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    Daily iPhone App: Beastie Bay is Kairosoft's addictive take on Pokemon


    There are a few words in gaming that, whenever I hear or read them, just make the hair on the back of my neck stand up in anticipation. "Blizzard." "Civilization." "Puzzle Quest." And I would say that it's time to add "Kairosoft" to that list, because the Tokyo-based developer's mobile games are some of the most addictive titles I've ever played. I've lost hours and hours to great games like Game Dev Story and Grand Prix Story, and I've been scared to even play Dungeon Village for fear of what the Kairosoft formula of perfectly paced and rewarding strategy gameplay combined with a fantasy RPG setting might do to my already busy life.

    Now, the company has released a new game called Beastie Bay, which takes Kairosoft's extremely addictive earn / upgrade / "earn more" cycle and pairs it with another addictive gaming theme: Collecting and upgrading beasts, a la Pokemon. Like all of Kairosoft's other titles, this game uses their older mobile engine, so the graphics and menus aren't all that impressive. But also like all of Kairosoft's other titles, the gameplay is just so spot on.

    As you build facilities for your pets and helpers, take them out to battle, find new pets and then build more facilities for those pets and new helpers, you too will likely get caught up in the mania of "just one more turn" that these games tend to bring on. The beast-collecting twist is a definite lift from Nintendo's powerhouse franchise, but it's done in a very Kairosoft way, designed so that you're always winning and growing rather than simply grinding away in the tall grass.

    The other difference here from Kairosoft's past titles is that this game is definitely free-to-play. It features ads prominently (though they can be removed with a one-time US$4.99 purchase), and there are in-app purchases for in-game currency. But I think that change will allow even more people to see what Kairosoft can do on mobile, so I think the switch to F2P will be a good thing for the company. Kairosoft's games are already extremely addictive, and I can't really recommend Beastie Bay highly enough. Someday, if the company finally embraces iOS as a native platform, they'll more or less be unstoppable.

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