Beasts of Balance, the augmented reality stacking game, from Sensible Object. If you’re not up to date on this family-friendly game, you can catch up with our review from last year, but here’s a brief overview before we get into the new Beasts of Balance Expansion Packs, which include several different sets that players can purchase separately to add on new features to the game.
In Beasts of Balance, players work together to stack a tower of beasts onto the electronic base of the game, AKA the Plinth, with the goal of making the tower of magical creatures get taller and taller without tipping it over, almost like a game of Jenga. As players add the real-life figures to the stack, they will also scan each one so that the digital versions will enter the game through the connected app, using a smart device (not included). Players will continue to stack the artifacts on the Plinth to add to their bestiary. The more they add, the higher the score. If the tower collapses, the game will end, unless players can rebuild the tower before the countdown ends.
What makes the game even more fun than a game of Jenga is that the beasts interact with each other in the digital world, and players must keep their AR world in balance as they add new pieces. For example, when I added a shark, a message appeared on my smartphone that read: “Poor Warthog is jealous of Shark, so loses energy.” Players can care for your beasts and give them boosts by adding the correct elements to the Plinth. Players may not know which pieces will help or hurt their beasts, but it’s all about experimenting and trial and error. When I added the fire and earth artifact, it boosted my Warthog, giving it more energy. Beasts can evolve into different forms too, similar to Pokemon. The game has a running bestiary list that adds beasts into the database whenever players add or unlock something new.This year, Sensible Object released multiple expansion packs that allow players to add new and exciting beasts and hybrids to the game. The More Beasts: Expansion Pack comes with three new beasts—Chameleon, Anglerfish, and Flamingo—that allow players to create more than 300 new hybrids and discover new stacking strategies.
The Paranormal Pack includes figures of the Ghost Crab and Cursed Cross. By adding these new artifacts into the game, players can expand their bestiary with beasts both alive and undead, as well as open up more strategies to both co-op and Battles mode.
There’s also Hotbelly: The Hangry Dragon, who has special powers in Battles mode, where players can summon it from the volcano to make it burp fireballs at their opponents’ Beasts. Adding Hotbelly to your game also creates new hybrid beasts, including Gnarlyscar and Hungry Hungry Flamechomp.
Moby Brick: The Space Whale has the ability to squish an opponents’ beasts and unlocks more hybrids, including Cosmic Shuttlefish and Bazooka Beluga.
The Fancyprance: The Fabulous Unicorn pack unlocks even more hybrid beasts, including Squigglehorn and Heavenly Hoghoof, and allows players to boost their region’s score in Battles mode by using the unicorn’s powerful rainbow poop.
Other expansion packs include The Omnibeast, The Lalnalion, and extra sets of battle cards.
Players can use the battle cards to strategically play against each other. After selecting battle mode on a smart device, the game will give each player instructions on his or her turn. Players will take turns scanning new beasts and artifacts into the game, as well as drawing and scanning the AR battle cards, which have instructions on them. Here are some examples from the Battle Card Expansion Pack. The “Smite!” card says “Select a Beast. Make it explode!” The “Leech life” card says “Select a Beast. Steal half its life and give it to another Beast.” The “Thank you kindly” card says “Steal the power of the Card or Artefact that’s just been scanned.” Players can fight against their opponents until one of them becomes the ruler of the digital world.
And just like in the real world, there’s nothing more we could aspire to than to rule the digital world.