Monsters, Inc. Run, like the majority of Pixar-related entertainment, is a nice surprise. Movie-related games don’t have the best track record, particularly when they come out around the same time as an upcoming theatrical release. Monsters, Inc. Run, on the other hand, is a game that does not appear to have been rushed. It’s not a commercial masquerading as a game. It’s actually a clever, gorgeous platformer that rekindles our love for the world of Monsters, Inc.
For those not familiar with the Pixar film Monsters, Inc., it takes place in a world where monsters need to scare children to power their cities. While on an ordinary trip through a child’s closet, monsters Mike Wazowski and Sulley inadvertently bring the little girl Boo into their world. This game expands on a few moments near the end of the movie, when a villainous monster has kidnapped Boo and tries to escape using various magical doors, which are portals into the world of humans.
Gotta collect ’em all.
Monsters, Inc. Run has three worlds, each broken up into several levels. Each level has you taking control of Mike Wazowski and Sulley, trying to avoid obstacles and collect items before reaching the end of the level. This is a simple one-finger game. Mike and Sulley will run automatically, while you control the jumping. A simple tap anywhere on the screen causes a jump, but holding your finger on the screen longer creates a higher, longer jump.
You start as Mike Wazowski for each level. Mike is the small, quick one of the pair, but you can call in Sulley when you need some brute strength. You call in Sulley by finding a Scare Tag. These cause your characters to switch places instantly. While Mike has problems with certain blocks in each level, Sulley can run right through them. You also encounter enemy monsters in each level. Mike needs to jump on their heads to defeat them, but Sulley can brush past them without a problem.
The game also has items to help you in each level. These items can be weapons that Mike can use to destroy enemies, while others may assist in jumping or speed. Monsters, Inc. Run also has an upgrade system that uses the gold coins you collect in each level. Items can be upgraded or unlocked to improve your chances of surviving. You can even unlock new teams of monsters to play as, but these appear to be only aesthetic changes and don’t actually affect gameplay.
You get a balloon.
We were particularly impressed with the game’s level design. Rather than each level being a linear path from start to finish, Monsters, Inc. Run has many routes to travel by, and many clever obstacles to jump through. You may need to jump across several monsters to make large gaps or destroy specific blocks to get all the coins. These little moments of victory will certainly put a smile on your face.
While we wholeheartedly enjoyed this game based on a delightful Pixar film, we did come up with one unanswerable question: Who is the intended audience for this game? While based on a Pixar film, the game gets surprisingly difficult. Certain levels had us playing over and over to complete, and we wonder if children will put up with challenging bits of platforming.
On the other hand, this is a game with a colorful art style and soundtrack featuring songs from the movie. While some older players may find it nice revisit to the Monsters, Inc. world, we expect most will overlook it based on its kid-friendly exterior. If anything, this is a Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired platformer for the experienced, yet young-at-heart gamer.
Monsters, Inc. Run is a well-rounded, beautiful platformer that reminds us why Pixar is a giant in the entertainment industry. While this game doesn’t exactly bring a heaping ton of new content to the platforming genre, it does everything right. Children may enjoy it at first, but we think parents will be the ones to play deep into the night.