I’ve been writing for AndroidShock for several months now. Up until a few days ago the detractors had only come out of the woodwork once, chiming in to tell me my opinion of Ravensword: Shadowlands was wrong. That changed when my A Thug In Time review drew some angry commentary. Though I won’t get into the details – even I’m not conceited enough to think you all want to read the details of my lame Internet squabbles – my recent experience with Monster Shooter 2 proves a critical point from the paragraphs-long missive I posted in response to my anonymous hater’s criticism: While I’m capable of making mistakes, if I don’t like a game, there’s a pretty decent chance it’s not because I did something wrong.
My intent isn’t to brag about an online argument here. Nor is it to continue that argument in a format where I’m pretty much guaranteed the last word. Instead, I want you to download both games (conveniently linked here and here), play each long enough to get a good feel for what you think of it, and shake your head in disbelief when you realize that, though the apps happen to be in the same genre, there’s no comparing the two. Monster Shooter 2 is clearly, objectively the better game. From a more subjective standpoint, I’m willing to say it’s the best top-down shoot-em-up of its kind available on the Play Store. High praise, perhaps, but it isn’t undeserved – and if you’ll be so kind as to continue reading, I’ll show you I even have reasons behind my opinion! Aren’t you excited?
You’ve Done This Before
At this point it’s fair to assume most everyone reading this has some experience with the type of game we’re looking at here. For a newcomer to stand out it doesn’t need to, like, redefine the shoot-em-up as we know it – I’m of the opinion that every title on the Play Store is copied from one of ten or so previously successful ideas – but it absolutely must get the basics right. Monster Shooter 2 more than succeeds at that. Controls, graphics, enemy and level variety… anything a game needs to succeed, this one has it in spades.
Look at the ads, for instance. The game presents you with one bit of advertising I’d consider invasive (a full-screener right after the title screen), then relegates the rest to a contained menu in which various companies offer you in-game currency to complete tasks like downloading apps or filling out surveys. I can deal with a single annoying ad. In fact, I can probably handle upwards of five before getting irritated, judging by how fast it takes games with bad schemes to get under my skin.
The art department at Gamelion Studios needs a raise immediately. I don’t care what they’re making. They need more. I say this confidently without knowing a thing about their compensation plan because this game is absolutely gorgeous. The visuals are a perfect marriage of technical power and creative art design, with cel-shaded 3D imagery so bright and vibrant it seriously looks like a cartoon has come to life on the screen. On two separate occasions someone in my house walked by while I was playing, stopped, and turned to ask me what that game was… a pretty high mark of praise from people who leave the room when they see me coming so I won’t bore them to death demoing whatever I’m playing at the time.
The Guns… Oh, the Guns
Some games have a huge number of uninspired guns. Others have smaller, more creative murder solutions. Gamelion’s 16-gun arsenal qualifies for both, and that’s before considering the insanely fun mech suit, which bumps the count up to 17 if you consider it a “gun” as well. On the creative end, weapons like the Nailer, whose sharp spikes erupt from the ground in a strip and mutilate any alien invader unlucky enough to stand above them, make it easy to get caught in a vicious “one more level” cycle as you save for the next unlock on the list.
Handles Like Allen Iverson
Controls can break an otherwise awesome game if the developer bungles them too badly. These, on the other hand, could make a mediocre game – A Thug In Time, for instance – quite a bit better. Once I got the hang of the two-button scheme mowing through hordes of enemies made me feel like an Olympic-ice-skater-turned-assassin in a really bad 90’s action flick. I especially like the way the game has you choose between the two weapons you bring into battle… instead of pulling up a menu or otherwise interrupting gameplay, swiping your thumb above the power button lets you switch things up without breaking out of your flow.
A Premium Game at a Freemium Price
I could write a review three times this length and still not cover everything this game has to offer. Since I’d get paid the same amount either way that obviously isn’t happening. If you’re a tightwad like me, Monster Shooter 2’s zero-dollar price tag and blockbuster gameplay will undoubtedly have you shrieking with glee. Okay, I get a little too worked up about games. Whatever. It’s so good I would have gladly spent money to further the gameplay…. but so fun I chose to grind my way through the game to earn my cash instead. Compared to a certain game about a criminal who became unstuck in time, which cost nothing and left me feeling like someone should have paid me to play it, I think it’s pretty obvious why some games get bad reviews and others don’t. Not that I’m referencing a specific event or anything, of course. That’d just be petty.