Hollywood Monsters is a silly little adventure that follows a couple of reporters on a journey through bizarre Egyptian worlds, lands of giants, and other fantasy motifs. It’s a point-and-click narrative that doesn’t exactly make the best use of the iOS touch controls it’s been given, and strangely, it’s a port of a Hollywood Monsters sequel. Why the strange name change? We’re not sure either. Everything about it is a little off-kilter, and while in some cases that could be a boon to a title’s success, none of that seems to really work too well here.
Liz Allaine and Dan Murray are the journalists in question who have been partnered up to tackle a particular assignment– Liz is the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, enthusiastic young talent who’s got more than a few obvious mental hang-ups, and Dan Murray’s all about sports. And drinking. And gambling. Typical archetypes aside, they’ve got to work together in order to complete their assignment, which is more than a little silly, but an enjoyable enough premise, so we won’t spoil it here.
Party like it’s 10 B.C.
Because of its premise, it’s unfortunate that Hollywood Monsters suffers from such fidgety controls. As is often the case with point-and-click adventure games on the platform, movement is an issue in itself. Tapping one specific area on-screen is the modus operandi here and it’s fine to toddle from point A to point B when you know where you need to go, but most of the time you just don’t. In fact, you’ll spend a good chunk of your time muddling through new areas and sorting through clues that may or may not be relevant to the task at hand.
While only items of importance allow you to tap on them, it’s still difficult to properly discern where and what these items are. If you find an inventory item required for advancement and tap it it, your character will walk over to it, leaving the spot they had been standing in previously. If you tap on something that ends up being a mistake or of little importance, you’ll have to get back over to where you were, slowly but surely. The game could certainly benefit from some more item discovery streamlining in that respect.
Beyond the pale.
The name of the game otherwise is puzzle-solving. Once you’ve collected items and clues you need to make them all work together, and that doesn’t always work as swimmingly as it should. A glut of Hollywood Monsters’ puzzles range from off-the-wall to the head-scratchingly confusing, and because of this it can be all too simple to get lost in a rhythm of tapping just about anywhere on-screen in an attempt to solve the quandary you find yourself in. There’s little rhyme or reason to many of the puzzles, and because of this, pushing through some of the more nonsensical situations becomes more of a chore than it should be. As a result, Hollywood Monsters transforms into a slog when it should be a charming, well-paced adventure.
Gorgeous character models, a quirky soundtrack, and likeable, frivolous objectives are definitely parts of this weird little adventure to like, but it’s just not up to the task in virtually all of the other important adventure game areas. It could do with a complete overhaul of the clue and item scouting system, or just start simple with some upgraded iOS controls. With these measures taken, it could evolve into a port that might inspire others to check out the first game… as strange as it is that the second game should be retitled and named as the first.