Mana Monsters

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Mana Monsters App Poster Image
Match-3 battles aren’t friendly, but they can be fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about using logic and strategy. They'll work toward immediate and longer-term goals as they try to complete new battle levels. They'll need to make decisions and adjust their plan as needed along the way, calling for adaptability and problem solving, and will get a chance to try again and learn from their mistakes in rounds. They'll also practice following instructions, reading, and adding, subtracting, and managing the currency they earn. Most of the game's takeaways, though, involve critical thinking skills.

Ease of Play

An ongoing narrative provides instruction, which makes new aspects of the game pretty clear. Some reward-based aspects, though, can be a little confusing.

Violence & Scariness

While no gore's shown, the game centers on fighting until the opponent collapses in defeat.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Crystals, which can be used to buy coins, fuel, and other items used in the app, are available for purchase in packages that range from $0.99 to $99.99.

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mana Monsters is a fighting-focused game for iOS and Android devices. The one-on-one attacks involve creatures, not people, and aren't gory. Although some aspects of the game can be a little confusing, due in part to the number of items players can get as rewards and use in various ways, the developers have made a notable effort to offer ongoing explanation from characters. Players get some additional help during games, such as suggestions for the best team for a match. You don't have to buy anything to play, although you may be interested in purchasing crystals because they aren't awarded as often as other items, such as coins, and can be used to avoid gameplay slowing down or stopping. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

MANA MONSTERS is a match-3 puzzle game where players pair items by color to clear them from the board. Matching -- particularly if it removes certain formations, such as a square -- helps give your selected monster, based on its strengths, more power to fight another creature. They may, for instance, shoot energy or strike with their fist. Players work to defeat the other monster team and can earn gems, coins, and other items as rewards as they play, which will help them level up their monsters, hatch new ones, and offer other advantages.

Is it any good?

This app offers a nice twist on the matching game genre, where pairing items earns players points and also furthers their battle against another monster. The more items players can clear from the board in Mana Monsters, the more powerful a punch their monster can pack. Players also aren't under the same time crunch as in many match-3 games because they have to wait for their opponent to take its turn before they can make another move, which gives them more chances to strategize. The graphics are equally impressive -- characters emerge from underground to attack and ball up and roll into their opponent, and game pieces explode off the board in a haze of light.

Things get a little more tricky as you advance -- there are a lot of different reward and currency elements to keep straight in the game. Speeding up the egg hatching process requires fuel, for instance, which is also used to fund battles, and monsters can be leveled up with coins. Brief descriptions are available when you click on items, but trying to figure out what you need and how to get it can still be a little confusing. You don't necessarily have to buy anything to play. But players should be prepared to possibly do some waiting if they don't. They'll periodically get treasure chest rewards, but if they run out of the keys needed to open the chest, waiting for them to replenish can cause delays. Individual monsters' stamina can also slow down, which can limit the options you have when fighting. Hatching new monsters gives you more options in battles, but players may feel the need to use fuel, another for-purchase item, to speed the process up. Depending on how quickly they burn through the matches, gamers may find their playing is paused from time to time. If they're patient enough to wait things out, though, there's plenty of fun to be had from battle to battle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Mana Monsters affected by the lack of blood shown? Does the lack of known consequences make the violence seem more acceptable?

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  •  Should players be thinking about their next move during each turn? Can you apply this approach to other things in real life?

  • How can you prepare to meet short-term and long-term goals? Talk about what planning and time management can be involved. What can you do to determine a way to start advancing toward your goal?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fighting games

Themes & Topics

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