Puppets are on the loose, and it’s up to a lowly amusement park janitor to keep them at bay. Isn’t that always the way? NuOxygen’s tap-and-slash adventure Monster of Puppets (a clever play on words, if we may say so) follows janitor Charlie on his journey to keep the puppets in each booth at the amusement park from wreaking havoc upon the unsuspecting public– all because a wayward UFO decided it wanted to make a quick landing. It’s clear the game was meant to give Fruit Ninja a run for its money– but does it ever get off the ground?
Monster of Puppets has all the charms of a great Flash game: plenty of levels, power-ups, and stuff to shoot, mostly of monsters, as the title implies. Every Halloween cliche you can name makes a cameo appearance, rising to the top of the screen carried by ballons and other apparatus: robots, wizards, werewolves, zombies, pumpkins, and even vicious mascots. All of them need a sound beatdown, and it’s up to you to administer one.
Frankenstein, meet pharaoh.
While at first Charlie is only equipped with a broom, as you tap through each puppet, sending them hurtling to a swift death, or exploding, he can quickly make his way through the ranks, unlocking and purchasing new armaments at the in-game store. Bazookas, buzz saws, and rockets are at your disposal. You’ll spend coin earned in-game throughout your puppet-busting exploits, and it’s prudent to snap up what you can, as these puppets can fight back. In fact, that’s part of the tagline: “fruit doesn’t fight back.” Cute.
And these puppets are out for blood. Each game is fast and frantic, increasing in difficulty as you down each malevolent attacker. It quickly becomes addictive, turning into a competition with yourself and other players to see how many puppets you can annihilate and how many points you can rack up via quick-chaining combos. Collecting currency is another miniature battle, and one you’ll happily engage in if you want to take out the higher-powered foes in less time.
Ride the lightning.
The carnage is juxtaposed against the cutesy puppets themselves, rendered in 3D against patchwork backgrounds and whimsical locales. The backgrounds certainly aren’t up to par with the puppet models, but they lend a bit of a fantastical feel to the already quite silly game. Bold colors and an energetic soundtrack keep things fun and light– no matter how many puppets you’re blowing away.
It’s intuitive, simple, and accessible– all things one would expect out of any app that might fancy itself a competitor for one of the top games in the genre. And given its variety, ease of use, and relatively interesting presentation, Monster of Puppets is a formidable opponent in the same arena. With a little more aesthetic polish and new enemies (maybe a few more weapons, too) it could become a must-own app quite easily. Just make sure you keep it away from actual puppets. You never know how easily they can be swayed into revolting.