Switch version tested
Review code provided
Monster Puzzle is a minimalistic puzzler likely to appeal to the younger audience. Set in a brightly coloured 3D world with an accompanying 8-bit soundtrack you take control of Trekkie, an alien creature roaming this land built on human dreams trying to collect all the dream fragments which are under threat from the nightmare creatures. Sounds a bit Saturday morning cartoon, but it’s a simple premise for a simple game and that’s no bad thing. Each of the 50 levels has you navigating a maze platform, you must collect each fragment before you can enter the rocket ship and progress to the next stage.
Obviously, things aren’t quite that easy, as you move across a platform to collect a fragment that platform will fall away meaning you have to plan your route and aim to collect all fragments in one sequence. A couple of platforms will hold in place, these are represented with solid white blocks, some fall away after one move, some last for two and a selection of hazards are on hand including monsters roaming around and blocking your path. If you fall you must restart the stage so taking a moment to plot your route will be the key to success, you can rotate the camera using shoulder buttons which comes in handy for planning ahead which generally helps on more complex stages, but you will find trial and error attempts becoming more frequent as the levels progress.
Unfortunately repeating the same level multiple times will wear thin very quickly due to the sheer lack of… well, enjoyment in this title. Credit where its due for pushing for a slower more simplistic pace but Monster Puzzle literally moves at a snail’s pace. Trekkie wiggles in the desired direction (sometimes) so slowly that it’s a bigger wonder why the controls are so unresponsive. If moving slowly or having to restart a level isn’t bad enough then falling off the edge of the map due to latency or Trekkie continuing forward when you flick the analogue stick left is just embarrassing game design, especially when some of the later levels do require a bit of forethought and hint at being a fair challenge despite the driving miss daisy pace, failing due to bad input just feels like a cheap way to fail.
Sound design is something else that just doesn’t fit, although the graphics are basic at best, they are bright and quirky which makes an 8-Bit sound design a bit of a head-scratcher. Not just because the music is extremely annoying and will drive you potty by the third level but it just doesn’t fit the game or world whatsoever. Something a bit funkier or jazzy would have been much more welcomed considering the setting.
There really isn’t much to say about Monster Puzzle, one the one hand the idea for a simplistic, in every way, puzzler is a nice touch and it’s always good to see more variety on the eShop. However, with a title that is so simple, there really isn’t much excuse for it to be so dull and plagued with sloppy mechanics. Tighter controls, options for movement speed and some more suitable music and sounds would have made this a charming title and hold its own against the stiff competition but as it stands Monster Puzzle just has to sit in the avoid category.
TBG Score: 3/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Steam
Release Date: 09/05/2019
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Flynns Arcade
Publisher: Forsaken Games
Download link: eShop