It’s a constant source of consternation to many gamers that you still can’t get Pokemon on the iPhone. You can get a pretty decent array of other older Game Boy and Nintendo titles, but Pokemon is a no go. That’s why the App Store is flooded with various Pokemon imitators, most of which are pretty terrible. I played the original Pokemon games back when I still had a Gameboy Color, and they were tons of fun. I won’t say that Zenforms: Protectors is the perfect replacement for Pokemon, but it’s a surprisingly good game to fill the “monster collecting game” hole in your heart.
What is it and what does it do
Zenforms: Protectors is a monster training and collecting game, somewhat similar to Pokemon.
- Charming graphics
- Surprisingly engaging story with the promise of more chapters to come
- Latest update addressed a number of bugs and errors, making the game more stable and enjoyable
- Great blend of open-world roaming and plot-based story events
- Exciting battles with a great interface for choosing items and attacks
- Innovative mood system: your friendships and relationships within the game change based on your characters mood
- Some players have complained that the story ends too quickly
- No auto-save!
- Rather limited assortment of critters, compared to the original 151 Pokemon fans got
If you come to Zenforms looking for a straight-up Pokemon clone, you’re bound to be disappointed. Zenforms has far fewer monsters, and far less of a story (thus far in the saga, anyway.) However, that doesn’t mean that Zenforms isn’t worth your time. As a 2D JRPG-style game, it’s kind of an instant classic.
In the game, you play as a new student in the Protector academy. You’re learning to become a Protector of various Zenforms, magical creatures that spring from Gaia Crystals. You start the game as an orphan with few friends, and learn how to train and collect your Zenforms. Not long into the story, your school is shut down because of a group of violent rebels, and you need to make your way in the world. It’s a surprisingly engrossing story, with a world that’s a lot of fun to explore.
One thing that’s a bit annoying is the lack of an auto-save. Luckily, I never experienced the game crashing on me, or that lack of auto-save would have been a bigger problem. However, I wish the app would offer both auto-saves and hard saves for players.
The battle mechanics are solid, with a decent UI. The stats menu could be decluttered slightly, but overall it is very easy to set up your attacks and try to capture other Zenform monsters. And while there aren’t a ton of these monsters, there are enough to keep your gameplay feeling fresh.
Conclusion and download link
I grabbed Zenforms earlier this month when it was free, a pricing move I believe the developers made in step with the big App Store fifth anniversary push. I love it as a freebie, but I definitely think it’s worth a couple of bucks to fans of Pokemon and other monster collecting games. And given the fact that the developer plans to release periodic free updates with new updates to the locations, story, and side-quests, $1.99 seems like a bargain. You can’t get Pokemon on your iPhone, but you can get Zenforms…and that’s a heck of a consolation prize.
Version reviewed: 1.1.4
Supported OS: Requires iOS 4.3 or later
Download size: 59.1 MB
Zenforms: Protectors on Apple App Store