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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Boomlagoon's second title Monsu hits familiar gameplay mechanics

In the beginning of May, the relatively new mobile game company Boomlagoon secured a cool $3.6 million (€2.59 million) in funding in a round from Northzone, Finland’s Inventure, and 360 Capital Partners. When there’s news surrounding the (at the time) 8 employee’s led by 3 ex-Rovio members, it’s easy to have interest in what’s next.

Lets rewind time a tad to take a look at where Boomlagoon started, Noble Nuttlings, which was their entry into the App marketplace and the brainchild of the original three founders after their stint at Rovio.

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The essence of the game was to create a make-shift vehicle out of wagon wheels & odd parts, then diving into a sloped terrain to battle through the physics of the environment. Now the team dynamic has shifted a bit, and the result is Monsu.

To a certain extent, we’re seeing a pretty bold departure of those gameplay mechanics in Boomlagoon’s latest entry to the side scrolling platformer market. Here, you’ve traded in your funny dune buggy for Monsu himself, a single monster-like character. With Rayman-like inspiration you control Monsu through what feels like an all too familiar scenario.

Like many popular apps today you can expect tap to jump mechanics with a persistent scroll, making it more difficult to perfectly time jumps to grab diamonds, one of the four digital currencies players should maximize – if you’re a new user, try not to get intimidated by the addition of coins, hearts, and even the beloved gems. Coins being the currency gained after each of your untimely deaths while hearts and gems are the instruments around Monsu’s monetization strategy and limit how much you can play, or what playing card packs you can buy.

Monsu is all about building your single character into the strongest monster possible, done by applying digital playing cards that buff the in-game experience. As powerups you can attach a total of three digital cards like wasp/bee that occasionally helps attack an enemy in front, or a spear you can activate to throw helps you get farther – Imagine an action side-scroller with Hearthstone-esque elements. Boomlagoon is counting on the fact you’re going to want to unlock rare & “epic” card packs with your hearts and gems.

There’s no question the mobile app market is a litter with copycat games and re-skinned versions of already existing experiences. Opening the App Store can now bring on a sense of worry that your subconscious has been taken over by bright colours and clever marketing. Which Apps have genuine new interactive experiences? Which will re-hash existing game mechanics in the most clever way? It’s hard to tell where exactly Monsu falls between the two, maybe even somewhere in the middle. Now that their beta program has ended successfully in Finland, the expansion today to the global market will be a definitive test.

As a gamer, I feel like I’m over-crituiqing a new product that falls within my interest. There’s something tricky with experiences of high levels of interactivity. When a gameplay mechanic is re-used it broods one of two usual responses. One being a sense of familiarity, an old dog with new tricks. The other being boredom. A large amount of people play these games on their phones to pass the time, or enjoy some casual stimulation. So where’s the harm in exploiting successful mechanics? It wouldn’t be surprising if a new player to this type of gameplay enjoys Monsu for the same reason I’ve fallen for so many like it.

Boomlagoon has said they’ve opened a second game track and will continue experimenting with future iOS related IPs. Looking forward to see what they have in store.

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