Monster Escape by Pixel Polish Games
Available on Xbox Live Indie Games (80 msp) and Windows Phone 7 ($1.99)
If you like puzzle games, you’re going to want to check out Monster Escape. This game saw it’s initial release for XBLIG on June 16, 2011. This is the version I played. Since then it has been released for Windows Phone 7, as Monster Escape Mobile. I think the mobile version might ultimately be what catches players attention best because it is the perfect game for a long commute. Both versions have four worlds and ten levels in each world.
In an undisclosed city at a secret laboratory, caged monsters with a new baby on the way have grown restless. They’ve decided to pull off an escape. It is your job to guide the monsters toward the end of each level and help them get away. Sounds simple enough, right? Oh, did I mention there are enemies blocking your broken path full of holes? Also, don’t forget the baby!
Upon arrival at each new level you are presented with a broken path separating your monster character from his egg baby and the level exit. Your only tools are a set number of puzzle pieces given in each level to fill gaps. These pieces are different in shape and texture. So it is important to use them wisely. Once in place monsters can travel to pick up egg baby and run to the exit. You’ll want to do this quickly as it’s a timed game. At the end of each level your score will be tallied and stars awarded based on performance and speed compared to the predetermined par.
As you progress through the levels, some will have a choice of monster to use on your journey. It is important to select the right monster for the job. Each has a special ability that will be useful in different scenarios. For example one monster can clear away trees and another can float over single missing pieces in the path. In these levels many times it will take a combination of switching back and forth between available characters to successfully make it through. It’s not all bad news along the path, however. Grab power ups along the way for special advantages like speed boost and becoming temporarily invincible.
The Xbox version controls are simple. Press a to start the level, move with left thumb stick and press b to stop your character. You can use left and right triggers to switch between the available monsters to control. Using the right thumb stick allows you to move the camera and look around. Puzzle pieces for path building are shown on the bottom right of the screen. Grab one by pressing and holding x. Maneuver to the drop location with left thumb stick and release x to place it.
The game design is cartoonish and “happy”. There are four different monster styles and twelve various enemies. It’s a game that boasts bright primary colors and smiling monsters which make it attractive for the younger player as well.
Introduction music is catchy and upbeat. But it is the actual in game sound effects that add a very pleasant quality using sounds of flowing water and singing birds. I cannot close without mentioning the sounds of each different enemy. Some of these actually left me laughing out loud.
With so many indie games popping up on the scene, I think it is very important to developers to give special consideration to the artwork used for marketing. Sadly, a lot of great games will be overlooked if the box art has no appeal. Pixel Polish made an excellent delivery to the indie games marketplace featuring a friendly looking monster with a big toothy grin. Just for the record, I chose to try this game based on the cover image alone.
Monster Escape is an excellent time killer for the long trip or a rainy afternoon. It has excellent value for the price. This is not the kind of game you want to pick up if you’re ready for some intense fighting and nonstop action. But if you’re looking for a game that will make you think and help you wind down after a busy day. This one is perfect!