Mail Order Monsters is an arena combat game, allowing users to purchase, modify, and fight with a variety of monsters against computer or player opponents.
There are three different difficulty levels. Free trial ( beginner ) starts with a pre-made MORPH and runs through the basics of the combat. Rental ( Intermediate ) gives the player money to play through one round. Tournament ( Expert ) lets the player keep a MORPH, and gain Psychons (currency) and purchased upgrades. Each character starts with a set amount of money to buy a new monster clone and outfit it for fighting.
Clone options include many kinds of giant creatures, including:
- Tyro ( Tyrannosaurus )
- Bronto ( Brontosaurus )
- Homind ( Giant Humanoid )
- Arachnid ( Giant Spider )
- Carnifern ( Carnivorous giant plant )
- Amoeboid ( Giant Slime )
- Petrasaur ( Pteranodon )
Players spend money on buffs to stats or extra powers. Examples include better ways of navigating terrain like water breathing or burrowing, allowing access to other weapons with an extra set of hands, natural weapons or defenses with stinger or web or photosynthesis.
Weapon and equipment are wide and varied types of science fiction fare. From melee weapons (e-mace, sword), guns (autorifle, gas gun), even a few expensive launchers (grenades, missiles & bombs) that can destroy things from the map screen. Other equipment is a cheap way for a round to get temporary powers to let you fly with a jetpack, swim with an aqualung or just get other standard equipment like a medi-kit or star java. Except for the natural combat ability called Beastfu all the powers and equipment require food, rounds or energy.
In combat, a player's monster is placed on a randomly generated overhead view map. The player in map mode steers the monster with the controller and activates the menu with the fire button. When the player gets close to a goal or a opponent monster the action zooms in to a combat screen where the monster and a opponent can attack each other. In combat mode the fire button activates a combat ability, which could be equipment based or biological. Players may disengage from combat by running to the edge of the combat screen.
There are three different modes of combat, all of which can be played against another player or a computer controlled AI:
- Destruction: The goal is to destroy your opponent or be the first to destroy 5 goal creatures on the map. These goal creatures are stationary on the main map but when encountered are controlled by other player directly.
- Capture the Flag: The goal is to collect the 8 flags on the map in order. On top of the other players monster, player controlled guards defend each flag.
- The Horde: A co-op mode where the two players have to keep a large group of tough enemies from reaching the bottom of the map screen. The player who destroys the most "hordlings" wins.