ZENFORMS: Protectors brings monster collecting to iOS
If Nintendo ever decided to release a Pokemon game for the iOS, mathematicians would need to invent a new denomination to tally the amount of money that the project would rake in. Pokemon iOS is not going to happen, though: Nintendo would sooner put Shigeru Miyamoto in charge of the company’s janitorial staff. So it’s up to independent developers like Calis Projects to fill in the gap with their own monster-collecting games.
ZENFORMS: Protectors looks a heck of a lot like Pokemon in more than one regard, and sure enough, the basic story doesn’t deviate far from what’s been carved in stone by Ash, Gary, and the Elite Four. Far, far away, there is a world called “Gaia,” a place that’s like but so unlike our own Earth. Gaia is peppered with special gems that are used to spawn “Zenforms”–monsters that you can raise, train, battle, and stuff in your pocket. You are a young male or female trailer who aspires to become a “Protector,” a kid who guards and trains Zenforms in lieu of going to school or getting a part-time job.
Again, it’s familiar stuff, but credit is due: Calis Projects has made some intriguing changes to differentiate ZENFORMS: Protectors from its inspiration. One very welcome addition is the ability to customize the look of your trainer. Finally! If I can’t go on a monster-collecting journey while sporting a purple mohawk, ain’t nobody going on a monster-collecting journey.
But most intriguing is the manner in which Zenforms evolve and grow. You begin the game with one of three “newborn” Zenforms (and will eventually be able to carry up to four total): Freno, a red biped Zenform, Rinba, a blue quadruped Zenform, or Slino, a green amphibian Zenform. Zenforms evolve on a branched path, as opposed to the straight “wham, bam, you’re done” method of Pokemon. There are five age groups for your Zenform to “grow into:” Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Adult, and the mysterious Grand age.
The direction your Zenform evolves in depends on its statistics, as well as how you spend the skill points that you earn by completing battles and quests. The Zenform’s elemental stats play a factor as well. There are four: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart (kidding, kidding, no Heart).
Skill points can also be spent to upgrade your Zenform’s stats, which include Attack, Defense, and Speed. Secondary stats are boosted as a side effect of raising these primary stats. If you raise Defense, for instance, you Zenform’s hit points (HP) will go up.
Of course, you can also order your Zenforms to wail on other Zenforms, and catching ‘em all in the wild is a key gameplay mechanic. Your Zenform needs to weaken its wild cousin in battle before you can capture it in a “ZenCrystal.” There are different kinds of ZenCrystals, which might be a help in capturing particularly elusive beasts.
Unfortunately, none of theZENFORMS: Protectorswe’ve seen mentions the one feature that makes Pokemon so compelling: multiplayer options. But chances are good that we’ll see multiplayer options in a future update if the initial game isn’t released with them.
Calis Projects is hoping to get ZENFORMS: Protectors out for iOS this spring, so stay tuned to Gamezebo for future information and updates on the game.