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Video Game / Monster Strike

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Monster Strike (shortened in Japanese to MonSt and MonSuto), is a monster-catching mobile game developed by XFLAGnote  for both iOS and Android. About a year after its Japanese release in September 2013, localizations have become available for North America, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Unlike rival Puzzle & Dragons, the gameplay of Monster Strike is more of a physics puzzle in the vein of marbles or air hockey; you assemble a team of monsters who are deployed into a rectangular field as little marbles. On each of their turns, you drag on the screen to pull back and flick them, making them bounce around and attack stationary enemies by colliding with them. You can bounce your monsters into each other for them to use special Bump Combo attacks, and after enough turns their active Strike Shot skills can be used, which is announced by the game with actual voice acting.

The other mechanics of the game are largely similar to other mobile monster-catching titles. You fuse units to make them level up, acquiring monsters in battle is up to chance, there's a freemium currency used for getting rare monsters among other things, playing levels requires stamina which regenerates over time, and you normally use only three of your monsters because the fourth slot is for another player's lead monster.

Unique to Monster Strike is the ability for multiplayer, allowing up to 4 people to work together on a single level. Some quests are multiplayer-only, and going multiplayer increases the possibility that rare monsters will drop from harder quests.

A handful of other properties and games based on Monster Strike were also released.

  • Monster Strike: Multi Burst is an arcade game that features a saving system and real-time tag team play.
  • Monster Strike: Real Disk Battle is a Collectible Card Game (sorta?, you get cards but they've been perforated so you can punch the disk with the monster out) that features the Monster Strike monsters.
  • MonSt Stadium is a companion app that allows players to test teams up against each other, racing through a quest level to see who finishes first, and it has multiplayer support up to 4-on-4 matches.
  • Monster Strike for the Nintendo 3DS was released on December 17, 2015.
  • Monster Strike: Card Game, an actual Collectible Card Game for up to four players who take turns damaging a Quest monster at the middle of the field, with the winner determined by their prize cards' total Luck Value. Or something like that.

Following a commercial with VFX by Tippett Studio; a Monster Strike YouTube anime series by Studio Hibari also released on October 10, 2015. Here's the trailer. A movie, done by Liden Films, would be released on December 10, 2016. This was followed in 2017 and 2018 by two sequel series done with CGI - One by Sanzigen Animation Studio serving as a continuation of sorts; and an anthology series by several companies, including Anima, ICLA, Dynamo Pictures, CGCG Inc and Studio GOONEYS. A spin-off special also animated by Sanzigen entitled Sorcery in the Big City would be released in 2017.

A character sheet for the anime is under construction.

Monster Strike contains examples of the following:

