|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Beenox||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 24, 2009||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|
Though a few of the Wii add-ons are a bit superfluous, this is one of those rare cases where the Wii version comes out on top. Certain segments during The Missing Link levels call for you to weaken turrets and then hop onto them using the Z button. Youll then need to waggle the remote sideways in order to weaken them further, and then gesture downwards to execute a finishing move. Stringing this combo together is very satisfying, and the whole process takes only a short time. There are a host of other context-sensitive motion gestures that are simple and really add to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Perhaps the games greatest asset is its presentation. As you play through each level, youll gain DNA points based on a multiplier system. You can then spend those points in the laboratory to unlock a bunch of cool items. Its the way in which its all doled out, however, that really adds to the games appeal.
Youll first have to unlock DNA strands by playing through levels. You then purchase artwork and challenges with the points earned from gameplay. Those items are linked to additional strands, and youll need to earn medals within the challenges in order to unlock upgrades for your characters. The game gives you more than enough points per level to buy whatever you like, but youll still have to do well in challenges in order to get at everything the game has to offer. This is an especially cool system, since the challenges are generally made up of the best elements of various adventure levels.
Though the menu system is really slick and the overall presentation has a nice polish to it, the in-game graphics dont do the greatest job of utilizing what power the Wii / PS2 has to offer. Youll see plenty of shimmer and a bit of screen-tearing, as well as some seriously poor animation here and there. Environments are very low-poly, though character models exhibit a nice level of detail. None of this affects the gameplay, however, and when running through levels, Monsters vs. Aliens has a playful style that greatly matches the kid-friendly formula its obviously going for.
Though the games visuals fall a bit short, the aural elements in Monsters vs. Aliens are tight and well-integrated. The voice acting is on par with the movie, and the music works as a great backdrop to the action. Certain lines are repeated when exploring the laboratory, but overall, the games presentation is impressive for any title, let alone a title based on a movie.
If youve got a youngster who really took a shine to the movie, then we wholeheartedly recommend this game as a way to extend the experience. It offers a unique perspective from what youll see in theaters, as well as a quality gaming package overall. The adventure is a bit short and the camera system is guilty of a few minor issues, but in terms of movie-to-video-game crossovers, Monsters vs. Aliens is a rare commodity in a sea of throwaway games churned out to accompany the latest movie sensation. The story mode and achievements are tied together in a very intelligent manner, and the level of challenge is almost pitch-perfect for budding gamers. Alternate paths through levels, as well as points goals not to mention great level design are ample incentive to replay missions.
CCC Freelance Writer