Summoners War: Sky Arena is a turn-based strategy mobile MMO title by South Korean game developer Com2uS. You play as a summoner tasked with unlocking scrolls which help you unlock monsters that you can pit against other monsters in a turn-based combat system which seems to be an early Final-Fantasy and Pokemon hybrid.
Summoners War, however, is no Pokemon clone, despite the tired and overwrought market for monster battle games Summoners War can be seen as a breath of fresh air. It brings something new to the table that makes it stand out among the field of mediocrity it stands against.
The story of the Summoners War is simple, uninteresting and mostly inconsequential. The world is invaded by monsters with elemental powers and you play as one of the Summoners, heroes who can control these monsters. You are tasked to catch and acquire monsters and build out an army for clearing the world of monsters. The storyline involves a linear progression of moving from one map to the next and battling monsters of increasing variety.
In each map you have to complete a set of tasks, 7 missions per areas, through a set of monster teams that you set up. Summoners War features more than 1000 monsters for you all with the “mon” postfix reminiscent of Digimon monsters and you fight a set of them in each area.
The gameplay is reminiscent of another battle collection game, namely Brave Frontier. You use your library of monsters in battle and you have a variety of monsters of different classes to choose from. Each monster has a particular rarity and special ability with each one having a rating of 1 to 6 stars. You can increase their level, make them stronger through runes, and even turn them into another monster. The monster rarity levels are determined by the stars they have. A monster can have between 1 and 6 stars with the latter being the most powerful and rarest.
You can also use Runes to increase the amount of damage from a particular monster’s skills. For example, a rune that increases your attack power by 6 points or alternatively one that increases defense.
In regular free to play fashion, you have the option to spend real money to buy additional Runes.
The fights themselves are one of the major draws for the game. Unlike many other games in the genre, players retain full control over the entirety of the fight. The fights, albeit turn-based, happen in real time and the player gets to choose particular attacks or moves to use. Anyone familiar with the turn-based fight model from Pokemon or Final Fantasy, however, will not have too much trouble with the combat (just remember to always have one damage dealer, one tank, and one healer).
Alongside monster battles, In Summoners War you are also responsible for managing your very own island in what is a standard base building affair found in many other games. You can construct many buildings, each of which building serves a separate function. Some serve a defensive function, while others serve as buffs for your monsters.
The game’s beautiful graphics stand out among the crowd of plain looking alternatives and the island is no exception to it. One additional cool feature is that the island is a complete 3d render so you can spin it around and look at it from different angles and perspectives. You can also increase the size of your island.
One of the more important buildings to construct and level up early on is the Arcane Tower. Given the PVP features of the game, you can attack the islands of other players whenever you and they can do likewise. The Arcane Tower (once you reach level 5) will periodically send out powerful AOE attacks on enemy monsters.
PAY TO WIN
One of the problems with the game is that it can be hard to get too far without spending. Mystic scrolls, for example, are a good way to earn three to five-star monsters but there’s always the real chance of getting nothing worth having and you have to spend the game’s red mana crystal premium currency to get them. If you expect to play without spending any money, then prepare to grind, a lot.
To get hold of specific items or features you may have to engage in the game’s “farming” feature. You must complete a particular mission over and over again (the missions are repeatable as). If there is a special item or monster you’re after, you may need to complete a specific mission more than once until you find it. This is called farming. Because the results are completely random, you may need to repeat missions lots of times until you get a monster of your choice.
One of the central features of the game is obtained summoning scrolls to acquire monsters. To obtain scrolls you usually have to pay long missions but you can optimize your time by fighting in Arena battles. In arena battles, you receive medals for every match you win which you turn into summoning scrolls by going to the “Arena Shop”.
The social aspects of the game are quite extensive, and for good reason since communication among players is integral. Summoners War being one of the first “gacha” games has a dedicated and loyal player base to that end.
The game has a guild system like many in the genre and joining the guild gives you access to “Guild Wars” (no connection to the ArenaNet game) as well as a private shop.
It also has a mentoring system. The game allows you to use the monsters from other higher level players in missions every day. This in many ways can smooth the otherwise difficult gameplay curve given the game’s grindy nature.
In conclusion Summoners War is a great addition to the genre of turn-based Monster Battles games. It has beautifully rendered 3D assets, complex fight mechanics for you to sink your teeth into, a well-developed system of social interaction with guilds and the mentoring system and so much more.
Despite some of the questionable aspect of the free-to-play(or pay-to-win) model, in the end, the other positives of the game make up for it.
Summoners War: Sky Arena is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play, respectively.
You can also play it on the Bluestacks emulator, which will enable you to play it on your personal computer. Simply head on over here to download and install it on Bluestacks.