LifeisXbox’s Beasties review | A game titled Beasties with a subtitle of ‘Monster Trainer Puzzle RPG’? Well, count me in! Beasties is a hand-drawn 2D monster trainer game with turn-based puzzle combat, where you take on the role of a Beastie trainer. With a Steam page that is very clear about what you can and cannot expect from the game, Beasties promises charming gameplay, monster taming, and strategical match-3 brawling. Let’s see if Beasties is as magical as it’s made out to be!
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Battle system | It’s no secret that Beasties drew inspiration from the popular Pokémon games in many ways. The battle system is definitely one of them. Just as is the case in Pokémon, you run into random encounters with beasties in the tall grass. You cannot see the beasties, meaning you cannot avoid them. Your team can have a maximum of 4 beasties, and when you enter battle, you can encounter up to 4 beasties as well. I guess, unlike Pokémon games, they like to hang out and attack in groups. The actual fighting happens with match-3 mechanics. I’m very unfamiliar with this as I never play these types of games, but I ended up quite enjoying this unique way of battling. The match-3 grid is made up of several colors, and each beastie is also associated with a color. Much like a type, you could say. When you pop gems of a beastie’s color, the power bar of said beastie will increase. Depending on the beastie, you’ll need a certain amount of pops before you can use the special ability. Attacking is also done by popping the grey gems or popping a bunch of correct colored gems. Of course, battles also provide a chance to add new beasties to your team. By using BeaCons, you can try and form a bond (a.k.a. capture) with wild beasties that have been weakened in battle.
- A vibrant world | Beasties offers a very bright and lush world to explore. Sure, it may be small but discovering every part of it was nice. The world is very green and has some distinct regions. Besides the main campaign of the game, there are also some treasure chests to be found and some NPCs with extra tasks to fulfill. Nothing too fancy, but it made it worth looking around a bit more. The characters in Beasties look like cardboard pins you see in board games. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but it’s an original way to represent your characters in an online game for sure. The beasties themselves looked adorable, even though there is a limited variety. The Steam page does warn you that there aren’t hundreds of monsters to be found in this game, so no issue. I didn’t get tired of running into the same beasties again and again because of the short campaign.
- Leveling up beasties | Of course your beasties can level up in order to become stronger. After winning battles, you receive dawn dust which can be turned into dawn disks. With these disks, you can upgrade beastie’s health, strength, defense, and special abilities. However, the way you had to level up in this game didn’t sit right with me. You cannot do it whenever, or more so wherever, you want to. There was one person in town handling such affairs, meaning that, if you wanted to level up a beastie, you had to go to her. Luckily the world isn’t big, but still, not really ideal. Especially if you know there is no ‘teleport home / to town’ option.
- Short | So probably the biggest ‘complain’ for Beasties, is the length of the game. With only 3 to 6 hours of gameplay, the credits start rolling quite fast. The ‘boss fight’ can provide a challenge, but with the right strategy, you will knock them, and others, without too much trouble. When finish the main campaign, there is the possibility to continue playing, however, there is no real post-game content. Or any motivation to keep playing, honestly. Sure, there are tiny little side quests and chests to discover, but I don’t feel like they are interesting enough to keep playing. Besides, I finished them all during my campaign anyway. You can also gather wood and iron, but I felt like this added no real value to the overall gameplay.
- Lack of tutorial | Even though Beasties seems and feels like a very easy-going game, it turns out that I missed quite a few things for a while. For example, the match-3 was pretty clear to me but I had no idea that there was a special ability that could be charged. I feel like a tutorial would be a great addition to this game, so players don’t waste time. Even though they don’t know they’re wasting time because they have no clue certain aspects of the game are present. You know?
What we Disliked
- ‘Deep’ storyline | The developers promise a deep storyline but I was left rather disappointed by it. Here it goes: the beasties co-exist in harmony with humans. However, this harmony is disturbed after a beastiemaster disappears. The guild of beastiemasters sends you to a small village to find out what happened to the master and restore balance. Sounds promising, and even though the story is regularly updated throughout the campaign, it did not manage to keep my interest in the slightest.
- Not without its flaws | Besides the items I mentioned above, Beasties had some clear flaws. When mining, you have to click three times, and then a fourth time to pick up the iron you’ve gained. However, the game glitched more often than not when I wanted to pick up the iron. This meant I had to reposition, walk away and walk back, etc to be able to pick up the iron. Safe to say I stopped mining pretty quickly as this kept happening. Then there was the health issue. Buying broccoli or other helpful foods could restore the health of your beasties. However, there was no item that could be bought or found to revive a beastie. I also would’ve loved it if my character wasn’t so goddamn slow. I’m a runner. Well, in games, definitely not in real life. Anyway, there is no running ability so everything felt kind of slow. Talking about running: running from the battle was possible at times, and then not at other times. Like, for easier battles, you could run away, but for the harder ones, you had to fight. Very annoying. Either give me a possibility or not, you know. And then last, the match-3 idea was cool, but still, it’s party luck-based, which could be an issue for players.
How long to beat the story | 3 to 6 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Beasties has no achievements.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