  • After-Combat Recovery: With each wave of enemies you defeat, you'll regain some HP while proceeding to the next one.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Most every boss and miniboss has a flashing cursor indicating a weak spot you can strike to do extra damage, but it moves after each turn. Some Strike Shots do much more damage if you manage to hit the enemy's weak point, and a few can even reveal all of a boss' weak spots simultaneously.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ren does this on occasion, similar to Deadpool.
  • Canon Immigrant: A special Disk Expie was released to commemorate the Real Disk Battle game, and it can only be acquired from serial codes included in the booster packs. The monsters Burst and Marl were created for the Multi Burst arcade game. Burst was added to Monster Strike as a new Descended Event Quest, while Marl can only be acquired by playing the tag-team mode of Multi Burst for a serial code at the end and even then there's only a 50% chance that Marl will be the prize. Marl is, of couse, necessary to Ascend Burst into Multi Burst, meaning some time spent in the game center. Disk Dragon was later introduced to the Real Disk Battle game and also can be obtained in the video game through a serial code.
    • Kagutsuchi was made exclusively for the 3DS game, and was meant to premiere in the anime. It was later made a special prize for the Montama gacha gauge which players level up by logging in and playing solo or multiplayer regularly throughout a month.
  • Charge Meter: In addition to having Bounce or Pierce type monsters (whether or not they bounce off of or pass right through enemies), certain monsters have a Gauge Shot that requires timing the release of your monster. Getting a "Good" Gauge Shot increases attack strength, but getting a "Fantastic" adds on a second Ability as well.
  • Collectible Card Game: Real Disk Battle. It's either played straightforward as a card game with an extremely confusing system, or it can be played as a more simple "flick your cardboard disks at each other across a smooth table" thing.
  • Color-Coded Elements: And they're even the same five from Puzzle & Dragons - Fire, Water, Wood, Light and Dark.
  • Combination Attack: Bump Combos by their very nature, as they require bumping one of your monsters with another one. The effect you get comes from the monster you collide with, but ones with explosion-type Bump Combos can also set off your active monster's Bump Combo. Depending on your team, setting off all their Bump Combos as often as possible may be the fastest way to deal damage.
  • Cooldown / Cooldown Manipulation: Your monsters' Strike Shots take some amount of turns to charge up. Grabbing an hourglass item will skip a few turns of their cooldown, but if you wait for one to grow before grabbing it, it'll grant the effect to your whole team. Enemies also have turn counters over them which show how many turns you have until they use their attacks, and some monsters' Strike Shots can be used to delay enemies' attacks by raising their turn counters.
    • Some Ableberries lower the Strike Shot cooldown, and a new Gauge Shot Ability in Japan does the same per turn, but only for that monster.
  • Crossover: Like rival Puzzle & Dragons, Monster Strike has teamed up with various companies to add their franchise's characters to the game; with Shonen Jump titles being the most prominent:
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dark-type monsters aren't necessarily evil. Porthos, for example, is still the hero he always was, despite being Dark-typed (and some sort of half-animal creature lugging a huge cannon).
  • Evolution Powerup: Comes in two flavors in Monster Strike: Evolution and Ascension. Evolution requires the player to collect evolution Catalysts through normal play, and then raising a monster's level to its maximum. This is the case for every monster, with rarer monsters having a higher maximum level. However, these rarer monsters nearly all have an alternate Ascension, which requires that the player collect monsters from Event Quests, and fuse them to each other to reach a required Luck value, which can then be used to Ascend the other monster. Evolved and Ascended forms may have different stats, Abilities, Strike Shots, and Bump Combos. There's also a way to switch between Evolved and Ascended forms; going from Evolved to Ascended requires the same material monsters but lower Luck values, while going from Ascended to Evolved requires triple the Catalysts (but not an extremely rare Catalyst). Transcensions were added next, allowing players to permanently evolve an Evolved/Ascended monster into an even stronger form with a two-tiered Strike Shot and the ability to have 2 Ableberries.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: The monsters' in-game marble-shaped sprites.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack / Area of Effect: Some enemies attack by making area-of-effect explosions, which will hit any monster within range. If two or more of your monsters are packed together, this can hurt pretty badly.
  • Historical Domain Character: To set it apart from rival game Puzzle & Dragons, many monsters in Monster Strike are historical figures rather than mythological characters. Of course the level of similarity is often in name only. These include
  • Home-Run Hitter: This effect can be achieved by finishing off a boss with a Strike Shot that knocks the first contacted enemy into the air. Normally they just get popped upwards and fall back down, but making the finishing blow with one sends them all the way out of the screen.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Appears in some event quests as a small tile that rotates every turn, and propels your monster in a cardinal direction if you hit it, either speeding them up or slowing them down depending on the color.
