Monster Hunter Now has finally come roaring onto mobile, releasing today as the latest entry in the behemoth of a series.
Developer Niantic began development on the title four years ago, spicing up the famous Capcom franchise with the inclusion of its characteristic AR and location-based gameplay. Capcom has also supported development throughout, ultimately helping the game go global today.
Get your hunting gear on… now!
With a launch date of September 14 announced earlier in the year, fans of the franchise have been able to pre-install the latest Monster Hunter game since July. The game amassed over three million pre-downloads between then and now.
In-game, players become hunters and scour the landscape for materials and monsters as they walk around the real world, collecting and battling for parts to upgrade their weapons and armour. The cycle then repeats, but with better equipment enabling fights with stronger monsters who must be slain within a 75 second time limit.
Unlike Niantic’s flagship Pokémon Go, Monster Hunter Now has a stamina system often seen in mobile games, gating progression behind a timer. However, Monster Hunter Now's system is more unique than most in that it rewards effective hunting: A hunter’s health is restored over time (or with items) and is a necessity for fighting monsters, so if a player can learn how a specific monster fights and dodge every one of its attacks, they will keep their health full and can hunt indefinitely.
The game also shows hunters exactly where to go on their map if they want to find specific monsters, with the thrill of the hunt being the incentive to get outside - differing from Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom where walking itself is more of a fundamental gameplay mechanic.
More akin to Go, Monster Hunter Now features Niantic niches such as an AR camera mode that displays mighty monsters in the real world, group activities like hunting strong beasts as a party, and of course, location-based gameplay. Now also has biomes that will rotate daily to spawn different monsters - from the raging Rathalos to the poisonous Pukei-Pukei.
Notably, Now’s premium currency can be bought in-game or on the web store, with the latter offering better deals. This practice has become more commonplace in recent years, popularised by games like Supercell’s Clash of Clans as a means of bypassing Apple and Google’s app store fees - making purchases cheaper for players and more profitable for developers.