Ever wonder what would happen if Katamari Damacy and Pikmin got together and created an unholy love child? If the answer is yes, you might be interested in the recent Wii-Ware release A Monsteca Corral: Monsters vs. Robots.
Monsters vs. Robots is the kind of game that leave players wondering what kind of psychoactive hallucinogen inspired developer Onteca to create this title. After an army of robots invades a planet inhabited by creatures called Stompies, it is up to you to gather the herd, fend off the robots, and gather natural gas. Gas bubbles are fed to an enormous Astromaggot so that its body will dramatically increase in size and float away releasing strands of silk carrying the monsters to safety.
It sounds a lot like something from an acid trip. But is this bizarre RTS any good? Find out after the jump.
At the beginning of a level the player controls of a single monster. Gathering the monsters into a herd is the key to success. The herd must then collect bubbles of natural gas necessary to feed a monstrous worm called the Astromaggot. When fed, the Astromaggot will dramatically increase in size until it begins to float away. To complete a level the monsters must latch onto the floating larvae before it leaves the stage.
The larger the herd, the stronger the monster army will be. This makes it easier to fend off robots and gather larger amounts of gas. In the early stages it is easy to overpower enemies and destroy their natural gas rich structures. This approach becomes more problematic in later stages when suicide bombers called Imposter Bots hang out near enemy structures just waiting to ruin your day. Stealthy players will use the terrain to their advantage. Mountains and bodies of water are perfect for eluding robot patrols.
With new controls and enemies emerging throughout the game Monsters vs. Robots gradually becomes more complex as the game wears on. Eventually the player can break the herd into multiple units and draw specific paths for the herd to follow (as opposed to setting waypoints). While good ideas, these features do not work terribly well in execution.
While the Nunchuck allows players to zoom in and out and adjust the camera angle, this doesn’t always work properly. Not only is this frustrating, but it can be game breaking when Imposter Bots are on your tail and are allowed to take out half your herd in a kamikaze attack due to camera malfunction.
Another major issue is the jump controls. Jumping is assigned to a flick of the Wii-remote and there are no options to map this to a button, much less customize any aspect of the controls. This motion controlled jump is either extremely fastidious or just plain broken. Attempt to jump forwards and more than likely your monster herd will leap backwards or to the side.
While the jump controls are rarely necessary during a level, the one instance in which they must be used can be game breaking. When attempting to board an Astromaggot, a successful jump could mean the difference between just finishing the level and earning the achievement of rescuing all the monsters. While most games’ achievements are little more than useless trophies, in Monsters vs. Robots they help you unlock levels. Finishing a level seconds after the par time expires, or having a couple monsters fail to board the Astromaggot can be incredibly frustrating.
Another point of contention will be the game’s graphics. Visually, Monsters vs. Robots is particularly simplistic. While colourful and charming, it is rough around the edges – even by Wii standards. The game is visually reminiscent of Keita Takahashi’s Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy, something that will surely polarize audiences. Take that for what you will, but I found them quite amiable.
With A Monsteca Corral: Monsters vs. Robots, Onteca has provided Wii owners with an interesting take on the RTS genre, in the same vein as Pikmin or Little King’s Story, which dabbles in stealth. With a simplistic art direction and a relaxing soundtrack, the game has a charming aesthetic, but certainly isn’t for everyone. The game has a number of problems stemming from control and camera issues that keep the game from fulfilling on its potential. Monsters vs. Robots is a (mostly) fun game held back by frustrating design flaws, but at a mere 500 Wii points it is recommended to fans of the genre and anyone willing to delve into a bizarre and psychedelic world.
While colourful and charming, it is rough around the edges – even by Wii standards. The game is visually reminiscent of Keita Takahashi’s Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy, something that will surely polarize audiences.
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An interesting, fun and simplistic take on the console RTS genre that suffers from camera and control issues.
The soundtrack is mellow and relaxing. Unfortunately, it is the same in every level. It seems the developer acknowledges this, as one of the only options in the game is the one to turn the soundtrack off.
The game is several hours in duration and each mission can be replayed to fulfill additional achievements. A bare-bones multiplayer mode is also included.
Monsters vs. Robots is a (mostly) fun game held back by frustrating design flaws, but at a mere 500 Wii points it is recommended to fans of the genre and anyone willing to delve into a bizarre and psychedelic world.