Moshi Monsters has launched two major updates recently, one cosmetic (allowing your monster to buy “clothes”), and one functional (changes to the Daily Puzzles computer game, which is the core of the MM product for now, since it’s practically the only way to gain money to spend, and is required to level-up and purchase a wider range of items and clothing.
I used to work at Mind Candy a few years ago, and was one of a couple of people who worked on an experimental casual game that bore a huge similarity to the Daily Puzzle section of Moshi Monster (even had the same name :)). My interest to see how MindCandy would develop that idea over time, and where it might end up, was one of my initial drivers to keep playing Moshi Monsters in the early days. With the recent updates, I thought it would be interesting to do a quick review of how it works now, and to offer my own guesses at some of the motivations based on the first (unsuccessful!) attempt at Daily Puzzles.
This was fun, but also sad and pointless, since none of the clothing showed up on the main Moshi Monster screen, neither when out and about with your monster (visiting shops), nor – and this is a lot more annoying – when at home.
FYI to non MM players: the “home” screen is the only aspect of your character that can be seen by other players. People can visit this screen (e.g. here’s mine – named after one of the creative misspellings of MindCandy that one reporter accidentally came up with: “Mindy Cindy”) and see what items you’ve bought, how you’ve chosen to decorate your home, etc. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve probably seen or used the spectacularly successful Habbo Hotel, which pioneered this approach.
So … not knowing whether this is a bug, a feature, or a temporary oversight, I’m just going to ignore the clothing for now. Suffice it to say, my fluffy monster has bought and equipped a big pair of Angel Wings, but I’ve never seen them appear in the home screen.
New Puzzles System
There’s two main changes here. Firstly, one of the most annoying “features” of the old MM system, and one that I fought against having in the original DP, has been removed: you now can *choose* what games you want to play. As a die-hard Brain Training / Brain Age player, back in 2006 I felt very strongly that you shouldn’t be dictating to players which minigames they were “allowed” to play. Although the daily challenge could benefit from being out of the players control (and I felt that Nintendo’s approach with Brain Age, where you’re forced to do an equal amount of each *type* of puzzle each time, was probably best), in general games are rarely played “the way the designer dictates”. It tends to be a bad idea to refuse to allow players to play how they want to *in addition* to the main way.
The Daily Challenge is still in there. It hasn’t changed (except for making use of some of the new games that have been added). ‘Nuff said.
The second big change is that a whole bunch of new games have been added, each one coming with minimum “level” requirements. (each time you play the Daily Challenge, your “monster” gets a bit of experience and advances slightly towards going up a level). The level requirements for the eight new games (and two of the original games) start low and go pretty high – 3,6,8,10,11,12,13,14,15,16. To put this into perspective, my character is level 8 and would probably only be level 16 if I’d played practically every day in the many months since i got my moshi monster (I’ve missed on average about 75% of days in that time). Given that I was one of the earliest to join, level 16 is quite hard to reach (although I suspect that they’ve made level advancement much faster with this update – and I got the impression that they sped it up substantially a couple of months ago).
There’s a minor change in that playing / practicing the individual games – WITHOUT doing the Daily Challenge – can also earn you Rox now (previously all it did was to make your monster’s happiness increase substantially), but that doesn’t substantially change the overall game. The real difference it will make is allowing more differentiation between the Rich and the Poor players, based directly on available time to devote to slavishly doing the Daily Grind for rox each day.
What about Moshi Monsters overall?
A followup post is on it’s way looking at Moshi Monsters generally…