PS3 Review – Monsters Vs. Aliens

August 22, 2009 Written by Adam Wolfe

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In a season of blockbuster movies it is inevitable to get a bunch of movie tie in games. Make it a family movie and the chances of a tie in game are increased. Now enter Monsters Vs. Aliens, a Dreamworks movie following a group of misfit monsters and their fight to stop aliens bent on world domination. Oh I can hear the kids yelling for this game now. Like most movie tie in games, most barely teeter on the edge of mediocrity. So can Monsters Vs. Aliens break this mold, or is this another movie tie in game destined for the discount bin?

Like a lot of movie tie in games Monsters Vs. Aliens walks that fine line between delivering a decent story without spoiling the movies plot. Monsters Vs. Aliens really does a good job here. It opens with the Monsters upset about being confined to windowless quarters, and having to be kept a secret. By mistake they open up the main door and once it’s open they try to escape. They are eventually get caught and are sent back to their rooms where they fear they shall spend the rest of their lives.

A few days later there is an Alien invasion and the monsters are the Earth’s only line of defense. Can the Monsters fight off these crazed aliens or should they of just stayed in bed? Although this is not the greatest and most complex story it does do a good job at keeping you entertained with its comedic characters.

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The game play was quite refreshing since there is a huge lack of solid platform games this generation, and Monsters Vs. Aliens nails all the key characteristics of a good one. The characters are funny and memorable, the gameplay is enjoyable and varied and there are collectibles galore.

Throughout the game you will collect monster DNA. You will get this from killing enemies, breaking box’s and machines. Sometimes it is just laying around. You also can collect multipliers which can be used to multiply all monster DNA at the end of each level, but be careful every hit you take will decrease your multiplier by one.

Now you may be asking yourself why should I worry about the monster DNA? Well, the DNA can be used to unlock everything from concept arts, to special character commentary and upgrades. This is all done in a DNA tree which will grow with each completed level. Besides the unlockable content there are also 30 monster challenges intertwined in the DNA tree. These are generally time trials or point collectors, but can be a nice change of pace and add to the overall play time of the game.

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Throughout the game you will play as three different characters Ginormica (Susan) which is a 50 foot woman who was hit by a meteor on her wedding day. Her levels are all done on skates, well in her case they are cars, but they perform like skates. Her game play is pretty much the same throughout each level you race along a track jumping over lasers, rocks and holes ducking under lasers and generally just avoiding giant robots shooting at you. There are also the occasional quick time event, but in general the boards do tend to feel the same.

The second character you will play as is the missing link, he is a half-ape, half-sea creature. His missions play a lot more like conventional platformers,  breaking boxes destroying enemies and figuring out puzzles. All of his levels deffer a good bit, and there are even some vertical levels which will have you crawling up the sides of robots riding turrets like bucking broncos and unscrewing bolts to disarm guns.

The last playable character is Bob he is a blob like creature that can move through grates, swallow enemies and spit them back out. His game play is  some of the most enjoyable I’ve played and really shows the creator’s creativity.  Since Bob is made of goo he can walk through grated material, this also means he can fall through them as well. To get around this he will have to eat enemies and boxes in order to walk over these with no issues. This translates into some wonderfully thought out levels and creative mazes which will have you eating up and spitting out boxes to reach the end. Bob also has an additional mechanic that when he gets on a specific platform he has the ability to imitate the motion of  a turret by shooting out goo bullets and using a shield for protection. All of these features translates into some intriguing gameplay.

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There is also one other character you can access to play, but the only way you can play him is in co-op. Dr. Cockroach is an extremely intelligent cockroach that does most of the narrating throughout the game, as well as give you hints on where you need to go. Like stated above he is only accessed in co-op, although this comes off as a last second add-on. As the second player you are not actually on the screen but instead you will have a gun reticules on the screen. You can shoot enemies and when fire is held in you can deliver a crushing shot. You also can use the tractor beam, so that you can pick up enemies and throw them around. Although this is a nice way to include a second player it really does not feel like you are part of the experience and the difficulty really does not change when you add that second player.

The visuals for Monster Vs. Aliens are pretty impressive. Overall they do not take a huge hit from the movie visuals and all the characters look wonderful. The environments are decently detailed and this is even more memorable when those levels are on the side of a robot as its moving through the land.

The sound and voice overs are also extremely well done. All of the original actors do the voices to their characters. Now the one complaint about the voice overs is they definitely did not go all out on having a bunch of dialogue added in. In fact there are some areas where it gets down right annoying, but for the most parts the positives outweigh the negatives.

This game is a lot of fun, but of course there are some negatives.  One would be for Ginormica levels because the levels were very repetitive and in some instances they used the exact same layout just made the second run through harder. Also as stated above some of the dialogue gets extremely repetitive and can be quite annoying.

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Overall Monsters Vs. Aliens is an extremely enjoyable platformer, and has tapped into an under utilized genre for this gaming generation. Although it lacks a ton of replay value, it is packed with 25 story levels and 30 Monster challenges. There are also a bunch of unlockables that can make playing through some levels the second time somewhat enjoyable. In general if your craving a decent platformer this is a must rent unless you can find it around $20 – $30, but in general you will not be disappointed.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Visuals and sound are excellent

A great platformer

Dialogue can get rather repetitve

Great game for kids and adults a like

5 out of 10