mini-games get tiresome after a while
not enough things to do with your monsters
main quest is over quickly
It's hard to come up with an original game nowadays, but I think Hitmaker (the developers) went the right way. Maybe this game isn't perfect and need some polishing and fresh ideas in some of the gameplay mechanisms, but if there was to be a sequel that would correct these shortcomings, it would probably be a hit.
After a short intro to the game's storyline, you are dragged into Amazing Island, a magical island created from a picture book. You can choose to play as a boy or a girl character, 2 little blue haired kids. Black Devil has taken over the island, and it's your job to help the inhabitants of the island by creating your very own personal creature and enter in a series of mini-games to recover the 8 Vision Orbs. You've read well, the monsters don't battle each other a la Pocket Monsters, they play mini-games.
First thing first, you'll need to create a monster for yourself. At the beginning of the game, the monster creation is very restraint, the monster will be drawn for you, and there are few accessories to add to your monster. Then, you will need to enter courses made up of various mini-games. The first course only counts 5 mini-games, while the next courses include a lot more and the difficulty of the mini-games increases. With your newly created monster, your goal is to score 700 points or more in all the mini-games to be earned a Vision Orb and new features to create other monsters. The mini-games range from run the fastest you can to catapult yourself the higher possible or shoot the most targets, etc. You get the point. Some are simple, others more complex.
The mini-games will frequently require you to mash the A button, until your thumb is dead. But the mini-games are fun most of the time, so you won't mind killing your thumb many times on the same day. If you manage to beat a high score, you will be rewarded by an item, often an accessory to customize your monsters. There are tons of accessories to win, enough to make you spend a lot of time on this game only playing the mini-games. The more accessories you have, the cuter or cooler your monsters will look. You will also win money from the mini-games, and can then use the money to buy other accessories in the island's shops. Some items are very expensive, so you will need to play the mini-games a lot.
Once you gain the ability to create the monsters yourself, the fun and addictive part of the game starts. You first choose a frame to draw your monster from, a kind of animal skeleton to help you give a shape to your monster. It varies from dragon to hamster and various others. With the help of a pen, you then draw your monster. You draw a head, a body, arms and legs, a tail, ears... and you get your monster, in full 3D. You can make a cute horse with long ears, a cool looking dragon with a curled tail, or anything you want. Really anything. All you have to do is imagine a creature and draw it like you want. You can then customize your monster. If you want to add wings, claws, eyes, nose or anything else, you are free to. There is a very large selection of accessories to choose from, and you can get more by completing the mini-games. You can also paint your monster, select a voice for him and give him a name.
You can create as many monsters as you want, but each monster takes 8 Memory Blocks on the memory card. Creating monsters is time-consuming and you could spend a lot of time just creating the perfect monster for you. The mini-games are also pretty entertaining, I didn't find them boring at all although some aren't very creative and there could have been a bit more. Too bad you can't explore the island with your monster though, it would have been great. In the end, I would say this game could last you a very long time, and although the mini-games aren't enough to hook you to the game, the monster creation feature will.
Monsters creation 8.5/10
The graphics are colorful and fit the game perfectly. Nothing looks realistic, but remember, you are on Amazing Island. There aren't a lot of textures in the environments, but the backgrounds look great, like there are hand-drawn. Only the trees look awful, with 2D branches stuck around a 3D trunk. The character models, on the other hand, look really nice, japanese style. As for the music, there isn't a lot of variety, most of the mini-games share the same score, but music isn't something you'll care about while trying to finish a mini-game. The music played on the title screen and on the island is quite nice, though. Sounds are fine too.
The monster creation feature is so addictive you could spend your life creating monsters and cute creatures. Imagination has no limit, so this game hasn't either. There's also a pretty solid replay value in the mini-games, considering the huge number of items you can win and then use to make cooler monsters. The main quest (retrieve the 8 Vision Orbs) is quite short though, about 2 or 3 hours. You can even collect and trade monster cards with the GBA and battle with friends.
If you can find this game for a cheap price, it's really worth it. Graphics may be simplistic and the gameplay lacking, but an addictive game is always welcomed in a game collection.