Monsters University Review
Disney continues to roll out the Monsters University tie-ins to their upcoming movie. Last week saw the release of ScribbleMix, which included free Monsters content with the rest of the game. The House of Mouse has also been busy with Monsters University Storybook Deluxe and Monsters University: Catch Archie. For the latest title, Disney has taken the standalone Catch Archie game and packaged it together with another game, Toxicity Challenge, with more likely on the way.
It was a little confusing at first, considering that Catch Archie came out on its own about a month ago, but with all these different Monsters titles out there, it makes sense to consolidate them under one app, especially now that the movie is out in theaters.
Catch Archie is just what it sounds like its about — chasing down Archie the Scare Pig through campus and bringing him back. Toxicity Challenge, which is taken from an event in the movie, challenges you to race through 30 stages through the sewers beneath Monsters University. As you would imagine with a movie-tie in game that’s aimed at kids, the mini-games included in Monsters University are dead simple.
Catch Archie is basically an endless runner game, with swipe controls that will instantly be familiar to anyone who’s played a Temple Run-style game. The first character you get to play as is Mike, the go-gettin’ little eyeball voiced by Billy Crystal.
Though I should be fair and not put this game totally in the endless runner camp, since you can successfully catch Archie and thus end your round. Also, successfully nabbing the fleeing porker is the only way to progress to the next level and unlock new characters and items.
But the nuts and bolts are all pretty much the same. The easy-peasy tutorial at the start of the first level will show you how to swipe Mike left, right, up and down to get out of trouble and to collect coins. While the gameplay in Catch Archie is never all that challenging, it can be a bit wonky at times.
When you’re chasing Archie, the camera is at an odd isometric angle that can throw you off in weird ways. But after you catch the pig, the camera and gameplay will switch back to a more traditional, straight-on angle. That is also how much of Toxicity Challenge plays, with the camera following Mike and Jim from behind.
However, the camera angles are the least of this game’s worries; the bigger problem here is that it’s just kind of a snooze to begin with. While technically not the same as Catch Archie, Toxicity Challenge is pretty much the same game. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting this movie-tie in game to be crazy innovative or anything.
But I was kind of surprised at how bland everything felt, which was a bit weird, since everything looks pretty darn good since it is, after all, based on a Pixar movie. So while there are lots of nice little visual touches here and there, I didn’t think it delivered the same kind of experience as Despicable Me: Minion Rush, which also happens to be a similar movie-themed endless runner style game.
All in all, I never expect too much out of movie-tie in games to begin with. And this compendium of rag-tag Monsters University games is more or less fine. It’s perfect for young kids who want something simple and fun to mess around with after seeing the movie. But unlike the Pixar movies themselves, which parents can enjoy just as much as their young ones, the same cannot be said for this pair of games.