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Quick Review: Monsters Ate My Condo

Leave it to an Adult Swim parody to revive the fading genres of the App Store, each one well exhausted from overuse. They’ve released a range of bite-sized parodies, making light of stale genres, though up until now, prior entries felt every bit as half-hearted as the games they openly mocked. Monsters Ate My Condo handles things differently, establishing itself as one of the few recent entries in the Match-3 sub-genre that tries to move things forward in any meaningful way.

Shrewdly informed by block puzzle games like Jenga, MAMC provides a stack of condos piling into the sky, surrounded on either side by destructive monsters with a hunger for color-coordinated fragments of the tilting building. Therefore, your responsibilities are threefold, as you’re given care of the tower’s balance, finding color matches, and also being held responsible for the hunger of your attackers, so they might not try and level the building all together.

Condos can be pulled out with ease and are clearly colored red, blue, yellow, or green, each with their own corresponding monster. Blocks dissolve when paired into groups of threes (or more) and form medals, which follow the same rule and can be upgraded to higher-scoring medals and finally diamonds by repeating this process. As there are only two monsters on screen per turn, you’ll have to make a match with the chosen monster’s color if you’d like them to switch out. When fed medals or diamonds, each monster also provides unique gameplay bonuses (one straightens up your tower, while another puts both on-screen monsters to sleep).

The action moves quickly and as the content’s a bit barebones – including only an Endless and Time Trial mode – the game’s thankfully pretty good about suggesting things you might’ve done better post-match, making it tempting to jump right back in for more.

MAMC has an all right look about it and the presentation follows suit, an absurd mixture of color, filled out with overstated Japanese characteristics, touching on everything from the monster designs to much of the overly-joyous background noises. It’s all a bit obnoxious by design. Some will embrace its peculiar nature, while others may find it a bit off-putting. That seems to be the intended effect.

This comes as a welcome change of pace for the now stagnant Match-3 genre and while the manic look is entirely accurate of its content, MAMC should prove welcome for anyone willing to mix things up a bit. It’s only too bad it weighs in so light on content; with some fleshing out and mode variation, this could’ve become slightly better, but it’s a step in the right direction for what these types of parodies should strive for, showing how to make a compelling game in an oversaturated genre, as opposed to releasing yet another poor one.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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