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Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess


14:1203/09/2010Posted by Chris MorellNo Comments

It’s a fair guess that many of you will have experienced a tower-jumping game in one form or another, be it a free Flash game or cumbersome mobile phone offering. It’s also fair to say that the charm of these games is largely down to the situation at the time, whether you’re waiting for a bus or simply bored at work. Sat at home, however, there’s very little reason to give the genre a second glance considering the wealth of deeper, more rewarding gameplay options available. Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess hopes to buck this trend, but is it more of a stumble than a leap?

The game has you assume the role of a vampire known only as The Duke, whose sole ambition is to retrieve the princess that he believes was (probably) stolen from him. After a brief confrontation featuring small amounts of amusing script, each monster launches itself skyward in an attempt to escape. With the chase now on, your jumping skills are put to the test as you climb the tower to reach the enemy; there are no obstacles other than your singular foe, meaning that jumping is – quite literally – all there is per stage. The double-jump is used to damage each boss, and only three strikes are required for victory.

To be fair, some enemies do utilise different tactics; one boss might be more evasive and bound between walls, while another might make use of water as cover, making it less a case of speed and more a case of timing your attacks. Regardless, you’ll usually be leaping about feverishly to extinguish each creature before running out of tower – it really is as simple as that. Things can get frustrating in later stages when platforms become smaller and sporadically placed, yet failure always comes down to you.

The story can be completed in less than ten minutes, so it’s just as well that a score attack mode has been implemented to increase replayability. Taking place over the five environments, these stages are all about landing on as many of the platforms as possible to increase your tally, with a medal awarded at the end should you have performed amicably. A selection of extras can be unlocked and these keep in with the general sense of humour. The fact that a target score is presented and medals are awarded may be enough for some players to become interested for a short time, but make no mistake, the monotonous stages and lack of depth go some way to stifle the game’s most notable asset – it’s impressive presentation.

Featuring cartoon visuals and a bold style, Monsters is no slouch in the graphics department. The dialogue is always just shy of being laugh-out-loud funny, but the amount of charm and sense of identity are certainly among the game’s strong suits. The boss designs and character animations have been handled well, making the game feel incredibly smooth as you hop about like a loon. The music too has been chosen with aplomb, with the likes of a remixed Moonlight Sonata adding to the atmosphere as a whole.

With a quirky style and simple gameplay, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess is a cutesy tower romp that succeeds on a visual level. It’s still incredibly short and the ten-minute story mode might not be to everyone’s tastes. The tale is rudimentary yet features a twist that you might not see coming, while the gameplay remains a simple case of hopping to the platforms above. The game is undoubtedly accessible but it’s also highly repetitive, making for an adventure that, for many people, will wear out its welcome before long. That said, should you have a penchant for beating your personal score and an extra 240 points to spare, then this Indie outing may well be worth a look. Everyone else can (probably) leave the princess with the monsters.

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