Back in February, we spotted details concerning Zynga Japan's Montopia, a Pokemon-inspired "collect them all" monster game that then had no apparent timeline for a western release. Now, Zynga has stealthily launched an English version of the game on the Canadian iTunes store, meaning that a US release will likely come within a matter of weeks or even days.
We've had a chance to go hands-on with Montopia, and can confirm many of our predictions from back in February. Aspiring monster trainers will be able to choose their character's gender and name and then set out on individual journeys of varying sizes, using energy and health points to limit a single gameplay session. You'll open treasure chests, collect gem pieces and more along the way, all the while collecting monsters with environmental affinities (your first selection will be to choose from a set of water, fire or grass monsters, as an example).
Gallery: Montopia on iOS
Monsters come with individual stats and rarity markings, and you'll easily come across duplicates in your path. These duplicates (or even simple "common" monsters that you don't want) can be used to boost the stats of a larger monster through a fusion process, which is actually more than just a bit sad/creepy. That is, you're effectively killing one monster to boost another. We'll continue to examine everything that makes Montopia tick, and will have more complete thoughts on the game in the near future.
In the meantime, if you have access to the Canadian App Store, why not download Montopia for free for yourself and see if this is finally one Pokemon "clone" that can stand up to the original.
Click here to download Montopia on the Canadian iTunes Store --->
What do you think of the idea of Montopia? Have you been able to get your hands on the game? What do you think of it thus far? Sound off in the comments!