Yetis, gargoyles and ghouls check into this fright-filled hotel builder.
With Halloween around the creepy corner, vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night need a place to crash. With this in mind, developer Meridian4 hopes they'll take up residence on your iPhone and/or iPad in Monster Mansion, a free-to-play building game that lets you construct your own haunted hotel populated by some of horror's more iconic characters, such as ghouls, witches, mummies and swamp creatures, among other villains. What are the goals? Scare innocent looking humans, collect as many coins as possible and build, build, build. Not a bad game per se, but annoying ads and a lack of missions left us wanting more.
In a sense, Monster Mansion is a cross between Tiny Tower and Happy Street. You have the privilege of creating a fairly elaborate hotel, so long as you expand. To that end, you'll quickly outgrow the modest space provided, and will need to grind long enough to afford more land with coins. You get coins by purchasing different Monster Rooms for your new guests to take up residence within, then Scare Rooms for those aforementioned humans to wander through; give them a tap, and a monster will take care of the rest. From there, money gets added to your virtual bank account; monsters also earn coins on their own.
Continue doing this, even for 30 minutes, and you should amass thousands of coins. Of course, this being a freemium title, coins eventually become almost worthless compared to pumpkins, by far the tougher currency to acquire without making an in-app purchase. Otherwise, you'll need to wait upwards of an hour or more until various rooms and land are available. Not exactly a revolutionary concept.
What really bothers us about Monster Mansion, though, is the lack of purpose. Most if not all free games of this type contain a near endless supply of missions, independent of Game Center achievements, to keep players pushing ahead, but there's nothing of the sort, a disappointing fact that had us itching to play other titles. What's more, Meridian4 flooded the game with ads, some of which are unavoidable; of course, you can pay a small fee to have them removed.
On top of that, the music (cool at first, and definitely appropriate) constantly repeats, and you have no control over which monster comes out to scare people; it's random, from what we can tell. The same goes for feeding monsters cookies for bonus rewards. Each time we tap the cookie button, the delicious-looking treat winds up someplace different.
This ultimately puts Monster Mansion a few steps behind the best freemium games on the App Store. If you love monsters and building things without much fuss, it satisfies on some level. We just expected more treats than tricks.
What's Hot: Impressive variety of monsters/decorations/rooms, coins are easy enough to come by, free to build however you like.
What's Not: Typical grind versus in-app purchase set-up, no in-game missions to complete, too many ads.