Friday, September 28, 2012

Super Monsters Ate My Condo [PikPok + Adult Swim] - $0.99

One of my, and many others, favorite iOS game, Monsters Ate My Condo, just received a sort of sequel, titled Super Monsters Ate My Condo, done by PikPok, the same team that brought us the original. However, feelings are mixed when it comes to the Super version. Some people think it should have been an update to the original, others, plain out free, as it’s treated like a freemium title, while others love it and it’s timed gameplay. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help you decide whether or not to pick this one up.

Diving right on in, Super MAMC displays quite a few differences from the original, and while the core gameplay is the same, these differences do make it a completely new experience. Personally, I don’t think it would have worked as an update to the original. Scores would need to be reset, gameplay would be strange going back and forth, and the addition of the power-up/coin system just doesn’t fit in next to the original. 
The first thing you might notice? SMAMC contains a shop. Here, you’ll be able to purchase a coin doubler, coins, and 3 hats for each of the 4 monsters found in the game. Each hat does the same thing, adds a +3 multiplier to that monsters scoring system, and this is stackable, meaning that if you purchase two hats, the multiplier goes up to +6. The coin doubler is priced at $1.99, and there’s packs of coins set at $1.99 (20,000), $2.99 (50,000), $4.99 (130,000), $9.99 (300,000) and $24.99 (1,000,000). Sadly, these coins are also used to purchase boosters before every game which can drastically alter your score, with the more powerful boosters costing upwards of 2,000-3,000 coins. That’s not to say that you can’t score big without them, just that you’d probably be able to score even bigger if you had used them, leaving the top scores on the board for those that either grind for coins, or purchase them through IAPs, which, in an insanely high-scoring game like MAMC, is really a big no-no. 

The second big thing you’ll notice. The 2 minute time-limit. SMAMC has one gameplay mode, and it’s timed. Now, I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, in fact, I love that games are a lot shorter now. Chances are, if you really got into the original, games could last upwards of 1 or 2 hours depending on how careless/quick you got flicking condos left and right. With SMAMC, that frantic, action packed gameplay is all stuffed into one 2 minute game. You are able to extend this with the Time Booster, at the end of the game on the item wheel, and by matching clocks, all of which we’ll get to in a sec, but basically, each game will be between 2 and 5 (if you’re lucky) minutes. 

Now, the boosters. There are 10 boosters total which will be unlocked in packs of 3, with the last one unlocked by itself, as you complete sets of objectives and level up. The first 3 are; Double Start, which activates the green monster’s power for the first 30 seconds of a game, Boost Start, which makes the yellow monster’s 10x score multiplier active for the first 20 seconds of a game and Extra Time, which adds 30 seconds to the clock. Next, you’ll unlock Starting Cat, which starts you off with a cat condo somewhere in the beginning of the tower, Slow Chain, which gives you twice as long to make matches and build a chain and Multiplier +10, which, you guessed it, starts you off with an added 10 points on your beginning multiplier. The last 4 boosts are some of the most powerful in the game; Mega Boost, which activates the yellow monster’s power up (x10 multiplier) for the first 15 seconds of every Mega Zone (3 diamonds matched) you enter. Double Good gives you 2x the Piggy Banks, Clocks and Multipliers for the first 30 seconds of a game. We’ll get more into the banks and clocks next. The last power-up you’ll unlock is the Starting Dog. This power-up is the most expensive, but boosts upgrades like Cats, and can be fed to a monster when you want to activate two monster’s powers at once. 
You’re able to select 3 boosters before every game, and once you either complete the game, or once your tower crumbles. Whether it takes you 3 seconds or the full 2 minutes (or longer), the boosters are gone at the end of the game, and you’ll need to purchase them again in the next game if you want to use them. 

The new condos are all great. I have to admit that I didn’t expect them to have such a drastic effect on gameplay, but they really do. Each new condo can be removed by matching condos around it, with them either in the center, or on the edges of the match. First off, there’s two new pink condos. One is a pig, which is a Piggy Bank, giving you one coin for each condo in the match, while the other is a Clock, adding on one second for each condo that‘s in the match, or you can feed the clock to a monster to add 1 second to your timer. If you manage to match up 3 Banks or Clocks, or a mix of both, you’ll earn a Multiplier Condo. This multiplier condo adds a multiplier of 1 for each condo that you match around it, or can be fed to a monster to add 1 to your multiplier. There’s also Nukes, starting with a timer set at 10, if you don’t destroy these before they hit 0, they’ll blow up your whole tower, and result in a game over. Acid condos are also included, starting with a counter at 5, they count down to 0 and, if not destroyed by then, melt the condo under them. Once they melt a condo, the timer sets back at 5, and counts down again. These can eat through a whole tower if you let them. Both the Nuke and Acid condos timers can be reset if you power up the red monster. 

Another addition to the game is the ability to match condos between Bronze, Silver and Gold condos, no matter how long it’s been since they were created. In the original MAMC, you could only do this for a short period of time after the Bronze, Silver or Gold condos were created and appeared slightly transparent. In Super MAMC, you are ALWAYS able to have one of them in between condos, and make a match. This allows for some seriously large matches, especially once you throw in all the new and original (red, green, yellow, blue, concrete, bombs, cats, diamonds) condos found throughout the game. 
At the end of each game, you’re able to spin a wheel which can get you an additional 15 or 30 seconds of gameplay (if this is won, you will not spin again after those 15/30 seconds), extra coins (which are also doubled by the coin doubler), a random free booster your next game, 2X coins your next game, or nothing at all. If you win a free booster or 2X coins, you must play a game after that for it to be active. If you exit the game and restart it later, the free boost or 2X coins will no longer be available/active. 
The last addition is the inclusion of Events. For a heafty price (10,000 coins) you can play one game in Oriental Mode which increases the speed of everything, gives you a 10x multiplier along with a +5 multiplier for every 5 condos and bad condos count down quicker, all set in an oriental theme. Getting this option is random, and you never know when it'll pop up. If you don't have 10,000 coins, you won't be able to experience it, but it can definitely have a huge impact on your final score if you do. 

With the introduction of the coin/booster system, Super Monsters Ate My Condo really does feel more like a freemium game that pushes gamers towards purchasing more coins via IAP in order to score big, which, let’s face it, is what MAMC is all about. It’s incredibly sad to see such an outstanding developer like PikPok take this direction, but hopefully their next game won’t follow suit. For $0.99, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the original, and would like to see what new condos and boosters can add to the gameplay. There is a certain amount of strategy in choose which boosters to play with, depending on how you play the game, and yes, there is a set of boosters here for everyone. Being Universal and including seamless iCloud support make Super MAMC even easier to recommend, but it’s still very hard to look past the fact that gamers can basically purchase their way onto the leaderboards. If the Time-Limit Mode in the original and lite versions of MAMC is something you enjoy quite a bit, Super MAMC will probably be right up your ally. But if having extremely expensive permanent boosters which you could turn on or off, and a separate leaderboard for gamers who don’t use boosters were included in this sequel, it would have been a must own game for everyone. 


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