Developer: GameMill Entertainment
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Upon hearing the name Monster Jam, one would be forgiven for thinking it sounds like some form of ghastly fruit preserve or a ghoulish jam-rock music game, as I admittedly did. Unfortunately for some (me), we’re strictly talking monster trucks here. Monster Jam is THE monster truck circuit in America, and in anticipation of this years event the official game has arrived onto the App Store. But it is any good?

20140211-003938.jpgThere are 4 modes to choose from including Freestyle, Racing, Tow Test, and Hill Jump Race. While pulling a space shuttle along a track in Tow Test is fun just the once, the side-scrolling Hill Jump Race is a blast. Ripping through houses and backyards before hitting the rocket boosters and launching off a ramp is definitely the most fun to be had in Monster Jam. Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends.

The traditional racing found in Freestyle and Racing modes both suffer from some serious control issues. These stem from a combination of woefully sluggish tilt controls and the clumsy slider that controls the speed. It feels unnatural and consistently frustrating. A tune-up, or at least a few alternative control layouts involving actual (virtual) buttons, would improve the quality of the gameplay tenfold in my opinion. While the graphics in certain modes and environments are particularly detailed and satisfying to behold, there were multiple cases of the frame rate dropping on my iPad mini Retina, which lead to some stuttered gameplay. And with such a limited amount of levels available, Monster Jam doesn’t hold much in the way of longevity either.

20140211-004022.jpgMonster Jam can be okay in small bursts, but frame rate issues and messy controls reduce its playability and therefore its overall appeal. In fact, I hardly noticed the fuel system at work here because I literally never emptied it. While it may serve as a bit of warm-up to the upcoming special event, it’ll no doubt leave most people feeling cold.


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