Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
A child, paralyzed by fear and armed with only a flashlight, holds off doom as long as they can against the endless encroaching monstrous hordes - but it’s futile. When described like that, Monster Flash sounds like a lavish, AAA survival-horror game instead of a mobile arcade-shooter. But while playing it, players will be surprised to find that those two things don’t have to be so different when it comes to quality.
Monster Flash plays sort of like a scrolling shoot-em-up where instead of players guiding their character to blast enemies, the avatar remains fixed while enemies come to them. In this case, targets include all manner of spooks and specters like evil pumpkins and Frankenstein's monsters. To survive the night, players rotate themselves to point their everlasting flashlight at foes. Tiny enemies vanish the instant they get hit, but larger opponents can soak up more damage before succumbing.
The various sizes of each abomination are where the game draws most of its tension from. Obviously it’s important to take care of the most pressing threats, the fastest and weakest monsters. But players must also remember to deal with the slower but larger and stronger opponents looming in the background before it’s too late and they get overwhelmed. Later on, the game starts introducing enemies with other quirks like vampire bats that split apart upon death. Dividing one’s limited attention span becomes like spinning plates, and it’s stressful yet fun like the restricted ammo of, say, Resident Evil.
But effective horror also needs effective presentation. Fortunately, with its spooky monster designs and dark but still kid-friendly atmosphere, Monster Flash does a great job at luring players into its tiny world of terror - even if it is unfortunately unchanging. The lighting is especially impressive, which makes sense given the importance of the flashlight. Glowing eyes slowly emerge from a blanket of shadows, lightning bolts briefly illuminate the graveyard, and a barrier of red flares briefly keeps the ghouls at bay after players collect the power-up. But the most entertaining visuals are the various off-brand character skins players unlock like “Gus Buster,” “Louie G.” and “Ruby Roo.”
Monster Flash is a well-crafted little piece of Halloween fun for your mobile device. Come from the high scares, stay for the high scores.