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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Monsters 2

Monsters 2 is the sequel to Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD. When Bowen learned that this was available for the PS4, he didn't hesitate to dig into his wallet to pull out the $15 to pay for it (and the DLC!). It was written by different developers while using similar concepts and developing similar ideas, but utilizing more modern technologies.

The big change is that the maps are now in 3D. This means that tikiman can jump, and coins and gems can roll down the hill rather than just staying put. That adds a significant challenge in the game, because now not only do you have to move further to pick up your coins and gems, but also the elevation of the tower affects both the damage it does and the range, as well as potentially putting obstacles in.

The other game mechanic that's different is the use of advanced towers. Those now require gems for every single purchase, rather than having to be purchased once and then unlimited purchase. This is balanced by reducing the number of gems required to purchase a tower. The tower mix means that you'll actually use advanced towers less often, with only a few overpowered ones (such as the hive tower) being obvious purchases.

The game is divided into areas of 3 similarly-themed levels, with each area locked by gathering a number of rainbows (which you gain by beating a level without losing any chibis to monsters). Each level has 3 difficulty levels, fun, tricky, and mayhem. Tricky is unlocked by completing the level at "fun" difficulty, but so far we haven't figured out how to unlock mayhem.

The game has couch-coop, which makes each level quite a bit easier, as you now have twice the number of actions to respond to the monsters, and you can break up the duties however you like, for instance with one player chasing coins while the other focuses on building and upgrading towers. This gives your hyperactive kid something to do while you worry about strategy. The game shines here, and we almost never play it except in couch co-op, and it's not nearly as frustrating as say, Overcooked, which we loved the concept of (and enjoyed the first few levels) but couldn't get good enough to finish, as that game was designed to frustrate you.

Monsters 2 is therefore a game I can recommend for parents to enjoy with their children. I wish it supported more players, but the balance is just about perfect as it is right now.

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