Platform: Android OS 2.0.1+
Reviewed On: HTC One X
Reviewed by: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Price: R9.24 (Google Play)
Very Little Monsters is the first title developed by CODE Software, utilising the Unity Engine, seen in other popular mobile games such as Dead Trigger and Temple Run 2. The title starts off with a brief introductory story piece which shows that two different coloured species of alien are competing over crystals, one to rebuild their stranded spaceship, and the other for an unknown purpose. While this is just a premise, it sets a solid platform for the title to build upon. So will Very Little Monsters be a huge hit on the Android platform? Or does it simply shrink at the challenge? Let’s find out!
Gameplay is fairly simple, players start off with one unit each and can either move one or two spaces with their unit. Moving one space clones your character, whereas moving two allows you longer movement distance, but does not clone the monster that you are controlling. Players move around the levels, which are largely hexagonal boards with certain different designs and pathways littering the level, and encounter one another. Now, moving within range of enemies allows you to convert their colours into the colours of your team, but jumping over them into an open space allows several units to be converted simultaneously. While this is a simple game concept, some decent level design shows that this concept is well-implemented. While the monotonous “Jump, Clone, Rinse, Repeat” strategy make get boring at times, the simple nature of the title, as well as the lack of explicit content makes it an ideal title for children to play, although CODE’s target market will certainly not be limited to infants.
Graphically, the title is somewhat disappointing, especially when other mobile titles using a similar engine are compared to it. Very Little Monsters’ under-detailed character models, neutral environments and basic animations pale in comparison to other Unity Engine titles such as Dead Trigger, which has fully animated, detailed enemies, vibrant environments with effects such as falling water and full gun handling animations. Unfortunately, this means that Very Little Monsters is made to look fairly ugly against titles on the same engine, although released a year earlier.
The sound is not much better, and may even be classified as a little worse, as the only notable sounds were those of the high-pitched, fairly irritating squeaks of the monsters in play. There is no soundtrack to speak of, and ultimately the sound design is very, very poor, leaving a lot to be desired, from sound effects to soundtrack.
The title has a decent amount of lasting appeal, however, if only because it allows you to replay completed levels with a friend as opposing aliens. The well-laid out levels, combined with the frantic and different challenge of PvP multiplayer allows the title to receive a breath of fresh air, and gives people the ability to play with friends or family on the go. However, there is no online functionality for the title, so any and all multiplayer is limited to turn-based gameplay on one handset/tablet.
With many other titles available on the Google Play Store, it would be difficult to say that Very Little Monsters is worth a download, given that it has a price tag. Given that many other titles, from the illustrious Angry Birds series, to the aforementioned Dead Trigger and Temple Run 2 are available on the Store for free download, Very Little Monsters, does, as the name suggests, very little to warrant a purchase. However, there is a Lite version of the app, which requires full network access for adverts
Unfortunately, Very Little Monsters starts with some bright ideas, but fails to live up to them. The gameplay is simple and repetitive, if effective, but is really saved by some really good level design and the ability to replay levels locally against friends and family. However, this doesn’t redeem it from a poor graphical performance, where textures, character models and animations are all either very basic, or very poor. The sound adds no atmosphere to the game, other than the instant urge to close and uninstall when the high-pitched monster squeals play, and the lack of soundtrack is blatantly obvious, as the title has no ambience. With all of this, it would be difficult to recommend a title with a fairly hefty price against other, far more polished, free titles on the Store. However family-friendly and easily accessible this title may be, it unfortunately won’t hold its users for very long, and will most certainly leave them wondering what they spent money on it for.
Lasting Appeal: 7/10
Value For Money: 5/10