Zynga's new monster game looks a bit familiar

Gotta collect ’em all! No, it’s not the catchphrase for another Pokémon game, instead it belongs to the new one from Zynga. Montopia bears more than a slight resemblance to Nintendo‘s classic pocket monsters franchise, in yet another blatant example of imitation from the casual games king.

Originally launched in Japan in February, Montopia has been slowly popping up on western iTunes stores over the past few weeks, arriving in North America today. The game asks monster trainers to, ahem, “collect them all” – where “them” is an assortment of adorable monsters (some of which look rather familiar), and building up a team to be used when battling other players. There are more than 400 monsters, each with their own elemental affinity (fire, wood, water), and individuals can be fused together to breed new monsters or increase their stats.

The news comes not only after Zynga faces court over similarities between The Ville and The Sims Social, but also after Insomniac released its own monster-hunting game, the Facebook-based Outernauts. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there’s an awful lot of ass-kissing going on.

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