Monday, January 30, 2012

Game Review: Monster Bark

Back when my family got its first computer, there were a few different games and other progams that came with it. (That was a thing, back then. Man, how times have changed.) My favorite was probably Star Crusader, mainly because I loved flying around in space, but there was another one that I played quite a bit, at least until the computer suffered from a serious bug and my unfortunate mother probably deleted it somehow. (That's still one of the strangest things a computer's ever done to or around me.) Anyway, said game, Chip's Challenge, was a puzzle game where you controlled a fairly helpless character in a top-down maze scenario in an arena full of monsters, obstacles and puzzle pieces that you had to avoid and solve.

Monster Bark is a fun game with a twist on that concept.

Now, having more than one controllable character isn't that new. What's fresh here is that each character has very distinct and unique abilities, at least compared to any puzzle games of this nature that I've played.

The dog can momentarily stun monsters by barking, is small enough to move through certain obstacles, and is able to move quickly enough to avoid most of them most of the time.

The tough kid can jump over obstacles and push blocks (which can be used to activate switches).

The scaredycat girl (if you read the title text, you saw me mention stereotypes) is quiet enough to avoid being noticed by sleeping monsters and can scream continuously and indefinitely to stun any monster (or activate a special kind of switch).

The heavy kid (sigh) can sit on switches to activate them or roll into a ball to smash a certain kind of non-movable block.

The nerdy kid (groan) is skinny enough to move through certain obstacles (which, incidentally, can't be crossed by the dog) and can also activate a certain kind of switch (which, incidentally, is represented by him handling a pair of broken wires-I don't think this game has good role models).

Anyway, you have to switch control of the kids and use their abilities in specific order to solve most of the puzzles; there's a few puzzles where you can bypass steps that you were clearly intended to take, though.

All in all, it's a refreshing (but short) game, and the ending movie is kind of cute. I can recommend playing it through at least once.

-Signing off.

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