Monster Crown is a Grown-Up Pokémon-Inspired Adventure

Monster Crown makes a great first impression.

Pokémon Red was one of the first games I ever played. It was on my sister’s Game Boy and I remember sneaking into her room when she was out of the house just so I could play it. Collecting creatures and battling them again and again was always great fun as a kid. Monster Crown from developer Studio Aurum is heavily inspired by Pokémon, but takes a bit of a darker turn. Seemingly aimed at adults who grew up playing the early Pokémon games, it gives you all those great hits of nostalgia.

In Monster Crown, currently available on PC in Early Access, you play as a creature tamer in the city of Crown Island. After a short tutorial you get to choose your first “companion” so to speak. The way that you capture creatures in this game is through pacts that are kind of like contracts (talk about reading the terms and conditions). After the contract is signed, that monster will then fight with you.

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The game’s combat is pretty straightforward; if you’ve played a Pokémon game, or even the likes of Undertale, you’ll know exactly what to expect. You can have up to eight monsters in your party, and certain monsters are weaker or stronger against specific types. Each time you start a battle you can choose which monster you’d like to start with, and if you switch a few times during the match you’ll fill up a combo meter that does big damage.

The world of Monster Crown isn’t happy-go-lucky like the world of Pokémon though. In fact, this world has been overrun by these monsters as well as a young woman seeking immense power. People are angry – as I imagine you would be if you walked outside to a giant dinosaur on your doorstep. Players will have to put together a team of monsters with the eventual goal of trying to get Crown Island back to a peaceful place. Maybe then people will stop calling the protagonist things like “Little sh*t!”…

And that’s the kind of humour that you’ll experience for the entire game. The dialogue is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny sometimes. The NPCs are scattered around the world and are there just to chat with, give you missions or warn you about nearby monsters.

While Monster Crown does have pixel graphics, its colour palette is bright and vibrant and the entire game looks great. Your monsters can be both terrifying looking and adorable and overall, there’s a large variety of them.

Monster Crown is silly and simple. It’s hard not to compare it to Pokémon, but then again, it does have a lot of differences that make it all its own. It can be a bit vulgar at times, and definitely hysterical, but overall it’s just good fun. It’s currently in Early Access, with around a third of the final game’s content available. The full release is expected in 2021, with more story content, more monsters, and a host of new features. But what’s here already is promising, and it’s worth picking up if you want a hit of nostalgia with an attitude all of its own.