If you were to take a look over my games collection, you’d rightly peg me as a bit of an arcade nut, with a fondness for anything fast-paced and flashy. But for some reason, I’m extraordinarily susceptible to the charms of the humble turn-based strategy game. I’ve lost weeks to the likes of Advance Wars, Faselei! and the Civilization series, and Master Of Monsters is the latest game to get its hooks into me.
It’s much like any turn-based strategy that takes place on a hex grid – you build units, capture resources, fight the enemy and seek to defeat their commander in combat. However, the hook here is that your units are all magical creatures, from dragons and minotaurs to lizard-men. Each have the sort of characteristics you’d expect – serpents move well in the sea but are terrible on land, a pegasus moves fast but isn’t strong, and a dragon will make mincemeat of enemy units. Instead of getting promotions, your creatures transform into stronger forms, and instead of artillery attacks you use magic spells.
It’s not the prettiest Mega Drive game and the music gets rather repetitive, but there’s something very addictive about the flow of Master Of Monsters. You can play with multiple factions on a single map or go for a lengthy campaign mode (which excellently allows you to retain your transformed beasts between stages), which means that if it gets its hooks into you like it did me, this game will last you ages.