Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire doesn't release for another few months, with the release date being in November, but there is another way to scratch your collecting, monster battling itch without resorting to defeating the Elite Four in X and Y for the thousandth time. The answer is Micromon.
The mobile game developed by Moga Studios may be written off as a Pokemon ripoff -- and the parallels are very apparent -- but Micromon offers gamers something to tide them over till the Gen-3 remakes take over their lives; the nostalgic feeling of playing Red and Blue all over again.
Recall back to 1996 when Pokemon Red and Blue first hit our shores. That feeling of wondrous unfamiliarity with a brand new world unlike anything you may have explored in a game before. Catching a ton of monster partners to help you defeat the bad guys and become the best trainer, giving you the option of choosing your own team that you felt was unbeatable.
All those feelings are ever present in Micromon. And the best part of it is that you have to reacclimate yourself with new mechanics and how Micromon differentiates from Pokemon, because if you don't leave those games in the back of your mind you'll be doomed to fail.
While Micromon is not as polished as Pokemon -- probably because of the capabilities of a 99 cent mobile game as opposed to a handheld console -- its charm outshines any shortcomings the mobile game may have.
Micromon's story has its parallels to Pokemon -- and Digimon, honestly -- but Moga Studios really had fun writing the dialogue for the NPCs. Giving sarcastic dialogue that you probably come across in your everyday life.
Even some adult themes are present in Micromon, like death, poverty and pollution. It's a little jarring at first to talk to a little boy who is homeless and is sick because of the pollution of their world.
While the story of Micromon seems finite, the fact that its a mobile game leads to the possibilities of new worlds, more storylines and more Micromon.
And speaking about the Micromon, the best part of the mobile game is the level playing ground your tamer has. In Pokemon, it's known that certain Pokes are better than others -- whether it be based on stats or attacks. If you take a look at the teams during the World Championships, they all have very similar teams or attacks that are tailor made to succeed in the Pokemon world of competitive battling.
In Micromon, every monster is on a more level playing field. The only stat that matters -- besides level, of course -- is the development rate, or DR. As long as your Micromon is at a DR of 10, or at least 9, they can go toe-to-toe with another Micromon no matter what they are.
So a Burgle, which is this world's Ratatta, can beat a Ashgon -- Micromon's answer to Charizard -- if they are both at DR 10 without grinding or IV training or a special hidden ability to help it out. This makes Micromon more accessible to those who are not familiar with some of the in-depth Pokemon training strategies.
Personally, I love Bug-type Pokemon but besides a very select few many of those types of Pokes are inherently weaker than other types. In Micromon I can have a team of monsters who I find the design to be great and go far in the game with. I don't have to pick and choose based on who I know will be stronger in the long-run. It makes the experience in Micromon a little more enjoyable that way.
Overall, Pokemon has years of history and polish behind its games. The mechanics are simple yet complex, which works in its favor to appeal to those gamers who like strategy. While Micromon does not have this complexity -- yet -- its a great starter mobile game for those looking to find something to play while we all wait for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.