Jun 27, 2014
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a Kickstarted puzzle collaboration between SleepNinja Games and Cartoon Network The game is self-described as being like Legend of Zelda, and that specific description is apt. The 2D stylings are whimsically implemented, with cutscenes and dialog boxes used to move the gameplay along. The intro action kind of plods along, but as soon as one gets through that, the backstory catapults us into the digital quest. Our protagonist is a young boy named Niko, who, upon wanting to experience the renown glory of cake for breakfast on his birthday, finds that his cake has been stolen by the Boogin King and his cohorts in a fit of “cakelust.”
Accompanied by his trusty canine companion, Niko looks to save all treats by looking to best the Boogin King. In practice, this is done by solving puzzles presented in the leveled series. It starts off simple enough to highlight the controls: tapping and dragging to guide the movement of our hero.
The first few levels introduce the top-down view and the escalating mind-benders, most of which involve getting from point A to B. B is usually a piece of cake and/or some coinage. In between both points is an obstacle or two… a river, spikes, etc. The spikes are generally controllable by pressure plates, but the trick is to keep constant pressure to keep them down. To do this, the random block structures come in handy, as they can be pushed or pulled over the pressure plate. Then, the cake piece (and other goodies can be retrieved, and the level is completed.
As the game goes on, more elements are added, like helper monsters and timed levels. There’s plenty of stuff to unlock (including costumes) and fantasy lands to explore. It comes together nicely without being cheesy, and is familiar without being overdone; the game flows well in most parts, and escalates naturally. The puzzles do feel somewhat formulaic at times, and the intro dialogue somewhat bogs down the gameplay at the beginning, though. I did enjoy the simple graphics, as they lend a bit of charm to the overall atmosphere. I also think that while the control mechanism can be stubborn in places, it is far from unusable.
It’s a fun experience, with several elements to enjoy in chunks or small morsels.