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Swipe lines to bounce your monsters to their food.
Anyone with the right tools and a little coding knowhow can probably make an iOS game without too much trouble. Literally thousands of new gaming apps flood the App Store every week -- however, the quality often varies wildly. For every Canabalt and Sword & Sworcery there are probably 50 less quality titles to spend your hard-earned $0.99 to $1.99 on.
Hungry Monsters falls into the latter category: the bastard child of Critter Crunch’s food-gobbling mechanics and the indirect control seen in Yuji Naka’s Ivy the Kiwi, it isn't as well put-together, distinct, or fun as either game. The premise is simple: small monsters are doomed to die a horrible, fiery death in a lava pit unless the would-be hand of God (you) swipe platforms for them to bounce on.
Eat enough and they'll, er, fly away.
Since the title (as well as the initial size of the monsters) implies a certain amount of malnourishment, the bulk of gameplay involves launching the critters into randomized fruit by calculating their trajectory with your trampoline platforms. The more fruit they devour, the bigger the monsters grow, until they’re launched off screen. Meanwhile, the lava slowly rises in puzzle game-like fashion, and if you let a monster fall to its doom, the levels are raised that much faster.
Don't underfeed your monster: A message from the SPCM.
That’s about as deep as the gameplay gets -- the more monsters you rescue, the faster the lava retreats to the bottom of the screen. The developers throw a few curveballs, introducing rotten fruit that makes a monster throw up whatever it’s eaten already (shrinking it), and adding new items like bombs and hot chiles into the mix, as well as environmental hazards like molten balls of rock.
Hungry Monsters’ mostly bland gameplay might be more acceptable if it weren’t so easy to screw up; fireballs and rotten food can be quashed with a quick tap, though if your monster is on death path with a lava-covered projectile -- even just a putrid banana -- the game isn’t too responsive at registering on-the-fly defensive actions. Too often this results in a monster that’s either dead or spewing its lunch. You may also wipe out a vast majority of other more palatable items. The game is also pretty tough for a casual offering. Make more than a few mistakes and you’re not going to be able to recover. That’s okay. There’s probably a lot of better things to waste your money on.
The bottom line. Hungry Monsters’ bland gameplay and frustratingly nonresponsive controls make the game much less fun than its impressive physics might have you believe.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later
Good use of impressive physics. Gameplay can be somewhat addictive in spite of itself.
Design is bland and gameplay is too challenging for a casual game. Ugly art makes it look like a basic Flash animated game. Touch controls can be frustratingly unresponsive.