Friday, August 19, 2011

GooMonsters - 0.99 (DigitallyBold)

GooMonsters is a new top-down hack-n-slash game from DigitallyBold, the makers of Fly Away Rabbit, which was on the CNET 100 in 2010. With their success of Fly Away Rabbit,DigitallyBold has set their standards pretty high. GooMonsters is a great example of that. In GooMonsters, you play as a girl who ends up stranded on a remote island in the middle of the ocean. When you come to, you realize that your dog has gone missing, and that there’s tracks leading off to the distance. Following them, you find your dog, only to see him right before he’s taken away by a Goo Monster. Now, you need to battle the Goos in order to save your dog,Fluffy.

Starting off in the Campaign Mode, you’ll go through 26 stages, each having one of 4 different missions to accomplish, Vanquish, Survival, Collector, and Trainer. Vanquish missions give you a certain number of Goo’s to kill while in Survival missions, you just need to stay alive for a certain amount of time. Collector missions give you a certain number of items to pick up, and Trainer missions require you to stand next to a Goo for a certain amount of time without killing it while other Goos come at you. You only have one life, but unlimited retries, if you die you start the mission over from the beginning.
There’s 11 mini-games that are unlocked while you progress through the Campaign Mode. These are pretty much mini-missions, not unlike the missions in the Campaign. For instance, the first mini-game you’ll unlock is called “Green Overdose”, in it you’ll try and kill as many Green Goos as you can in one minute. The second mini-game puts you up against Goos that explode and Black Goos that stick to you and slow you down, seeing how long you can survive. It’s a nice addition to the game, but some more differences here, really separating it from the Campaign Mode would have been nice.
There’s also a practice mode, where you can select which Goos you want to practice against in a sort of training level. If you get hit, you just re-spawn at the center of the screen with the stage cleared of enemies. It’s nice for getting use to the different goos you’re having problems with if you get stuck in Campaign Mode. You can also find a weaponry area where you can unlock different bombs and weapons setting their buttons next to your attack button. Once you unlock a bomb or weapon, you don’t need to buy more, they slowly recharge after each use. There’s lots of different items here, bombs that attract goos, drones that help you take out goos, weapons that emit high-frequency sound waves that have vibrations that blow goos up. Unlocking these weapons and bombs is a big part of the gameplay, using them to your advantage will be critical in moving on in the game, and DigitallyBold has done a great job giving us loads of different items to buy. There are no IAPs in the game, everything is unlocked with in-game points, and everything recharges, you don’t need to keep purchasing weapons after you’ve unlocked them, which is very nice.
There’s numerous colors of Goos, each with different abilities. Green Goos don’t really do anything, and you can just hack-n-slash at em all you want, they also are the only Goos that don‘t hurt you if you run into them. Blue Goos leave a puddle of blue goo on the ground, if you walk into it, the goo splatters onto the screen, blocking your view of a small area for a short time. Yellow Goos leave an acidic puddle on the ground that can damage both you and other Goos. There’s loads more, each with different attributes.
The controls in GooMonsters aren‘t what I was expecting from the screen shots. You tilt your device to move the character, holding on the button in the left corner to stop and stand still, rotating your device to turn around, and tapping the button in the right corner to attack. You are given calibration options before you start levels, but no sensitivity options, and I found myself wishing I wasn‘t needing to tilt my device as much as I was quite a bit while playing. During the first couple missions, I also couldn’t help but think that the game would play a lot better with a joystick and attack button. I did get use to the tilting controls, but I still really think that some control options should have been added into the game, and hope that they are thrown in in the future. The controls as they are now are very responsive though, and do end up working pretty well. The graphics are nice and polished, and the animations for the goo moving around and splattering on the ground are nice, and there‘s different animations for each different goo. You can tell that a lot of work went into making each goo look and move differently, and this does add quite a bit to the gameplay. The music and FX are fitting for the graphics and gameplay as well. The game does run very smoothly, no lag or jitters, and the game hasn’t crashed once on me.
There are GameCenter leader boards for the campaign, along with separate boards for each of the mini-games. There’s also 58 achievements, all of which adds a ton to the replay value. I’m going to give GooMonsters a 3.5 stars out of 5, and if you’re into hack-n-slash games, this is one worth checking out. At $0.99, it’s a great deal, and includes lots of content to keep you playing and re-playing for quite some time.


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