Monsters vs. Aliens Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii | PS2
Monsters vs. Aliens box art
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. You’ll 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.

Monsters vs. Aliens screenshot

Perhaps the game’s greatest asset is its presentation. As you play through each level, you’ll gain DNA points based on a multiplier system. You can then spend those points in the laboratory to unlock a bunch of cool items. It’s the way in which it’s all doled out, however, that really adds to the game’s appeal.

You’ll 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 you’ll 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 you’ll 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 don’t do the greatest job of utilizing what power the Wii / PS2 has to offer. You’ll 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 it’s obviously going for.

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Though the game’s 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 game’s presentation is impressive for any title, let alone a title based on a movie.

If you’ve 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 you’ll 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.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
In-game graphics have a fun style overall but are low-poly with a few poor animations. The presentation, however, more than makes up for any graphical shortcomings.
4.2
Control
A couple of the motion gimmicks feel unnecessary, while others make the Wii version a better game overall.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The musical score is surprisingly powerful, and the voice work is on par with its movie counterpart.
3.8

Play Value
Though the actual adventure is a bit on the short side, there is a generous amount of content and it’s divvied out in such a way as to encourage multiple runs through levels. Challenges are comprised mostly of the very best portions of the game. There is a cooperative, multiplayer component, but it’s little more than a novelty of fleeting interest.

4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Save Earth as only a monster can! Gallaxhar’s alien army is invading and only your team of monsters can stop them.
  • Unleash unique monster powers. Bash, skate, and ooze your way to victory as The Missing Link, Ginormica, and B.O.B.
  • Save the Earth with your friends in cooperative multiplayer mode; a buddy can join in and blast away robots at any time as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D.


  • Screenshots / Images
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