I have written plenty of articles about past, present, and future monster taming RPGs, or “mongames” as commonly referred to by fans, but what if there was one that wasn’t a game at all? No, I’m not talking about befriending or capturing monsters in real life, I’m talking about the Apple Quest Monsters DX monster manual, a monster encyclopedia for a game that doesn’t exist. I talked to the creator Splendidland to discuss their inspirations, design choices, and more.

Some of the monsters that stand out are Apple Warrior and Carrot Warrior. Was this possibly influenced by Fighting Foodons/Bistro Recipe and what are some other specific main influences and inspirations?

“Apple Warrior just kind of sprung out of nowhere! I was originally just making a small collection of monsters for fun, making one for each type and habitat combination, and he just kind of materialized as a weak “starter” type. Since he’s the starter, the title was decided pretty quickly afterwards! His main inspiration was probably the characters from Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom.”

So monsters in Apple Quest Monsters don’t evolve for the most part, similar to those in  the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Did you not want the monsters to have evolved forms or was it more of a creative burnout situation?

“Evolving monsters was something I considered, but I decided against it as so much of what makes the monsters unique is their flavor text, and there’s only so many times I could write “they got more confidence and became bigger”, even if it would have been nice for each monster to have their own little growth arc like that.”

The 9 star team limit is similar to the data limit in the Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth series. Why did you choose this as the limit rather than the number of monsters per team?

“The 9 star thing is something I’ve always wanted to see from a monster RPG! Pokemon has the issue where some monsters are significantly less viable to use than others, or maybe you happen to prefer an unevolved form? A system like this would allow a team of 9 weaker monsters to be a potentially powerful strategy, as using a powerful Boss monster takes up more space! I think it allows every monster to shine in their own way.”

Every monster has one attack highlighted on their page. Would this have been their only attack or just their signature move?

“I never put much thought into a “battle system”, so I think of their attacks as just being examples of what they are capable of. I’m sure they have more talents than just that one!”

There are some interesting monster types such as Puppet and Elemental. Did you ever have a strength and weakness system in mind for all the different monster types?

“I was thinking of including a page that would detail some kind of weakness system, but it became just pure “information” and not terribly fun to read, especially with 6 types to interact with each other!”

What’s the deal with Mr. Enigma?

“I don’t know. He just appeared one day. I really wish he wasn’t here.”

In addition to all the monsters, you also had a map of the game world at the beginning of the book and highlighted a few NPCs in the Intermission. How far did you go when creating the world of Pommeland? Was what was shown in the book all that you created or was there more you wanted to put in but felt like you had to cut out?

“Pommeland is pretty much just what you see! I have more ideas about it in my head, but it’s really just there as a kind of vague “world with monsters in it” to facilitate the story. I’m not really someone who thinks a lot about “world building”!”

It’s been said that Apple Quest Monsters was inspired by strategy guides for games you never played. If you had the resources would you make it into a game, or would you let someone who is interested in doing so?

“I personally would not want to see it adapted into a game, as I made it to capture a very specific feeling! I think everyone reading the book will have their own ideas as to what it would be like as something playable, and I don’t think it’s my place to say what it absolutely would be like. As for someone else making it, it would be a lot of work to make a whole game just for it to be an adaption of something that already exists, so I’d much prefer if anyone thinking of doing so took that energy and used it to make something unique of their own instead!”

Could we see a sequel to Apple Quest Monsters in the future?

“I don’t know! I don’t want to say an outright “no” because there is a part of me that would love to make a new collection of apple monsters, but it’s not really on my mind right now as I’m very happy with what I’ve made!”

Apple Quest Monsters DX is available digitally on itch.io and physically on Splendidland’s Big Cartel site

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Erroll Maas
Erroll is a writer with an enthusiastic love of Japanese monsters and the games which feature them, from Pokemon to Power Rangers to Pacific Rim and everything in between. You can learn more about this and plenty of other games and nerdy things by following @errollm

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