Rex (pictured above) in Dragon Warrior Monsters Joker can be SO cool! And originally we thought genetic variations could be slight changes, but ultimately we wanted to go all the way on our breeding mechanic, put all our chips down. For that reason, every monster sprite is handcrafted from scratch, including all variations.

EM: So you mentioned breeding, but Monster Crown also has a separate fusion mechanic. How do these mechanics differ, and why were both included?

JW: So we knew right off the bat that all sorts of people play monster-catching games. Some love very in-depth, thorough mechanics with a lot of control. They hate things like RNG -- these are the Monster Scientists! I love what they manage to pull off and accomplish. But there is another group that enjoys more casual play. They like when things flow along smoothly and quickly. So with both of these people in mind, we knew we had to include a way to control the pace of the game to suit your individual tastes.

Personally I'm a bit of a Scientist -- I love the breeding system. You get so much control, you get to keep both parents, but your offspring monster starts as a baby -- you have to raise it up!

But Fusion exists for people that don't want to wait around to hatch eggs, they don't want to level up a baby to meet their mid-game team's level, and they don't mind losing the parents. For that reason, we added the fusion mechanic, letting people choose how rushed they are, how methodical they want to be. Whenever we can, we give options so people can play the game the way they enjoy most.

EM: In addition to breeding and fusion, to obtain wild monsters the player can offer them contracts. Why was this the chosen method rather than favorite food or another alternative?

JW: Monsters in our world share the temperament of a wild beast, but they are a little wiser. Offering a legal contract to a ,onster is pretty funny, but when you think about it,  why does a wild beast want to join you? What do you have to offer? Monsters don't care to be your friends, and they don't like you very much. Offering a contract is a symbolic gesture; it means "Come with me, help me pursue my goals, and I will train you, and one day return you to your environment infinitely stronger than you stand today." These monsters are playing the long game. They may struggle in their environment, but a promise to one day be the alpha, well, that's exactly what they're after. For this reason, there's an entire city on Crown Island, Appenton, where young hopefuls study and perfect the art of writing contracts that are viable to both human and monster, and easily understood.

 EM: It can be assumed that monsters will be of different types and have strengths and weaknesses to others. What are some of these monster types, and how do they differ from the types we've seen in other games?

JW: Our types are closer to personalities than physical types. This is quite a departure from other games in the genre. The types are Vicious, the blood thirsty sadists; the Brutes, which wield huge physical strength and act fairly arrogantly; the Will types, which are like calm, sturdy tanks; the Relentless, ones that refuse to quit with high endurance; and finally, the Unstable, the ones about to fall apart at the seams that act erratically. When you breed a Brute with Laz, you get a Laz that is bursting at the seams with strength. When you breed a Vicious type with a Teedon, you get one that looks like it might try to stab you in the back. Because of this, we're able to design each monster as if it is bursting at the seams with its personality.

EM: The stockpiling mechanic encourages players to switch monsters of the same type in order to create a chain and boost the strength of their following attacks. What helped influence this idea?

JW: Well, in other games you can switch to another monster in your party. It takes time, you often take a hit, but you weigh the cost to the benefits of getting a type advantage.We wanted to expand on that, and we really start thinking of it from an outside perspective. How does it work? How do you switch the monster? We started trying to imagine it if we were tamers in-universe. Now if you recall, our monsters are very wild and mean -- taming them to the degree that they obey direct, specific, and prompt commands to swap mid battle would take a high level of mastery over these wild beasts. They'd make a Lion Tamer look like a joke! So having this high level of team synergy builds energy, and it's unleashed when you finally do attack. Of course, if you mess up, you can lose all your built-up stockpile without getting to use its power. Depending on the level of stockpile you've built, you'll gain buffs or inflict debuffs. Depending on the foe, a building 2 stockpile before attack might be just what the doctor ordered. Against another, you might find that if you can't hit a full stockpile gauge, it's not worth it against this particular enemy. It'll always be risk-reward, and we're looking forward to the mind games people play against each other in online battling as well. Also, there is a secret additional stockpile level you can unlock as you play through the game. Anyone with the skill to reach that level may be rewarded ... in "transformative" ways....

EM: Last question, is there some time we can expect a possible release date or release window, and will it be exclusive to PC?

JW: Well, we're launching a Kickstarter on April 10th, so we'll have a clearer picture then, but as of right now, we're shooting for a February 2019 release. Of course we're going to work hard to try to get it out even sooner. We do want to leave plenty of time for very thorough testing of both the game and the online battling and trading. It will launch on PC, Android, and iOS. I'm also going to do everything in my power to get it on the Switch and Vita, but that involves other parties as well, so I'm not able to promise anything at this moment.

I thanked Jason for taking the time out of his day to chat with me. Monster Crown is currently in development. An early demo of the game, Crowns Frostbite, is available for download on PC. You can follow Jason on Twitter as well as the Monster Crown Twitter, Facebook, subreddit, and website.

Monster Crown Launches Kickstarter Campaign Tue, 10 Apr 2018 14:19:37 -0400 Erroll Maas

Studio Aurum has launched a Kickstarter campaign page for their upcoming monster-taming RPG, Monster Crown.

One of the signature features of Monster Crown is that it will feature true crossbred offspring of parent creatures, creating entirely new species players will be allowed to name themselves. Monster Crown will also feature a unique switching mechanic not seen in other games.

The campaign goal is $5,000 USD, and backer rewards include getting your name in the credits; a digital copy of the game on either Steam, Linux, PlayStation Vita, or Nintendo Switch; access to a private backer demo; a digital soundtrack; a digital art book; and even the chance to design your own monster to be put in the game. Revealed stretch goals include an extended soundtrack and surprise monster designers.

Monster Crown has an estimated release window of February 2019 and is planned to launch on Steam, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, and Android. To learn more about the game, you can check out our previous coverage as well as our interview with Lead Developer Jason Walsh.