  • Item-Drop Mechanic: Enemies will often drop chests with either Stoans (evolution materials) or Morlings (fodder monsters that boost the stats of whoever they're fused to). The end boss of a level drops a bunch of gold and chests, which have to be grabbed manually by swiping over them. Multiplayer kicks it up a notch, as even attacking regular enemies can cause gold and chests to pop out of them. Rarely, an enemy will drop an egg of its own kind instead of a Morling. In fact, the whole point of event quests is getting the boss monster to drop.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The various laser attacks tend to look like this, from your monsters' Bump Combos and Strike Shots to the beams some enemies fire out. It helps that they're accompanied with "PYOOOOO" onomotopoeias matching the sound effect.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Like most of these games, whenever you Rank Up your stamina is fully refilled so you can play more levels right away.
  • Light Is Not Good: Light-types aren't necessarily good, and some in fact are purely malevolent. Cardinal Richelieu becomes a demon-summoning Evil Sorcerer even worse than his book incarnation, and Nero is much more hands-on about his cruelty here, despite both being light-typed.
  • Limit Break: Strike Shots in general are strong enough to turn the tide of a battle, and the game itself plays up the drama a bit as activating one makes your monster speak something as they attack.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In a few more difficult quests, clearing a boss or mid-boss's health gauge will cause all minor mobs on the floor to disappear with it.
  • Luck Stat: Denoted on each monster's stats with a clover leaf sign. It influences your likelihood of getting extra goodies after each level, and the only way to raise it is fusing duplicates of the same monster, or earlier/later evolutions of it.
    • Max Luck monsters are most coveted, as they guarantee additional prizes at the end of the level. Only 6-star monsters can be Max Luck, which is unlocked at 99 Luck, which becomes an effective 200 Luck. Having multiple Max Luck monsters also unlocks Max Luck Bonuses, including: increasing the chance that one or all of your monsters and your friend's monster having Strike Shots active at the start of the stage, increasing chances that you get a free continue if you lose the stage, a chance that your stamina is refilled upon clearing a quest, increasing the HP recovered between battles in a quest, and rare monsters.
    • "Bakuzetsu" stages can only be unlocked after a player has at least 5 Max Luck monsters. They're also incredibly more difficult than the "Impossible" (Chouzetsu) stages.
  • Macross Missile Massacre / Flechette Storm: The various homing attacks you and the enemies can use behave like this, spreading out from the user before seeking out targets. Homing Piercer attacks have the added bonus of penetrating enemies to hit multiple times.
  • Metal Slime: Turtles. Expies are worth more fusion EXP than anything else and can mainly be found in once-per-game bonus stages played after each set of main quest levels, as well as random event quests available for an hour at a time. They come in all five elements due to the bonus EXP for fusing same-element monsters. There's also Gold Turtles that are meant to be sold for gold instead.
    • There are also several monsters that only exist in stages and simply exist as hazards like the scorpions that solely take one damage per hit or slimes that decrease the player's monster's momentum. These will drop items like other monsters, but it's still rare.
  • Microtransactions: The freemium currency here is rainbow-colored Orbs. You can spend one to restore your stamina; continue if defeated during a level; expand your monster box's capacity; or save them for Rare Hatcher pulls, which cost five Orbs a go. If you're especially patient you can save up 50 of them to roll 10 Rare Hatcher pulls at once, which guarantees they'll all be 4-star or better instead of 3-star. Thankfully, there's also quite a few (much slower) ways to get them for free.
  • Near Victory Fanfare / Theme Music Power-Up: When you've gotten a boss down to enough of their last lifebar, the music changes to a heroic, driving remix of the main theme song.
    • Playing Princess Sakuya's stage Atsui Cherry Bomb gives you the vocal version of game's theme song performed by JAM Project's Hironobu Kageyama.
    • The Evangelion (and later the Godzilla × Evangelion) collab has a choral rendition of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" start playing during the last gauge floor. The "Just a Bit More!" message triggers an orchestrated instrumental version of "A Cruel Angel's Thesis".
    • The Saint Seiya collab dungeon takes this up another notch. The boss fights get music directly from the show's soundtrack during the Gold Saints arc. The "Just a Bit More!" message triggers an instrumental version of "Pegasus Fantasy" to replace the BGM. However, on the extra stage, you get "Pegasus Fantasy" with vocals.
    • The Ultraman collab dungeons get the same treatment. After using music from the show's soundtrack, getting the boss down to its last 50% of its final life bar the music switches to "Song of Ultraman".
  • Our Gods Are Different: Like rival Puzzle & Dragons, Monster Strike is full of monsters based on gods, but they're termed Deities.
    • Characters from other various world mythologies that aren't "gods" also show up, such as King Arthur,
  • Palette Swap: Prevalent amongst the Mor- or Expies, although they do have some slight design variations amongst them. More evident in the "X Awakens" or "S Awakens" Quest prizes or the "X" variations of Rare Hatcher monsters which are palette swaps of others (and there are minor differences in art, usually faces) but their abilities and Bump Combos differ.
  • Reviving Enemy: Crops up in some harder quests. It can get to the point where you have to kill a specific pair or group of them all at the same time to stop them from reviving!
  • Rule 63: In comparison to Puzzle & Dragons, there are many characters in Monster Strike that are genderswapped, including, but not limited to, Napoleon, Oda Nobunaga and Sanada Yukimura, Hermes, Horus and Ra, Francisco Pizarro and even Leonardo da Vinci isn't immune.
  • Shifted to CGI: After Season 1, the series switches from 2D animation with CGI to fully 3D animation
  • Spread Shot: Lots of monsters either shoot spreading bullets with their Bump Combo, or fire bullets outward with their Strike Shot as they bounce around.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Some bosses unleash pretty gigantic lasers on everyone, and any monster of yours with a Laser XL bump combo will qualify, unleashing enormous beams with similarly enormous damage.