Liv Games: From Legendary Wars to Monster Wars
Monster Wars was released on the App Store on January 27th, 2012. It was the second game released by Liv Games, a relatively small independent developer based in Orange County, California. Though the company was officially founded in 2010, its story started in 2009 when a trio of friends came together to work on a prototype for a music puzzle game. One piece of music created for that game inspired the team to create an epic battle game instead. They put together a prototype for their first game, Legendary Wars, in just over four months. That demo, along with a video, was used to recruit members in order to complete the full game. The complete development team for Legendary Wars was more or less assembled by the spring of 2010. The remaining development on the game took around ten months.
The developers have cited influences from 16-bit console games and PC games of their childhood that shaped the look, sound, and gameplay of Legendary Wars. The quirky sense of humor and light-hearted nature of the game was an attempt to pay homage to some of the team’s favorite RPG and adventure games. Company founder Orian Livnat was a big fan of side-scrolling games when he was young, which led to the inclusion of the side-scrolling mini-game stages as a means of breaking up the regular gameplay style. The team chose to put the game on iOS for a variety of reasons, including the accessible development environment, a fondness for the iPhone, and the success of certain other titles in the market.
Legendary Wars launched in January of 2011 to largely favorable reviews, with many of them praising the game for its gameplay depth, large variety of modes, and large amount of content. It was featured numerous times by Apple and received a number of updates that added more content, improved graphics, and various other improvements based on player feedback. The success of the game resulted in two follow-ups, the first one of which being Monster Wars.
As the fans had enjoyed the original game and its world so much, it was decided the follow-up would keep the same setting. A number of improvements were made to the game’s interface and controls, most of which ended up being added to the original game through later updates. In order to give players a fresh experience without losing the essential gameplay mechanics that had proved so popular, Monster Wars put them in command of the antagonists of the original game. Now the Kingdom of the Gilded Sun and its heroic units were on the other side of the battlefield, tasking players with devising strategies to take down what were their own allied units in the last game.
Like the first game, Monster Wars enjoyed a great deal of critical praise upon its release. This time around, Liv Games wasn’t an unknown quantity, and neither was this series. As such, a large number of players who had enjoyed Legendary Wars were ready and waiting to pick up its sequel. Apple also featured this sequel a number of times in the App Store, and it was even honored as one of the Best Strategy Games of 2012 by TouchArcade. Over the years, the game received several updates that added new content and refined existing elements.
Unfortunately, time catches up to most things and when 32-bit support was removed from iOS, Monster Wars was left behind. Liv Games had moved on to other projects, and Monster Wars would no longer function on the latest hardware. In 2020, the game was fully updated for compatibility with modern devices and revived as part of the GameClub line-up. Now a whole new generation of players can discover how good it feels to be the baddies.