Universal Monsters Online Review
Universal Monsters Online Review
Free to play MOBA
Browser Based MMO
Universal Monsters Online
This week we see a return to the MOBA genre, only not quite as we’ve come to know it. Universal Monsters Online does a few things differently to the normal sword and sorcery DotA clone, bringing together some of the most iconic, best loved creatures from throughout the Universal horror films. Predating Hammer Horror and bringing some of the best known monsters to life, Universal was a staple for any self-respecting horror movie buff between the early 1920s and 1960. Many of these films have become the basis for how we think of these monsters today, so getting to see many of them all under one roof is a real treat.
Is it a scream or will you find yourself hiding behind the couch with a pillow over your head? Read on.
Universal Monsters Online Gameplay Review (Video)
Ahhh, A Monster! – Here’s a nice surprise – I actually recognize the characters in Universal Monsters Online. I have a feel for their strengths and weaknesses based on their roles in the films. This gives it a massive advantage over other MOBA games, especially for new players, because it instantly lessens perhaps the biggest part of any MOBA game: learning the characters. There’s still some of that process, of course, but you never feel like you’re looking at a line-up of strangers.
Browsing – Universal Monsters Online is a free-to-play browser game, and although this throws up a few problems of its own, it’s also a great way to experience the genre without needing to download anything.
Paranormal Portraits – The art style in the game is fantastic, harking back to the old movie posters that have become so well-loved over the years. It adds a real weight to the game, and a welcome one at that.
Detstroyed? – There are a number of small spelling mistakes throughout the game, which proves to be quite distracting at time. Not a major annoyance, and something that will be fixed fairly quickly I imagine, but it’s something that should already have been sorted out.
What’s In Store? – Imagine coming into a game in which you can play as Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man and many, many more, and then imagine that those characters have to be unlocked. The best known characters – and they’re hidden behind “buy me” signs. Thankfully you can unlock them in-game, you don’t have to buy them with real money, but some people probably will. It’s not just characters, but new abilities and the like as well, meaning that paying – or heavy-playing – customers are likely to dominate over new free-to-play gamers.
Community – This one was almost a positive. The community in Universal Monsters Online seems fantastic. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, whether I’ve just avoided the immature, but I haven’t been in a single game where one player has attacked another. It’s a regular occurrence in League of Legends. The only reason that it goes into neutral territory is that unfortunately, it being browser based and free-to-play, is that some players just don’t take the game as seriously as perhaps people who have downloaded a client would. In more than one 4v4 game, players on my team have hung back in the HQ area for up to half of the game and then jumped in towards the end at level one.
Waiting Times – At the time of writing this, I’ve been waiting in a queue for nineteen minutes and there are only seven people (of the necessary ten) in the game. Although it’s now open to the public, I’m guessing some are put off by the fact that it’s in beta, and I don’t suppose it helps that DotA 2 is keeping people busy and Heroes of Newerth just went full free-to-play. It’s not the greatest of times to play a multiplayer game – early morning in the UK means middle of the night almost everywhere else – but it’s still not a great statement on the health of the game.
Graphics – Remember the downsides of being a browser game that I mentioned? This is where they are. The graphics aren’t downright unusable – although you have to play with the fact that it’s a browser game in mind – but they just aren’t even on the same level as other games in the genre. The animation is bad, the world isn’t presented especially well (although the “feel” of it is better than how it looks) and it might just be enough to put off some people.
Conclusion-Universal Monsters Online Review
Universal Monsters Online is different enough that it might just attract a few new players to the genre, and they’re going to love it. Personally I can’t help but think that the developer’s intentions are better than their current product, but I suppose that’s what a beta is for. There’s nothing here – with the exception of the ridiculous waiting times – that would put me off continuing to play it and it’ll definitely be something to check in with every couple of months to see how things have improved.