Several years ago I had to give my kitten to new guardians after discovering my entire family was allergic to his dander. Although my next trip to the animal shelter won't occur for the next several years, raising a little monster will do. Zenforms: Protectors has gamers striving to be protectors of creatures named Zenforms, and it's a 2D RPG universe that has tons of potential.

Gamers can name and customize their character, and their character's interactions with other people plays a significant factor in the enfolding of the story. The journey begins simple enough, as you live in a nondescript home with your sister Shauna and go to Protector school with your best friend Keith. During your first day of school you pick your own baby zenform and raise the creature to become a full fledged warrior.

To transform your baby zenform into a full fledged fighting machine, you must enter a countless number of battles with wild zenforms that are hidden in bushes throughout your town. These battles are turn based, and gamers who appreciate or tolerate this form of combat should be completely fine with killing zenforms left and right. Each fight gives you skill points, which you can use to ramp up the effectiveness of your attack, defense, and speed categories. Although you will spend time conversing with locals in your area, the crux of the game is combat based, as raising and protecting your zenform is the RPG's main thrust. Although your zenform has a slight edge over the competition, the creature's health will deteriorate after several skirmishes. Constant trips to the Protector School is necessary to nurse your zenform back to fighting shape.

I can spend hours raising my zenform and the 2D world offered up in the game is pleasant enough; walking around the city at nighttime as a cloud floats over your neighborhood is a nice touch. The journey, though definitely playable, lacks pure innovation. The biggest hook, and maybe that should be enough, is the experience of watching your zenform grow through various adversities, and that simple element will keep my attention to the bitter end. But will I absolutely need to play it every single day, like Simpsons: Tapped Out or The Last Express? Not a chance.

There is huge potential for the game's future, as the developer claims that this RPG will have further updates for an even deeper storyline. As a fan of open ended worlds that are riddled with side quests, such a promise is definitely encouraging, especially since these additions can be downloaded for free. The idea of protecting domesticated creatures and unleashing them against their own kind is a good enough jumping off point, and further updates can only deepen the storyline. But it's a big task to ask gamers to stay tuned for the next adventure with so many titles flooding the marketplace. Still, I'm a reformed optimist, and I'm pushing for Zenforms: Protectors to live up to its promise.


App Store Link: Zenforms: Protectors for iPhone | By Calis Projects | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 53.9 MB | Rating 9+

6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating