This is the part of the gaming post where I establish a little context. Maybe I tell you how a particular genre is doing on Android, or how well this developer's previous games have been received. I could do that, but I won't, because the theme song in the trailer for Combat Monsters is kind of blowing my mind. It's easily worthy of a 1980s cartoon sponsored by Hasbro.

Rubicon is the developer of the extremely solid Great Little War Game series, and Combat Monsters doesn't stray too far out of their wheelhouse. You've still got turn-based, hexagonal tactical gameplay, but this time it's definitely got a bit of an anime slant. The titular Monsters are spawned and modified with collectible cards a la Magic: The Gathering. The combined mechanics means that you'll have to rely on both a well-constructed deck and sound tactics to win, taking advantage of troop placement, environmental hazards, and special abilities.

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Combat Monsters is played in full 3D, and while it's not going to take home any prizes for visuals, it's certainly got its own charm. There are over 100 "monsters" that you can summon, though mostly they look like super-deformed fantasy characters. There's a huge focus on multiplayer combat: local and online fights are supported with up to six players, and you can even play cross-platform with opponents on the Kindle Fire, PC, or iOS. Your account is synced via Rubicon's servers, so switching over to a PC or iPad won't mean losing your progress.

It's just too bad that Rubicon switched to a free-to-play model with their latest title. In traditional card game style, cards have to be purchased in randomized packs with in-game currency. You can grind through the main game and save up, or spend real money for (fake) cards. At least there's some element of luck: there's no guarantee that you won't get duplicates from new card packs, so players can't just spend huge amounts of money for the best monsters.

Combat Monsters is a free download for devices running Android 2.3.3 or higher.

Combat Monsters
Combat Monsters
Developer: Rubicon Development
Price: Free+