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Freemium Field Test: Monsters Ate My Metropolis can eat up your cash in a hurry

Andrew Hayward | Aug. 26, 2015
Adult Swim's silly series takes a new approach—but does the freemium design bite?

But it also feels like one of the only real keys to success in this streamlined CCG. Yes, there’s strategy to building your deck, including having cards that inflict life-seeping poison on the opposing city, or ones that boost your own cards simply by existing in your deck. Aside from being smart about playing colors, the other route to success is simply having better cards in your deck. And unless you want to slowly, slowly grind for them, the game is happy to sell you currency to buy single cards and packs. 

The catch 

Collectible card games are a perfect match for the free-to-play model. After all, the physical games are built upon the premise of buying more and more packs to enhance your deck and play experience—and it translates flawlessly to digital. 

Luckily, Monsters Ate My Metropolis provides a solid experience for anyone not eager to spend cash. You can pick your A.I. opponent with each match, so assuming you choose foes ranked similarly to you, chances are you won’t run into many overwhelming battles. That’s true early on, at least, so you can play the free cards you start with and slowly accumulate through earned coins and gems. But I imagine you’ll hit a wall at some point in your ascent up the leaderboards.

Buying packs and individual cards is how you’ll make big gains in deck quality and battle supremacy. A 10-card “OMG!! Pack” is priced at 2,500 gems and promises a diamond-level card in the pack, while a single card at that level is sold for 250 gems—with a chance of getting a diamond card. It’s much the same for the lower-level “LOL!! Pack.” You’ll get five cards for 2,000 coins, with a guaranteed silver card in the mix, or you can grab one card for 400 coins and you might draw a silver. 

Here’s the big difference in value: You might be able to snag a LOL!! Pack after earning coins from a dozen fights, but you’d have to buy about $20 worth of gems to afford an OMG!! Pack. They’re sold in packs ranging from $3 (300 gems) to $100 (15,000 gems), and accumulating them without spending money is a very slow process. For example, you’ll receive just five gems for watching a video advertisement. That’s all. 

And to compete against higher-ranked opponents, it really feels like you need to have diamond-level cards. Whenever I aimed well above my own ranking, I was frequently crushed by cards several times more powerful than my own. And when I finally spent some money myself, investing $10 to grab a few individual cards on the OMG!! tier, I quickly saw the reward: One attack was twice as powerful as anything I had earned or been given from the outset. That lesson is reinforced very quickly. 


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