Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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No matter how much you tweak the formula, there are only so many ways one can make a fresh-feeling puzzle game where matching blocks disappear. Take Monster Madness HD, for example. The first thing most players will notice is the vibrant visuals and cute-yet-spooky atmosphere. But beneath the surface is a yet another fun-yet-pedestrian puzzle game.
There are two modes, but the basic gameplay remains the same. Players are presented with a stack of blocks and if more than one of the same kind of block are touching, tapping them will cause them all to vanish. The remaining blocks will then rearrange to fill the void and the process repeats until no blocks are left. In the main mode there is a monster on top of each column and the goal is to get them all to reach the bottom. Madness mode has no monsters but moves at a faster pace and punishes players whose columns pass a certain line. In both modes, more blocks spawn once no more moves are available.
Occasionally some strategy is needed, like when only a specific monster needs to reach the bottom. Also, when two moves are possible having the foresight to see which move is better helps too. However, most rounds can be blown through by hunting and pecking block clusters as fast as possible. The ticking timer just reinforces that kind of behavior. Clearing huge quantities of blocks very quickly is quite satisfying, though, even if it isn't particularly hard.
However, what's really appealing about Monster Madness HD is the style. The cartoon art is vivid, full of personality and just appealing to look at. The music and sound effects are great, too, like the crunching sound of blocks as they emerge from the graveyard. It's pretty much a puzzle game adaptation of one of those Halloween cartoon specials that should start hitting TV any day now.
As a puzzle game, Monster Madness HD has a few neat wrinkles but is largely uninspired. It's simple, responsive gameplay combined with it's strong art style will probably make it shine as a way to entertain kids in the Halloween spirit. For anyone looking to pick it up, this is the best time.