The most effective mobile games are quick and simple with bonus points if they're able to remain active when you're not playing them. This has led to a rise in the idle gaming genre, which is why many titles try to incorporate idle mechanics where they can. Games such as Monster Splitter by High Stone Games manages to teeter between active and passive. Considering that it involves growing plants on one end and shooting down hostile alien lifeforms on the other, there's a lot to appeal to various kinds of players with a decent challenge curve to keep things interesting.
The idea of running a business in space, or on an alien planet at the very least, is an amusing concept to explore. Just by the title, Monster Splitter would seem obvious but has layers to it. A main part of the game is that you are running a lab that grows and dispenses "special" herbs to alien clientele. After you've planted and grown the herbs, you can harvest and automatically sell them to your customers. In order to get the seeds you need to fuel your business, you need to send Champions with drills to extract them from alien planets. Unfortunately, hostile wildlife will try to stop you, so you'll need to fight them off as best as you can. A part sim and part arcade shooter makes for entertaining combos.
When running any kind of business, the goal is to never fall into the red. In Monster Splitter, the gameplay is presented in such a way that it makes an appealing endeavor. There are two main game modes: Running the shop and collecting the seeds. In the former, you have a selection of available pots to grow plants, which can be upgraded for greater harvests and profit. They're always growing and once harvested, you'll start making money as aliens move up to collect their orders. It's easy and surprisingly satisfying with each upgrade providing a noticeable boost to your sales.
Then there's the active part of the game where you travel to alien worlds. You get to choose one from a menu of champions which you can unlock, buy, and upgrade as you make progress. You can also equip them with different power gems to give them an edge in battles, such as shields and bigger bullets. On each planet, you'll face waves of bouncing enemies with different movement patterns, attacks, and properties. It has a slow build, introducing each type gradually before throwing them all together and challenging you to move carefully and pick your shots.
Although games in Early Access can be forgiven for some things, that doesn't mean that there aren't poor decisions made. In Monster Splitter, the most prominent is the energy mechanic. Like many mobile games, you can only play levels if you have enough energy, which gradually refills overtime or is restored through some other means like leveling up. Unfortunately, the energy in this game doesn't restore over time, needing at least 12 hours to regain all energy idly. Meaning, that unless you build up a huge amount of resources, you'll be waiting a while just so you can get more. It also doesn't help that watching ads restores a paltry amount and refilling it requires tons of batteries, which are not easy to find.
Then there are the ads. As it stands right now, there is no way to turn off ads nor is there an option to pay for an ad-free version of the game. One can only hope that as the game continues to develop, this will eventually change.
Monster Splitter is a 2D stylized game about growing and selling plants when you're not harvesting seeds and fighting off hostile aliens. Both the idle shop gameplay and the active arcade shooter gameplay work well both separately and together. Sadly, it's hounded by overwhelming ads and a pretty stingy energy mechanic. If you can look past this, there are plenty of ways to split your time while splitting monsters.