As the internet sinks into Cyberpunk 2077 hype, I settled on a different RPG released last week: Monster Sanctuary (it’s also a Metroidvania so of course I’m playing it). It’s actually been in early access for quite a while but the full release dropped on Dec 8th and that’s when I started playing.
I had a draft of a post for a general review of the game that I wrote when I was close to end of the game. I thought I had most of the game figured out, but then I hit a massive wall with the second to last boss. When trying to figure out how to get past it, I noticed that it wasn’t an uncommon issue. I read a lot of threads and posts about it (though the subreddit is quite small).
In my opinion, within one dungeon Monster Sanctuary somehow went from a Pokemon “I’m just gonna use the mons that I like because the game is easy enough to just use who I think looks the coolest” to a Shin Megami Tensei “I’m gonna need to fuse up a new team built just to beat this boss because this is just some straight bullshit”, but I’ve seen some people express difficulty from fights before the final dungeon.
Well…I made it to the end, and these are some of the things I’ve learned. Maybe this will help, maybe it won’t. This post discusses many mechanics of the game, but has minimal spoilers.
Passive Healing and Buffing
For me, this was definitely the most useful and integral in getting past the second to last boss. After losing a whole bunch of times, I realized that he was out-shielding, out-buffing, and out-healing my entire party despite rarely using an actual shield/buff/healing skill. Wasting a turn on any support move was bad for my action economy and if I wasn’t aggressive enough, his synergy was good enough to heal back up to full while he attacks with all three mons.
So I played the game back at him – make a team that is self sufficient in healing, shielding, and buffing via passives only.
All my examples are going to be from the Steam Golem skill tree, the first boss you encounter in the game.
The key note here is that Auto Restore only works when attacking. If you spend your turn playing defense and shielding often like I was, this won’t trigger, and the boss will outpace you.
Cleanse + AOE
In multiple attempts, including the one I was finally successful on, his monsters had five stacks of regen at some points in the fight, and a ton of other stacks of buffs that made him impossible to take down (like a literal wall). Previously in random battles and champion fights, I favored single target skills. However, I needed a method of getting rid of his buffs and this is the only strategy I found, but maybe there are others. I think the chance of cleanse applies to each hit, so hitting his team with a good skill hopefully shaves off a good handful of buffs and makes his team less annoying.
It’s also mildly satisfying watching the small animation of their buff going away – and even more satisfying once even more abilities are stacked onto that (e.g. stealing buffs, which is also very useful).
While you’re removing their buffs, you gotta just straight up cripple their team as much as possible. The opponent was constantly applying AOE debuffs to my party the entire match so I tried to one-up them on debuffs.
I already ran a debuff heavy build throughout the entire game, so this wasn’t a big change. I just tried my best to add any useful passives skills I missed in the skill tree.
In regards to getting more passive skills, I didn’t realize until I hit the wall that you can buy unlimited skill resets, so it is a very viable strategy to respec your entire team for a single battle or to just play around with builds. I noticed that there were some skills, like Revive, that are nice during some random encounters or champion fights but not very useful in trainer duels.
Max Level & Shifts
I maxed out my entire party of shifted monsters before finally winning (with skill potions too – so I maxed out the number of skills they could have). Perhaps it’s not necessary since I didn’t even use any of the max level abilities during any of the trainer duels, but it definitely helps a little at least. Plus, it’s fun to use those abilities on champion monsters in the post-game.
I had one monster that had two weaknesses and two resistances rather than one of each. At some point though, I realized that having two weaknesses greatly hindered my monster in the trainer duels because the AI was smart enough to try to target weaknesses as much as possible, so it just makes it easier for them to do so. The bonus resistance didn’t matter at all.
The trainers I fought towards the tail end of the game had fairly balanced teams in my opinion. They usually don’t have many redundant weaknesses and can usually use any element. Again, play them at their own game, make a balanced party (which seems like a no-brainer, but it’s still important so I’m writing it down anyway).
Learning from the Opponent
I keep writing about the whole “play them at their own game thing”, but I do think that makes the duels interesting. Their team is no different than yours. What I mean by that is that you have access to everything they have. In theory you could completely recreate their team, but that’s lame. However, seeing their patterns and builds has been very useful, and also sorta fun.
If you’re down here at the end of the post and have played (or are currently playing) Monster Sanctuary, I’d be interested to know what kind of team and strategy you use. And if you haven’t, then most of the post is probably really confusing, but maybe you’ll decide to try it out some day.