Gaia Online Launches Monster Galaxy for iOS in First Mobile Game Foray

Social and massively multiplayer online game developer Gaia Online brings its Pokemon-style pet game, Monster Galaxy, to iOS devices today with a standalone mobile version.

Company CEO Mike Sego previously told us to expect its first iOS experiment this September. At that time, the rapid growth of Monster Galaxy on Facebook might have suggested a mobile port of the monster-catching-and-battling game. Sego tells us today, however, that the iOS game is a standalone version that does not require a Facebook Connect login to play.

“The play patterns of people who use the iPhone [indicated] that releasing the game without requiring a Facebook login seemed like a very reasonable and exciting strategy,” Sego says. “We think that the game is well-suited to be successful on mobile devices while [still] attracting the Facebook audience to a new adventure.”

The game puts players in the role of a “Moga Tamer,” here realized as a male or female avatar. The avatar is sent on a series of quests through a chain of islands themed after signs from the Western zodiac. The quests involve individual battles between Moga that the tamer has already obtained and wild Moga or Moga owned by opponents. Moga can only be captured with Star Seed or Master Seed items and only when certain conditions are met (e.g. player Moga level matches attacking Moga level, attacking Moga is weakened, etc.).

Combat is turn-based and consists of a timed power gauge that the user taps at a prime moment to achieve maximum damage per hit. There is also a secondary Zodiac Attack, which is only usable once per battle. The attack is rendered more or less effective depending on the zodiac sign of the attacking Moga and the defending Moga. Each Moga has a health gauge that, when completely depleted by combat, can only be replenished by taking a nap for a fixed amount of time or with the consumption of a premium item called Blue Coffee. Players can build teams of up to three Moga at a time, allowing higher level players to rotate out spent Moga for naps.

Where Monster Galaxy mobile truly differs from the Facebook game is in the avatar itself and the lineup of available Moga. Sego explains that the iOS game is meant to be a different product from the Facebook game, and so gameplay choices made for the latter won’t necessarily show up in the former. For example, Sego once told us that not having an avatar on Monster Galaxy for Facebook made it easier for players to focus on the glory and triumph of collecting Moga. On iOS, however, the avatar’s movement across the world map is restricted by an energy gauge that depletes with ever Moga battle. This forces players into the short-burst gameplay pattern best suited to a mobile game experience. The never-before-seen Moga, meanwhile, attracts the Facebook players that have already collected all the Moga from the social network game.

As this is Gaia Online’s first foray into mobile games, Monster Galaxy for iOS is currently a somewhat linear experience with only the story gameplay mode. Sego says that as things progress, the developer will consider adding cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes, as well as possible cross-compatibility with the Facebook game. Features that increased engagement in the Facebook game, like Moga evolution, may also be added in the future. As always, the developer will also keep an eye open for opportunities on other mobile devices, if the iOS version performs well.

Monster Galaxy for iOS is free-to-download with microtransaction purchases of energy refills and premium Mogas. Look for it in the App Store today. Monster Galaxy on Facebook now has 9.1 million monthly active users and just over 414,000 daily active users, according to our AppData traffic tracking service.

Publish date: September 1, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT