This Pokémon wannabe is for the birds.
Mobile devices across the globe are running hundreds of virtual pet-raising, freemium app toting, cutesy sims right now, and for good reason: they're addictive! Montopia, however, seems to be the opposite of such. It's Zynga Japan's big move to compete with Pokemon and other monster sims. It's an ambitious goal to be sure, but Pokemon's a heavy hitter. And from what we've seen of Montopia, the original pocket monsters really have nothing to worry about.
Visual similarities and number of monsters aside, though, there isn't much here to connect Montopia to other monster training games, except perhaps Monster Rancher Battle Card GB or Digimon's original card game. You'll make your way across several locations, pick up loot from the treasure chests (or monsters if you're lucky) and this is all governed by your health points. Think of them as stamina that regulates how far you can travel and how long you can play. As you gain more levels you can earn more ability points with which you can use to level up health points and other aspects of your character.
Leveling up allows you to play longer and level up quicker, but you can't focus on any one part of your character development, so it's prudent to ensure you pay close attention to stats like defense and attack, which translate to your monsters performing better in battle. In this, it's a bit strange -- you seem to focus more on leveling than acquiring new monsters or doing anything truly beneficial to this Montopia that's deemed so important.
Montopia is simple stuff to be sure, but it's not captivating in the least. Battles play out more in terms of who has the higher level card and you do little to explore the world other than tap here and there mainly in a linear area to collect loot and monsters. You can spend MonstaCash for augments and powerups to make the process smoother and a little quicker, but it all feels like a waste of time once you consider what you're actually grinding for. It doesn't feel rewarding or fun after the first few hours, and that's if you aren't particularly perturbed by the monster designs and how close everything seems to have been created to Pokemon, right down to the app icon that showcases the three adorable monsters. We've seen them before, haven't we?
Aside from obvious stylistic and mechanical issues, there's a large amount of slowdown, graphical errors, and freezing to contend with -- just a whole bushel of issues really, with little redeeming factors to make pressing onward worth your while.
Montopia looks like it may be up your monster-collecting alley, but we would advise against it if you're looking for an adventure more robust than taps here and there, new monsters, or the occasional co-op fusion that doesn't add many new discernible cool features to the game. There are better sims out there that work much better with your valuable free time, and if you're really wanting to raise monsters, they are plenty of other options.