Monster Shooter Review
“Kill all monsters. Don’t die. Have fun.” So commands a loading screen hint. Although a simple brief from a simple game, this is how all games should function (Providing of course they have monsters!). Following on from my previous review of Liberation Maiden, here we have another game that does not take itself too seriously. I guess these types of games are like buses, you wait ages for one to appear and then two come along at once.
As you would expect, Monster Shooter is a simple top down shooter where you control a sole warrior mowing down hoards of monsters with a variety of deadly weaponry to ones immense satisfaction. The warrior in question goes by the name of Dum Dum, a space-suited sphere hell bent on rescuing his kitten that has been kidnapped by space octopuses. Yes… you did read that correctly. This instantly nominates Monster Shooter for the best video game narrative ever written. Period.
The game may already be family with many of you readers in possession of a smart phone as it was first released last year via the iOS and Android platforms. However, Gamelion have now since released this port for the 3DS on the European eShop and soon to be North America. So how is it?
Well, pretty darn fun.
It really is simple gameplay done great. They’ve taken every good, well-used cliché in the book, slammed them together and made a rather satisfying, addictive eShop title. If you’re looking for revolutionary gameplay just close your browsing window and pretend this game does not exist.
You move brave old Dum Dum via the circle pad around maps of varying size, depending on the level, and shoot hoards of cute but vicious spawning octopuses that surround your position. Surprisingly, aiming and firing is actually controlled through the A, B, X and Y buttons and not the touch screen, which would have been my first instinct if I was a developer. This lends to possibly the most awkward part of the game; the aiming. For example, pressing X aims and shoots in a general upwards direction, holding A aims and shoots in a general rightwards direction (You can guess the rest for yourself). Notice that I say ‘general’ direction. In fact the aiming is aided by auto-aim where the game decides which alien octopus it should shoot at, while mostly this performs adequately, there are occasions where accuracy can be troublesome and also the game aims for completely the wrong one you want. Nevertheless these do not occur so prevalently and can be considered just a minor complaint. Grenades, mines, nukes, shield and medpacks are all issued from the touch screen as can be changing weapons, though I personally prefer the L and R shoulder buttons for this.
The game consists of 3 worlds, each filled with 20 levels just waiting for you to arrive and kick some octopus arse (Octoparse? No… that’s a terrible joke. In fact I’m not even sure if octopuses have arses. Damn). While the superficial goal is to complete each and every level, the real game is gaining a three star rank on them Angry Birds style. Only this is a good game.
Your arsenal starts off very minimalistic with only the standard submachine gun and whilst not the most powerful, this will be highly useful throughout most of your play due to this being the only gun that does not need to be reloaded. After each level is completed you have the opportunity to visit the shop to buy weapons and upgrade them, buy grenades, shields, perma-perks and even a nuclear bomb… Just in case you think a bit of overkill is necessary for the situation. There are 10 weapons to buy and each can be upgraded 3 times to increase its fire-power and ammo capacity. Ranging from genre standards such as a shotgun and rocket launcher but also to electric guns and snipers. Personally I find the weapon selection very reminiscent of the excellent Dead Nation. Oh… and the rock launcher is badass by the way.
As you annihilate dozens of enemies you gain experience points that allow you to level up. Doing so allows you to press an icon on the touch screen that gives you the choice between 4 random perks to help you by improving Dum Dum’s combat abilities. These can range from a standard 15% health increase to improving your speed, reload time and even give you regenerative powers. There’s a surprising amount of perks within the game and adds some subtle strategy to the experience. At this time do you want a bigger ammo capacity for your lacking shotgun, or do you want the ability to gather orbs more easily which are needed to gain higher multipliers? It’s also good during later levels that are longer and in survival mode were it’s possible to stack many different perks together to make you a total war machine.
The graphics, while cartoony, are fit for purpose and compliment the games laid-back attitude and humour well. While level-by-level the design does not change very much each of the three worlds has their own distinct design. Additionally, the enemy designs could possibly have been better. They consist mainly of three variants of octopuses: A generally weak one, a small but nimble one, and a large beefy one. Each of the other two worlds adds their own two monsters to the mix, though again, their designs could have been more varied. For example, the second world adds rolling armadillo type creatures one pink, one yellow. While their behaviour is slightly different, their design is just a palette swap. Also, rather hilariously for anyone around during the SNES days, in the transition between iOS and 3DS the alien’s blood has been changed from real red to a clichéd alien green alluding to the infamous case of Mortal Kombat’s port to the “family friendly console” where the awesome blood graphics that set the game apart, were replaced with “sweat”.
To finish off the review, whilst the gameplay is nothing revolutionary or ground breaking it is still fun and addictive to play and it offers more depth than at first glance. If you’re looking for an arcade fix made well it is definitely worth your time and money. I am lead to believe that the iOS and/or Android versions were free however there is no way I would play it without the help of true controls like the 3DS offers. Plus no ads, yay!
– Generally fun and addictive gameplay
– Graphics adequate for purpose
– Large arsenal of weaponry
– Surprising depth with perks and ranking up
– Survival mode is fun for those who love high scores
– Could have done with more variety in enemies
– Only three worlds
– Auto aim can occasionally let you down
– Low difficulty
Let me know what you think of the game in the comments section below! Do you agree with me or do you think I’m talking bollocks? Honestly, I’d love to know.