First Sip: Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena – Review
Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena developed and published by Camex Games, is a free to play, turn based, strategy game, featuring a cast of weird and wonderful monsters.
Story wise, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is designed as an ongoing experience, most likely this would be the reason why the story is so vague, essentially powerful warrior monsters from various universes are sucked through portals in order to do battle with and against each other, beyond that you have small amounts of lore for each character, and that’s about it, this lack of story works in favor of the games design as it is more geared for quick matches so large amounts of story would likely just get in the way.
Graphically the game is designed with a cartoony aesthetic, with a lot of the characters seemingly stretching instead of moving, the monsters are well designed and quite varied, everything from Sir Phillip the soldier to Thumper the rabbit with a giant mallet, the visuals are bright and cheerful, well implemented, and I wouldn’t be surprised if casual players choose their team solely on which characters they like the look of most.
Soundwise, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena, is merely adequate, the in game music is somewhat typical for the type of game, vaguely orchestral pieces, generally upbeat and like minor Lord of the Rings background music, sound effects are the typical sort of swoosh, thump, crash noises, with very minor voice acting, in the way of grunts and growls, some of which sound a little distorted, however you can turn off sound and music, and listen to your favourite songs, a podcast, heck even this or other reviews from the site if you want, as the lack of story makes it easy to multitask unless you’re in a timed eSport or PVP battle.
Gameplay wise, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena, has a few different modes, there are adventure battles, in which you select a team to go up against a preset computer team, this will also be the main mode to begin with, as you are rewarded with more monsters to use, and beating certain levels enable more game modes, Mine Defense being one of the ones you unlock, similar to adventure in selecting your team, although with more restrictions which I’ll cover later, in this mode you are pit against other players teams, but neither side gets control of their monsters, this makes base stats more important than other modes, as you can’t overcome a stat gap with smart tactics as in other modes.
Other than Adventure and Mine Defense, you also have multi player PVP battles (essentially the arena mode, pit your team against another players team, but you get to control your team, which means with the right monsters and situations you can overcome a seemingly more powerful enemy), as mentioned earlier, there are some restrictions in selecting your teams in some modes, generally these come in the form of monster ranks, each monster is assigned a color and rarity rank, which generally indicates their over all power level, some modes will have a color key to show which monsters can be selected, i.e. one Orange (Legendary), one Purple (Monstrous), one Blue (Epic) and one Green (Common), however you can place a lower rank card into a higher rank slot, just not the reverse, so you could run two Epic level monsters if you go without a Monstrous or Legendary unit, selecting a lower rank could be useful when you want a particular skill that a lower rank has or if your lower rank monsters are higher levels.
There are a few more battle styles I didn’t cover off, each with their own rules, but they are all explained within the game, so I’ll focus more on the monsters for now, the monsters in the game all have their own skills, strengths and weaknesses, some are complete counters to others, such as rock man Cooper, who takes less physical melee damage that most units, but is less resilient toward magic attacks, or the ghost Vlad, who has a high dodge rate and a special that makes him dodge all melee attacks and as a ghost he can float over obstacles and traps, however some units have skills that cannot miss rendering his dodge useless, with the amount of monsters currently available, (56 at this point) the amount of team combinations is high, and you’ll rarely see the same setups too often, once a certain monster becomes too common in teams, a counter monster will become more used, which then means another counter monster to counter them, or maybe a full team swap to try something else.
Levelling the monsters is done with monster cards, once you receive a monster for the first time they will become usable, and then all duplicates of the monster can be used to level them up, each level increasing the amount of duplicates required, starting out low with 2, 4 etc. and rising to the hundreds fairly quickly, each rarity also begins at a different level, Common start at 1, Epic at 3, Monstrous at 6 and Legendary at 9, which means getting a Common to level 10 from level 9 will take a lot more cards (280) than getting a Legendary to level 10 (2 or actually 1 because the first card you get counts to the limit still), to balance this out the rarities also apply to how easy it will be to come across cards and how many, finishing adventure levels, opening chests, winning in arena, sending monsters out on expeditions etc. will all net you more monster cards, and you’ll find yourself picking up a large amount of Common, far less Epic, rarely Monstrous and Legendary are a big deal when you find them.
Free to Play vs Pay to Win
Free to Play vs Pay to Win, technically the game is Free to Play, you can install it for free, collect all the monsters, unlock all the modes, all without spending a dime, however if you want to be competitive, you’ll have to dig into your wallet really, after a certain point, grinding monsters to level up takes longer and longer, for most monsters, if not all, around level 10 is really the end of the easy upgrades, it’s still possible to level beyond 10 without paying, however purchasing a chest from the store, normally gives you a certain monster and enough to level them, some of these packs can get pretty expensive, but they do give you an obvious advantage over free players, a lot of the monsters strongest abilities are unlocked at higher levels that would take possibly months for a free player to grind to, but a purchase of a chest could cut that down to days, you can also purchase resources with real money, in the form of gems, which can then be spent on chests for more cards or to get more in game money when you’re running low, however the premium chests and the large amount of gems would add up really quickly and you’d be spending more on a supposedly free game then you would to go out and buy a new release AAA title with no microtransactions.
The game does also offer a “Premium subscription” which is a little more palatable than a $70 one time chest, giving you bonus gems daily, extra gold, access to new monsters before non premium members, random cards and some other bonuses, for a few dollars weekly, up to a yearly plan that still costs less than a supreme promo pack chest.
Overall, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena, is a fun game that you can sink time into, there is no energy limitations so you can battle as much as you want, for a casual player you’ll be able to have fun for a while and then you can bail when the grind becomes too much, or if you’re really enjoying it you could shell out for Premium.
In coffee terms, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is like getting a free taste test of a decent coffee, it tastes nice and it’s enjoyable enough, but you know that at a certain point the free samples will become too small, and that’s when they start more aggressively trying to sell you the bags of beans, or rent the maker out to you so you can have more at home.