Monsters! by QuadraTronGames is a twin stick shooter with a twist, the more you shoot the more you are killing yourself. Unusual concept for a genre that has built a reputation for shooting everything like crazy. For those of you that don't know what a twin stick shooter is, it is a top down shooter where you move with either the left analogue stick or WASD and shoot in different directions thanks to the right stick or up, down, left and right arrows. Basically you just run around a shoot everything till the level is emptied of enemies and move onto the next level. Monsters! is a good example of this.
Through having out ammo and health being the same thing, Monsters! makes you consider your strategy for defeating a level. Where is gams gone by I would just whizz across the screen shooting everything in range, in Monsters! I carefully place shots and dash to regain health/ammo. Crashing into enemies or being hit by one of their projectiles means a loss of health/ammo. Care must be taken but not taking down enough enemies can easily lead to being overwhelmed.
When you kill an enemy it drops a coloured heart. Each one gives our magician (he looks like a magician anyway) a different power. There are six different types of hearts and six (including basic attack) powers to use. These range from a homing attack to rapid fire to a triple fire ability. Each one has its bonuses and draw back. Take the rapid fire for example, great for designating loads of enemies really fast but it uses up a lot,of your health/ammo making it a double edged sword. Collecting a new power up will overwrite the previous one, this includes picking up basic heart so you go back to your standard attack. This adds another layer of strategy worth considering, how do you balance collecting health/ammo with using the various powers available to you?
Each level consists of various waves of enemies and once they are all defeated you continue to the next and more difficult level. The next enemy wave flashes on screen where they are going to appear and they will often appear before you have really begun to clear the previous wave. This can lead to the screen feeling very cramped and you facing overwhelming odds. As you complete each level the enemies change, growing more powerful through the use of projectiles and greater numbers. The difficulty really does stack up but it leaves you wanting to try again once you die.
Monsters! has some great pixel graphics and the various enemies definitely look like monsters. Are you progress through the game the enemies change and grown more insidious looking. This combine with a stellar soundtrack results in a game that feels engaging and will kick you in the face if you go a bit too trigger happy.
Monsters! Is now fully released and was still in development when put in the Alpha Fundle Bundle by Indie Bundle. This review is for the full game and while it is a great game there are a few things I would have liked to have seen in the full release. Firstly, multiplayer. A game like Monsters! with its tense monster dodging and ammo conservation could have done brilliantly with some kind of Co-Op. Being able to shoot my way through wave after wave and level after level of baddies with a buddy would really increase the playtime and overall enjoyment of the game. Maybe something to consider in the future. Secondly, I'm not a really wanting a huge epic but a bit of context and back story about who I'm playing as and why I'm mashing my way through legions of nasties would be nice. Finally, I could not get my wired controller to work without mapping it with 3rd party software. I hardly ever actually use my wired controller for games but in occasion I do and Monsters! seemed like a good game for me to give it a go on. Apart from these fairly minor points Monsters! is a great game and addition to a genre that was in need of spicing up and Monsters! certainly provides that.
With its sick difficulty, more tactics than some strategy games and an endless horde to fight through, Monsters! is sure to keep you busy trying to beat that high score for a long time.
Score - 85/100
Game Name - Monster!
Developer - QuadraTronGames
Genre - Twin Stick Shooter
Bundle - Indie Bundle - Alpha Fundle Bundle