Broken Bulb Studios, a small developer in Scottsdale, Arizona, has finally released a Facebook game that it has been working on for over a year: Miscrits: World of Adventure. In Miscrits, players take one the role of a monster trainer, exploring the wilderness and trying to capture as many monsters (“Miscrits”) as they can. Easy to pick up and learn, Miscrits initially puts players into a single player adventure, but for more advanced hands also offers a multiplayer arena where players can pit their Miscrits against other players in competitive, strategic battles.
Miscrits is part of the character collection and combat sub-genre created by Pokemon, and recently continued on Facebook with the launch of Gaia Online’s Monster Galaxy. The basic idea is to groom one of your hundreds of captured Miscrits, helping them gain levels by doing quests and fighting. Over time, as the creatures gain new powers, a nuanced strategy evolves that keeps players hooked.
Initially, there is no overarching quest or Big Bad Enemy to defeat in Miscrits, and the player’s only goal is to gain levels and capture as many Miscrits as he can. The interface and gameplay of Miscrits is simple and intuitive, especially if you’ve played other monster training games. You control the movement of your avatar through clicking, while more clicks on objects or people allow you to talk, read, or otherwise interact.
In town, you can heal your Miscrits once every hour, train or switch Miscrits at will, and purchase and sell items to aid in battle. You can also enter the arena and challenge other players for experience points, special items and glory. From town you can enter various wild locations such as the forest, the beach, or mountains, where you can explore and find items or experience points and Miscrits to fight and capture.
Fights are one Miscrit versus another, though you can have a team of up to four Miscrits at a time. Each turn you can use a Miscrit power, an item or switch to another Miscrit. If you’re fighting another trainer, the trainer can also switch out Miscrits; the battle isn’t over until all Miscrits from one side have been eliminated. Otherwise, battles with wild Miscrits are over once you’ve defeated or captured the single Miscrit.
Captures have a percentage of succeeding, depending on the life and level of the enemy Miscrit, and you can only attempt so many captures in a given period of time. Once captured, the Miscrit joins your team and you can train and level him like any other Miscrit you have. Winning battles can earn you experience points, items, and other bonuses.
Individual Miscrits don’t benefit from battle, and instead you, the trainer, gain experience points with each battle. Every time you level, you gain “Training Points” which can be spent to level individual Miscrits. Initially, it costs just one point to raise a Miscrit one level, but the cost increases as the Miscrit reaches higher level. Training points can be gained not just through leveling, but also random events like the wishing well, and through purchase, allowing players to speed up their training by paying for it if they wish.
As Miscrits levels they gain new powers every three levels and evolve to mightier forms every 10 levels. On top of this, each of the hundreds of Miscrits fall into one of three types : Fire, Water or Nature. Fire attacks do more damage to Nature Miscrits, Nature has a bonus against Water, and Water has a bonus against Fire, so the choice of Miscrit during a battle is critical and can entirely change the outcome of a battle.
However, higher level Miscrits also gain special physical attacks, that do the same damage regardless of the element type of the enemy Miscrit. The combination of all these factors means that with hundreds of Miscrits and many choices to make in the leveling of a Miscrit, the strategy in choosing, training and battling is nuanced, with no one perfect path. This level and depth of strategy is uncommon in social games and holds potential for Miscrits as a competitive game.
For being a relatively new game, Miscrits is well put together with no major bugs, hiccups or slowdown issues. The art and music seem a little weak at times, but the amount of thought put into the gameplay and balance makes Miscrits more than enjoyable. Throughout the game you can see many placeholders for content to come, including special attacks and new areas to explore, showing Broken Bulb’s intent to improve Miscrits in the coming months. Apart from multiplayer battles, there aren’t many social aspects to Miscrits, but one might well also expect dueling and visiting friends’ homes in the future, as well as other features.
Speaking of battles, Broken Bulb has set the stage for an interesting fight with Monster Galaxy, which launched just over a month ago and has quickly grown to over 4.6 million monthly active users. Miscrits, with less than three weeks under its belt, has reached about half a million MAU. Although we expect that other monster collection games will be launched in response to the success of these two, their development will take several months; in the meantime, both of these games are growing fast.
Yann Yu Read more: Inside Social Games