Monsters are generally known to be scary, disfigured beasts who relentlessly kill anything in their path. In MonsterKill, they are adorable in a creepy kind of way. What did frighten us was the game’s unnerving difficulty due to unbalanced gameplay.
Castle Defense games are usually played from a side view. In this game the genre has taken a 90-degree rotation to an angled top-down style. Also different is the way you fend off foes. Instead of flicking them away, you must make onscreen gestures to cast four different spells: cut, lightning, path-blocking ice, and fireballs.
Drawing spells starts out fun, but due to frequent misinterpretations from the game, you will often end up frustrated. For example, there were many times where we drew a lightning bolt but ended up with an ice block (created by making a V) instead. Also, there isn’t much variation to the spells. The main tactic through the entire game ends up being cut mummies and electrify everything else, with the occasional slab of ice or fireball.
Electric demons in love.
There are four enemies to blast away. The mummy is your basic monster, being blown away instantly by any attack but arriving in hordes. Vampires can only be killed by lighting, while shocking a werewolf gives it an energy boost and makes it dash to the gates. Frankenstein moves slowly but must be hit multiple times (twice by lightning) to be killed. Each of them shares one trait, though: silly animations. These are not your typical evil monsters: they will even do the monster mash as they smash the gates.
All of this may sound appealing, but the unfortunate truth is that MonsterKill is maddeningly unbalanced. Once you get past the first level, the difficulty skyrockets. Monsters will arrive in swarms, and your magic meter quickly empties, leaving you helpless for precious seconds before slightly rising again.
After beating a level, you are awarded one token and some money. Your hard earned dollars won’t go far, however. A wall repair of just 10 points, which is not a lot in this game, will run you $20. At the same time, you can buy wall upgrades for $200 and up. There is never enough money being earned to keep up with these expensive spending habits, and there are no free repairs between levels. You will often need to grind money by repeatedly attempting, and failing, stages.
Shock the mummy.
Tokens are the second currency at MonsterKill’s shop. You earn one each level, and these can be used to enhance spells or boost your magic regeneration rate. You can move them around at your will, so trying new combinations can prove helpful at times. But, much like money, the cost of upgrade is much steeper than your income. Plus, not putting the majority of points in regeneration means the game is virtually impossible.
Even the spells are not balanced. You can generally get by with using only lightning strikes. In fact, this is the only easy tactic to success. When overwhelming amounts of enemies lunge for the barrier, most of which are most heavily affected by electricity, there is no reason not to use this area of effect spell.
The game includes three modes: Normal (20 levels), Endless (keep playing until you die), and Onslaught (kill 101 monsters without any barrier). None of them gave the game much variation, though. MonsterKill includes OpenFeint and all the features it brings, but most of the achievements are virtually impossible to earn.
In theory, MonsterKill is a cool concept. It was the poor execution and unbalanced gameplay that really got to us. We think your money would be better spent on other castle defense games instead.