The game: Sample Reserve
Genre: Adventure, role-playing system: Nintendo Switch (also Steam, PS4, PS5 and Xbox One)
Developer|Publishing : My Paradise Games | Team17
Age Rating : EU 7+ | USA All prices
: UK £15.99 | EU €19.99 | US $19.99
Publication date : 8. December 2020

Check out the code provided largely thanks to Team17.

I want to be the best.

I think we’re gonna get to the bottom of this with Monster Sanctuary first. Yeah, it looks like Pokemon. In fact, it is not the only video game this year that is trying out the Catch the Monster formula. Monster Sanctuary, in short, captures monsters with a taste of Metroidvania. While it’s easy to point to other games and compare them, I think Monster Sanctuary brings new ideas that can surprise you if you’re a fan of turn-based RPGs.

There is at least one version of this game

You may have heard this story before. You’re a monster keeper, you start the game choosing your gender and your pocket monster, sorry, I meant familiar. You can choose between blue, red, green or yellow. But instead of making a funny sound, this monster talks to you, follows you and even gives you useful advice if you get stuck in the game. Of course, you can send them into battle to defeat other monsters, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

Your mission is to become the best anyone’s ever been. To do this, you’ll travel the country in search of high-level monsters, raise your Monster Keeper rank and collect some badges, I mean coins, to prove you’re the ultimate Monster Keeper. So the structure and idea of the game seems a little familiar to me, but I swear this game does things differently. Let’s get started.

Each monster has a skill tree to unlock new skills.

Exploring the world

The gameplay is a mix of light exploration of Metroidvania and fighting against other monsters. The game is in 2D, and you have a huge map to explore, with several blocked areas for you to explore until you reach a specific point to continue. I especially found the solution of this game – bathing in cold water (hint: you have to make special underwear). There are also many chests and secrets you can open with your monster skills. Exploration is fun, but the vast majority of this game is about fighting monsters. So if you’re not a fan of turn-based RPGs, this might not be Metroidvania for you.

Look at your parents.

Overwriting of these indicators

The main reason for diving in the Monster Reserve is of course the fight. There are wild monsters in the levels, so encounters aren’t random and can be avoided if you like. Most fights are usually 3-on-3 monsters. You can choose up to three monsters before you start fighting, but check the enemy monster stats and your own stats so you can exploit their weaknesses and bring everything in your power into battle. Turn-based combat: All the monsters in your group take turns taking part. You can attack, cure, add fans to your party and many other options. The game has a unique combo system that increases as you attack the enemy and heal your group. The higher the counter, the more damage you do to your opponent. It doesn’t take long for the game to become a number system. The more you use the weaknesses, the more this combo increases, but of course you have to make sure your monsters have enough mana to launch special attacks. It’s pretty easy to get lost in all this quickly, because you can also equip your weapons and items and give you monsters fruit, which add bonuses.

Defeat the Monster Champion to increase your rank.

Must be all

We don’t catch monsters in this game. So don’t throw the ball at innocent monsters. If you succeed in a wild fight, there’s a chance the wild monsters will drop an egg. Then you can hatch this egg. Call your monster and add him to your party. What I liked is that they are generally on the same level as your current samples, which means you don’t have to sharpen them to increase their stats. When you complete a battle, the experience is added to the 6 monsters in your main group, even those you didn’t send into battle. This avoids a lot of boredom and makes it possible to move the game forward instead of constantly going back and forth to increase the level. That doesn’t mean you’re retreating. I found myself quite happy to go back to the old places to get new monster eggs, and only because I really liked the combat system of this game. Each of your monsters also has an individual skill tree, so you can customise each Beastie to suit your playing style and preferences.

Your monster buddies can be used to find hidden areas of the world.

Adventure sample

There is a nice full-featured RPG here that will keep you going for a very long time with the incentive to play again to try different monster buildings. This game also features online multiplayer if you want to compete against other players. Personally, I was happy to enjoy it on my own. I think the only small drawbacks are the retro sprites and the environments, which do not feel particularly unique. It didn’t really bother me because I was sold on the card the moment I saw the monster that looked like an orca with legs. There is also a great soundtrack to accompany you on your adventure. For me, the game was all about fighting, stopping and starting a lot to check my stats and making sure I had the right equipment.

For some people, this can be quite tiring. If you’re looking for a game that’s easy to navigate, it probably isn’t for you. But if at the end of Monster Sanctuary you want to get lost in something for a few hours, this is the place to go. I’m not Pokemon’s biggest fan, but I’m completely won over for the game.

Don’t forget to bring your best pants.


The monster sanctuary was a pleasant surprise for me. Although at first glance known to popular monsters, Monster Sanctuary looks like a damn good RPG that I would recommend to any fan of the genre.

Monster Sanctuary has a unique and detailed combat system and numerous customization options. I loved exploring the world with my blue wolf, whom I called Stephen, and I can imagine doing it again.

Final verdict: I like it.


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