Little Monsters

I loves me some physics-based puzzlers.  That’s why you won’t catch me bitching about what Angry Birds has done to the iOS market.  I couldn’t be happier.  It’s a genre that lends itself perfectly to killing time.  If I’m stuck waiting for something, I can spend five minutes with it or an hour, being able to jump in and out without consequence.  That’s why I don’t think the genre works well for consoles.  It lacks that “killing time” feel.  There’s a big difference between playing Angry Birds while waiting at the doctor’s office and playing Angry Birds on your couch.  The only time I get bored playing these games is when I have nothing to do.

By the way, that has nothing to do with why I don’t like Little Monsters.  I don’t because the game sucks.  But if it had been good, that would be the excuse of why I didn’t recommend it more.  Figured it would be fair to let you know that.

In Little Monsters, you’re given a limited number of bombs in each stage to blast all enemies off the their platforms and into oblivion.  There’s a variety of enemies, some of which jump, some of which are heavy, some of which float in the air, and some of which melt ice blocks and detonate explosives.  They’re used in clever ways through-out all 30 puzzles included.  The game scores on a 3-star system, much like Angry Birds.  The fewer bombs you use, the more stars you get.  The concept is solid.  The execution is so not solid it’s practically vapor.

Having bad physics in a physics-based puzzler is like entering a horse into a drag race with a Ferrari.  You’re just asking to be destroyed.  In Little Monsters, the enemies are round in shape and roll when they get moved.  Sometimes they would be rolling at a pretty decent speed, with nothing in their way, and just come to a complete stop for no reason.  This was especially a problem with the big monsters.  For no reason, they would stop on the edge of a cliff, stop in the middle of a platform, or once even briefly while rolling down a slope, negating all momentum it had built up.  It was weird and hugely annoying.  I can’t tell you how many times I had a stage beaten only to see the physics crap out and enemies stop moving for no reason. Oddly enough, this never seemed to happen with the “cute monster” that you have to avoid killing.  By God, if anything came remotely close to it, it seemed to scoot its ass off a cliff like it thought it was starring in Lemmings.

Maybe the big dudes lactate super glue. That sounds like something a monster would do.

The bombs aren’t accurate either.  It feels like something is off in the collision detection, or there’s an issue with the gravity.  I would set bombs on the bouncing enemies, wait for them to line up, and detonate, only for the bomb to not even budge them.  This happens way too often.  There are a few stages that involve timing, but whether the bomb would actually work the way it’s supposed to was never consistent from one attempt to the next.  It’s never fun to have to replay levels when you know the solution but have to wait until the game is willing to behave correctly.

The bombs also lack “oomph” to them.  From one stage to the next, the strength of their blasts never feels uniform.  These problems all add up to a game that feels like it’s still in the Beta stage of development.  Maybe something good can come of it, but by time it does, people will have given up and Little Monsters will lose its potential audience.  Think of every sad picture you’ve seen of a premature baby being hooked to life support, with tubes and wires all over its body.  That’s what a developer does to its own game when it releases it too soon.  Little Monsters is that sad, premature baby.  All the potential in the world, but barely a fighting chance of survival.  Again, I love this genre.  I love it.  But Little Monsters has about as much stability as a bridge being suspended by twine.

Little Monsters was developed by WhiteHawk Games

80 Microsoft Points said naming a game after a movie starring Howie Mandel was probably a sign it would be no good in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

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