Game Review: Monsters Vs. Aliens

mvaboxThere are several great matchups that people have debated about constantly. Pirates vs. Ninjas, Zombies vs. Robots. Pirate ninjas vs. Zombie robots. And of course, Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Robots.

A lesser known but still important rivalry is Monsters vs. Aliens. This particular match has recently been featured in a new kid’s movie. And where there are movies, there are games of said movie. I picked up a copy of Monsters vs. Aliens to see how it was.

Read the complete review inside.

I have personally never seen the movie, but the plot becomes rather clear after a few cut scenes: Monsters exist, and the government has them sealed in a high-security base. When aliens invade, the government decides to enlist the monsters in return for their freedom.

A little simplistic, perhaps, but it doesn’t really need to be that complicated.

Throughout the game, you get to play three of the five different monster characters from the movie (although an additional monster you get to play in multi-player). Unfortunately, the Godzilla-like and terminally adorable Insectosaurus is not playable despite making an appearance every once in a while.

Each monster has a different skill set, different controls, and a whole different style of gameplay. It is almost like playing three different mini-games. Although at first confusing, the different characters give some variety to the game.

The first monster you get to play, Ginormica, is a bit of a mirror’s edge/skate game/racing hybrid. While on a fixed track, you get to control a giant, roller-blading woman while she bashes robots, jumps on railings and other cool stuff. This occasionally gets to the point of sheer button-mashing, but is pretty enjoyable anyway.

The Missing Link is like playing pretty much any other platform in the world. That’s not a good or a bad thing, just a bit unoriginal. Some of the dynamics are cool, such as undoing screws on robots or jumping on top of gun turrets. Some the angles get weird here, though, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to change them.

My favorite was the third character, B.O.B., who is a giant blob thing that can attach himself to the ceiling. It is sort of like a traditional platform except you have to bounce from wall to wall in increasingly complicated levels, occasionally eating blocks to become solid or coughing them up to move through grates. And he spits at people!

The featured two-player game allows the second player to control Dr. Cockroach PhD. However, the control is very limited. All this monster can do is tag along with the first player, shoot things, and pick up some power-ups. It’s very much like the multiplayer mode of Super Mario Galaxy. While this is good if you’re a parent playing with a kid, it gets really frustrating if the second player is any older than six.

I might want to mention at this point that this is a kids game. No one dies except robots, the humor is not exactly the height of intelligence, and all of it is incredibly cute. It’s still a fun game, though, and an adult can play it without feeling completely ripped off.

The graphics are much like the movie, brightly colored and surreal. It suits gaming rather well and the cut scenes look pretty much like the rest of game-play.

One of the interesting parts of the game is the monster lab. You use points you gather in game to purchase various power-ups and goodies. It functions like a tree, and you can unlock more things the farther you go into the game. The tree is confusing at first, and I had to buy a lot of concept art before I got what I wanted, but it was a cool way to do things.

Overall, if you have kids, buy this game. Your little ones will love it and it is one of the few kids games that won’t drive you crazy. If you don’t have kids, I would advise renting it. It isn’t a bad game, but there are plenty of other games out there that do the same thing without nearly as many fart jokes.

NOTE: The PS3 version of the game was used in this review.

Looking to pick up the game?

Monsters vs. Aliens [PS3]
Monsters vs. Aliens [Wii]
Monsters vs. Aliens [XBox 360]
Monsters vs. Aliens [DS]
Monsters vs. Aliens [PS2]

Lyndsey Ellis is an Associate Editor at Bag Of Mad Bastards, lives in Southern California, and is the mysterious ‘announcer’ on the B!tch Sl@p podcast.

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