Monster Sanctuary

Growing up as a 90s baby, I was around for the rise of Pokémon (with the second gen being my absolute favorite). I even have a Pokémon tattoo!

Over the years I feel the main series Pokémon games have gone a direction I’m not particularly fond of. I beat Pokémon Sword in less than 24 hours, shortly after it launched. It felt absurdly simplified and childish, removing any of the difficulty and fantastic story elements of the previous games.

However, a friend of mine recently gifted me Monster Sanctuary for Nintendo Switch, and I’ve fallen in love. This game is made by a German studio called Moi Rai Games, whose work I’m admittedly not super familiar with, but it’s published by Team17, the British studio that once brought us the classic Worms games.

In some ways, Monster Sanctuary is everything I wish Pokémon would have evolved into. It has you hatching monsters from eggs and filling out your ‘dex. It has tons of areas to explore. You’ll use HM moves to navigate the map, build your team, and beat everyone you come across.

Monster Sanctuary

On the other hand, it feels it feels like a seed that fell off the Pokémon tree and grew into something familiar but still unique in its own right. This is a Castlevania-style adventure game that has you hopping around and solving difficult puzzles, dodging lava and pitfalls. Combat is detailed, with party building and skill trees for each monster.

The story Is a tad weak in places, but I think there’s enough cool stuff here to make up for that. The stylized pixel art is filled with gorgeous details, and the soundtrack is solid. Simply traveling from place to place, encountering new monsters and bosses, feels like an adventure. The combat is satisfying, and the skill-tree leveling feels simple enough to manage but complex enough to give depth to your options. Competitive team builders, rejoice! The options are wide and abundant, and the variety of team dynamics is massive.

So if you’re interested in checking out a “what could have been” Pokémon-style game, give Monster Sanctuary a chance. Collect ’em all, and kick the alchemists’ asses to the moon and back.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x