Having come through Kickstarter and early access on Steam, Monster Sanctuary has now fully arrived for PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and the Nintendo Switch.
Developed by Moi Rai Games, you embark on an adventure as a Spectral Keeper, battling monster teams, hatching new beasts to enhance your squad, levelling them up, and upgrading their abilities as you see fit.
However, before you set out exploring the Metroidvania-inspired world of Monster Sanctuary, you’ll need to pick your starting monster, known as the Spectral Familiar.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing your Spectral Familiar, and which one is the best starting monster.
Monster Sanctuary starting monsters: Eagle, Lion, Toad, and Wolf
After a short introduction, you are asked to select your Spectral Familiar: the starting monster that will accompany you throughout your Monster Sanctuary journey.
You can choose between the Eagle, Lion, Toad, and Wolf, with each starter monster having different stats, weaknesses, resistances, and attacks.
The Spectral Eagle offers a perfect balance of attack, magic, health, and mana, but has the lowest defence rating of the four starting monsters in Monstery Sanctuary. The fire and wind elemental attacks present a good mix, but you can find fairly strong fire and wind monsters early in the game.
Easily the most well-balanced of the bunch, the Spectral Lion boasts five-point ratings in attack, magic, and defence, with a six-point rating for health and mana. It’s a decent balance, particularly for those who are new to the game. The fire-earth elemental combination also unlocks some particularly mighty attacks for the Spectral Lion.
Monster Sanctuary’s Spectral Toad presents itself as your tank option. Its attack and magic stats are the lowest of the four starter monsters, but only just, with its defence being on-par with the Spectral Lion. The Toad really dominates when it comes to its health and mana, however, and has access to useful healing abilities.
Like the Spectral Lion, the Spectral Wolf also offers a decent balance across the five stats. Its access to water attacks will keep it unique in your team through the early stages of the game, with the Wolf being well-built to utlise magic and abilities throughout a battle.
As you can see, each Spectral Familiar offers something a bit different, but which is the best starting monster to choose in Monster Sanctuary?
Best starter monster in Monster Sanctuary: Eagle vs Toad
While the Spectral Wolf’s early access to water attacks – and its multi-enemy-hitting Ice Storm attack – is useful, and the Spectral Lion both has powerful moves and a balanced stat sheet, the best starting monster looks to be between the Spectral Eagle and Spectral Toad. The primary reason behind this is their access to powerful healing and revival moves.
In Monster Sanctuary, when you battle in the wild to attempt to get an egg of a new monster, you’ll only have a team of three monsters. Most adept healers earlier in the game are relatively weak in all other areas. However, both the Spectral Toad and Spectral Eagle have mighty attacks and excellent healing moves. The Toad’s Healing Wave heals all teammates, while the Eagle’s Phoenix Affinity can revive a fallen comrade.
Having the ability to heal is crucial to adding new and better monsters to your squad as it’s a main part of the battle calculations. As you get more points for your monsters having more health remaining, being able to revive one or heal them all can be the difference between you getting the rare monster eggs or just some common items.
Of the two, the preference here goes to the Spectral Toad. The tank of a Monster Sanctuary starter familiar can withstand plenty of attacks, heal its teammates, and has some rather strong multi-hit attacks. Furthermore, in terms of the base stats, the Spectral Toad is the only one with 28 points spread across the five stats. The Spectral Eagle, Spectral Wolf, and Spectral Lion each only have 27 points at the start of the game.
Very early in Monster Sanctuary, you can unlock the potent combination of Tackle and Toxin for the Spectral Toad; the former deals several counts of heavy physical damage, and the latter give each hit a 10 per cent chance of applying poison. To add to this, Poison Glands has a 40 per cent chance of poisoning attackers.
An especially exciting aspect of using the Spectral Toad beyond Level 10 (when Healing Wave becomes available) is that your trio doesn’t need to use a space on a designated healer. The Toad can both be a potent attacker and your healer. This can help you end battles quicker, enhancing your chances of getting rare rewards.
Your own preference will decide which Spectral Familiar to choose in Monster Sanctuary. As you’ll find plenty of monsters later to complement your pick, the choice doesn’t have particularly game-changing consequences. However, if you want the best starting monster of Monster Sanctuary, it’s the Spectral Toad that has the most stat points and the most useful potential build early and in the long run.