Backyard Monsters (formerly Desktop Creatures) is a strategy game by Critters, in which players initially create and manage a small monster town on some grassland, to later expand and form their own monster empire. This base is part of a large world with many other players in it, which can attack each other. It can be seen as a mix of DTD, Travian, and The Space Game.
The game has been in development since the first half of 2009. The game is now in public alpha testing. As with all Casual Collective games it is free to play, although extras can be bought. Unlike most CC games (with the exception of Desktop Defender), it has initially only been released to Facebook.
Development started in the first half of 2009, under the name 'Desktop Creatures'. BM was a big project for the Casual Collective. Early 2010, it was decided that Backyard Monsters would (initially) only be released to Facebook. This led to a lot of protest, to which Critters reacted with a parodic YouTube video, showing Adolf Hitler getting angry for this move.
After the graphics initially had a different style, Critters decided to make the game look isometric. Some testers disagreed and thought that it should revert back. Critters argued that they had been wanting to go isometric for some time, but had never gotten around to it.
Name Contest Edit
On Tuesday, December 29, 2009, Critters posted a news item saying that he was interested in having the game renamed, because unlike the name, the game had nothing to do with a desktop. The CC community responded with a huge list of new name suggestions and the game was renamed to 'Backyard Monsters' in Feb 2010.
As always, a new game needs testing. Normally this is done by alpha and beta testers only. After having been distributed to all alphas, Critters started to distribute a limited number of access keys each day this time, based on first come, first served. First this was done to beta testers, later to a broader public. Passes were handed out at CC Forums, Facebook and Twitter. Each time an entry code was given, that could be used only by a limited number of people. On the end of March, the game was set to public alpha/beta.
The game was relatively unnoticed for the first few weeks of its being public but a few months after its launch hit the mainstream and met increasing growth rates, and soared in popularity receiving an average rating of 4.8 over 175,000 reviews. As of November 18th, it has 3,111,049 monthly active and 716,088 daily active users on Facebook, and is the 89th biggest application on Facebook in terms of monthly active members and the 55th biggest application in terms of daily active members. Up-to-date statistics can be viewed here.
In Backyard Monsters, players start off with a small stretch of unused grassland. On that they build a Town Hall (base) and all sorts of resource gathering, defensive and offensive buildings. The goal is expand the base, to attack other players and survive enemy attacks. All players are situated in the same world and the game goes on when players are not online. Both gathering enough resources and upgrading buildings often take hours.
The game revolves around four resources; 'Twigs', 'Pebbles', 'Putty' and 'Goo'. Each of these can be gathered using dedicated buildings. The resources must be stored in Silos and are used to buy other buildings, upgrade buildings and research and create creatures. Using 'Shiny', a fifth resource that can be bought for real money, people can buy certain improvements in game.
Every building has a specific function and is built by workers, taking a period of time and a sum of resources to develop. Upgrading buildings increases their functionality and health. The number of buildings and upgrades is limited and bound to the level of the Town Hall (that can be upgraded too).
Using a complex procedure, players can create a range of creatures, that are housed in pastures. After building a map room (to spot others) and a flinger (to catapult the monsters) players can unleash their monsters on other players. Doing so, they can destroy buildings and steal resources. In order to prevent this, players build towers that shoot enemies and walls that slow them.
When your Town Hall reaches level 5, a new world, the Inferno, becomes avalible.