|System: Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Backbone Vancouver||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Following every battle, you are given the option to perform field repairs, which can be used to reattach lost parts or fix damaged ones. While this is definitely a necessity if you wish to proceed through multiple fights, it can also become incredibly annoying and monotonous. The reason for this is that you cant just select a part and choose to repair it. Instead, youll need to replay the same mind numbing mini-game countless times to heal your monster. While holding the analog stick in the direction of the part that needs repaired, youll need to spin the Wii-mote in circles as quickly as possible to mend them. You are also timed, so if you cant swirl the Wii-mote fast enough, you will be at a serious disadvantage during your next encounter. This was an unnecessary and tedious procedure that should have been made much quicker and simpler to perform.
Aside from the games great collecting, creating, and combat aspects, the rest of the game mostly boils down to a compilation of fetch quests. As you navigate through the games linear environments, youll discover several of Uncanny Valleys citizens who are in constant need of your help. This usually consists of finding a number of random items in the level or defeating a specific enemy. While this type of story and game progression isnt terribly compelling, it does serve as both a needed distraction as well as a good excuse for more of Monster Labs rewarding combat.
This game also manages to impress visually. Aside from its fairly sterile environments, Monster Lab is host to some great-looking monsters, high quality cinemas, and impressive lighting and particle effects. While you will undoubtedly see repeat animations, they are still rather smooth and realistic-looking. Attacks are especially cinematic, with the camera panning and entering into slow motion to highlight particularly devastating blows. Even the sound in the game is well-polished, with every line of dialogue receiving voice work.
Despite some of its shortcomings, Monster Lab provides an enjoyable experience overall. Collecting and combining ingredients to make better monster parts is not only essential to progression, it is also fun and incredibly addictive. The games combat is fairly simple to get the hang of but incredibly deep and saturated with interesting strategy elements. So, if you are into strategy, depth, polished visuals, and a lengthy experience not typically found in most Wii titles, you should definitely give Monster Lab a try.
CCC Staff Contributor