There are few game titles that are more literal than Monster Hunter. This is a world full of monsters, and it’s your job to hunt them down. But what makes the series so compelling is the gameplay loop associated with those hunts: the way you prepare by collecting the right gear, weapons, and potions; how to spend time studying your target before entering battle; and finally, use the downed monster to craft better equipment so you can take on even more challenging beasts. It is a long and complicated process, but also one that is so satisfying when you get it done.
Monster hunter now, a collaboration between Capcom and Pokémon Go developer Niantic is trying to take that formula and streamline it into something that works on your phone in short bursts. In many ways it is successful: the hunt Now are quick little battles that you can usually complete in less than a minute while queuing for coffee. But while the game feels good during those sessions, it lacks much of the strategy and planning involved MaHun used to get his hooks into you. Monster hunter now has a lot of potential, but in its current form it is more of an introductory book MaHun then something that will satisfy existing players.
The game actually has a story, which is about the MaHun realm that overflows into our world – a bit like the Monster Hunter movie starring Milla Jovovich – but it’s mostly just an excuse to walk around killing monsters. Now is a location-based game from Niantic, largely in the same mold as Pokémon Go and its less successful successors. That means you have to go out into the real world to find mining resource locations or look for monsters. The game doesn’t count your steps; that is always the case Pikmin Bloom for that – but leaving the house is a big part of the experience.
What makes it real Monster hunter now Different are the battles, which are central. At first the battle is quite simple. When you first enter battle (which you do by tapping a monster near you on the map), the controls are very simple: you tap the monster in front of you to attack and swipe right or left to dodge. It’s very easy and at first I could win almost every fight by quickly tapping the monster in front of me. But as you level up and progress through the story, the combat becomes quite elaborate.
Most importantly, you’ll unlock bigger and more dangerous monsters to fight. Not only do they look great, with details and animations that rival the console Monster Hunter games, but they also add some much-needed challenge. The larger beasts require heavily upgraded equipment and well-timed dodges to succeed. Whatever happens, the fighting is over very quickly. In fact, if you don’t complete a battle within 75 seconds, you fail. But it’s impressive how much action is packed into that short time frame.
In addition to more creatures to fight, you also steadily unlock more weapons and with them skills. You’ll need to forge all your own equipment, and eventually you’ll be able to craft a number of weapon types that all feel very different, from devastating but slow greatswords to ranged weapons like a bow and arrow. As you level up these weapons you can also unlock special attacks that charge during battle, and soon you’ll be able to target specific parts of a monster just like in the mainline. MaHun games. Yes, you can still cut off a Barroth’s tail.
The problem is that while the battles become more challenging over time, the strategy never changes that much. No matter what equipment I have or what beast I’m fighting, the battles always play out the same: spam the attack button until the monster flashes red (a sign that they’re about to attack), dodge until I’m clear, and repeat . Maybe I should have a drink if my timing is a little off, but other than that, things mostly play out the same. Whenever I die, it’s usually because my equipment is too weak, not because my strategy was bad.
What’s missing is the “hunting” part of it Monster Hunter. I don’t need to learn anything about my prey to be successful or master a specific fighting style, and there simply isn’t enough time in a fight to make much distinction between the beasts. They look different, but beating them is pretty much the same across the board. And outside of combat, there isn’t much to do besides mine for resources in interesting places in the real world, which you can use – along with monster parts you get from battle – to upgrade your equipment or create new things.
That said, the skeleton of a solid MaHun mobile game is here. Now looks great, has a slick combat system tailored to a smartphone, and even includes some very clever quality of life features, like paintballs that let you mark monsters in the field so you can fight them later from home. There is a lot of room to grow – and considering how Pokémon Go added major features years after launch, Monster hunter now could follow a similar trajectory if successful.
But that’s a big if. While Pokémon Go remains a success, but it’s otherwise been a rocky road for location-based mobile games, and not just Niantic’s. And while Monster Hunter has a strong portable pedigree, that’s no guarantee of long-term success here. Right now, the game is the monstrous part of the experience: I’m just waiting to finally feel like a hunter.
Monster hunter now launches on September 14 on iOS and Android.