Madmonster, a combination between an endless runner and a platform game, delivers an excellent first impression. Tired of accelerating in one direction? Madmonster offers left and right action. Had enough of simply jumping for coins with a platformer? Try leaping high into the stratosphere to smash satellites and planes, that should do the trick. With such expanded and diverse game play, I thought I was in gaming heaven. Unfortunately, paradise didn't make room for this money grubbing monster.
The premise is absolutely fantastic. You're a fearsome creature with an intimidating set of teeth who simply loves to destroy everything in your path. Whether it's a soldier, a tank, a fighter plane, or even a building, everything is worth smashing. To keep the title from venturing into mindless, one dimensional action territory, each level ushers in a new set of challenges to complete. If you don't accomplish all of the objectives, you will have to restart the level. Considering most of the action is just running over things and jumping as high as you can, the replay factor is far from annoying.
One of the most important elements of Madmonster is to get your creature high in the sky so he can destroy hard to reach objects. To jump higher, he may actually have to sacrifice some of his health and leap onto exploding missiles. It's a subtle part of the game, but it's that unexpected twist of sacrificing your body for the greater good which kept me excited for Madmonster's potential. Reaching the next level actually didn't excite me as much as being in the moment and actually enjoying the game play. Whether it was obliterating the military on the ground or eviscerating objects in the air, I was having a pretty good time. What more could one ask for?
The nightmare begins with the level titled City of Meyham (yes it's actually spelled that way), in which gamers must destroy five space capsules. Even though flying high in the sky and blasting through these capsules is a hard feat that requires a bit of timing and luck, the goal itself is doable. Unfortunately, your monster's health meter starts to drop as soon as the stage begins, and you have about 40 seconds to complete the level. Of course, you can revive your monster and continue your level by purchasing elixirs at the game's in-store shop! Unless you have quicksilver coordination, elixirs will be needed to finish City of Meyham. When was the last time a main character's health meter decreased without sustaining any damage whatsoever? It can't be done, you say? Yes it can -- when in-game cash is involved.
I don't begrudge developers from making money, especially if the title starts off as a free to play experience. Madmonster costs $0.99 right off the bat, and to expect gamers to shell out dough several levels into their journey is downright asinine and insulting. It's an absolute shame, since Chillingo had a winning title on their hands. Ultimately, it's not how you start, it's how you finish, and I don't have enough dollars in my pocket to complete this cash grabbing frightmare. You have been warned.