Feb 23, 2016
Dispatching monsters with extreme prejudice almost never gets old, and that’s probably why Monster Smash Squad starts off well. Nobody — no one — ever complains about shooting monsters.
It has a zany look, with deliberate characterizations and fun music and sound effects. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that works for it, with darkish colors that pay homage to its undead storyline.
The game concept is simple enough to understand, but enjoyably less easy to master; the core goal is to take out bad creatures, and to do so with as little ammunition as possible. One, in the persona of our game protagonist, usually “enters” a level from the left and beholds one or more creepies stationed. The players job is to take them out.
The key trick is in the shooting mechanism. In this one, the players touches the screen and activates a virtual bullseye. Said bullseye can be moved around, as long as one does not lift one’s finger off the screen, as doing so causes the gun to fire. Now, there is a limited amount of bullets, but the bullets have one valuable gimmick: they ricochet a set number of times. So, if one uses angles just right, it is quite possible to take out more than one monster with a shot.
The gun-fu thingie has other uses. The game is leveled, and as one goes further, the game unfolds like a puzzle with increasing difficulty. Soon, it’s nigh impossible to get a direct shot on a monster, so one will have to bounce one of a wall or the ceiling to get it to the intended target.
Getting all the targets allows one to open the subsequent level; being able to do so with a prescribed number — remember, less is better — allows one to be awarded stars, like Angry Birds; three stars is the best. Failed levels (or levels that were completed with less than three stars) can be re-attempted.
It all comes together fairly well. The physics aspect is a nice addition in that it is fairly intuitive, and allows for different solutions to be tried by overachievers. It isn’t overly gory either, so the game can be enjoyed across the board. Still, the shooting mechanism could probably use more sight lines, and more boosts could be earned.
It’s easy to like the game, as the good all but annihilates any supposed negatives, and as a free game, it’s tough to argue against a look.
Go ahead. You’d be killing baddies after all.