Monster Burner, a fireball-flinging arcade game from Ubisoft, is now available from the app store. An iPad-only release with picture book appeal and simple gameplay mechanics, Monster Burner provides both a casual experience and a fun high-scoring challenge.
Monster Burner Pros:
- Beautiful storybook graphics with wide appeal
- Fun soundtrack and sound effects
- Simple flick controls are intuitive and responsive
- Gameplay improvements purchased through in-game currency
- OpenFeint integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn
Monster Burner Cons:
- Difficulty level isn’t all that challenging
- Can get repetitive quickly
Each of the dozens of levels is played in portrait orientation, sending waves of mini-monsters streaming down the screen in Asteroids-like fashion. Using your regenerating mana, you can swipe the screen to send fireballs from your fingertips, wiping out monsters that it contacts. Create combos of scorched monsters and you’ll earn big points and more mana that allows you to keep firing away. As you progress, you’ll encounter stronger monsters that can require more than one fireball to eviscerate, and the occasional princess-in-the-mix demands that you take care with your aiming, lest the charred royalty render you with one less heart. Lose all of your hearts and suffer defeat. Clear the board with some health intact and you move on to the next level, provided your scores have allowed you to earn enough fireballs (similar to 3-star rating systems) to unlock new map locations. There are also coins to earn that allow you to purchase new spells (stronger fireballs) from the shop to defeat stronger enemies that you combat later in the game. It’s not overly difficult, but earning big point totals and climbing the leaderboards requires patience and precise fireball throws.
The graphics look like they are straight out of a children’s book, a visually-pleasing aesthetic to be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. Animations are simple, and fireballs react to the speed of your swipes. This gives you the ability to swipe slowly for weaker, tailing tosses or swipe fast for meteors that ricochet around the screen a bit before disappearing. Holding your finger on-screen will create a larger fireball, but at the expense of a larger chunk of mana. Additional mana, health bonuses, coins, and point bonuses appear on-screen after destroying some monsters, requiring you to tap them to be collected. One of the best aspects is the ability to fling fireballs from any part of the screen and in any direction. Whereas most games restrict you to a specific spot at the screen bottom, you can camp at the screen top and swipe back and forth, you can take aim from an upper corner and take out monsters from behind, or any other possibility. It opens up creative avenues and makes some huge combo bonuses possible. The soundtrack has a cool medieval theme that strikes a nice balance with the gameplay.
Replay value is great, as the high-score nature always leaves the door open for improvement, and the OpenFeint leaderboard integration encourages you to keep playing and challenge the scores of others. There are also a bunch of achievements to earn along the way. At $2.99, Monster Burner is a solid 4-Dimple casual champ.
Monster Burner Review,