Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake Review: Adorableness Packaged with Zelda-like Gameplay
Calling Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake 'cute' is to give the word too much credit. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is pure adorableness packaged with a Zelda-like aesthetic, and rounded out with a good dash of cake.
Released over the next week on iOS, Android as well as PC, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake brings the simple 16-bit aesthetic to life in a fresh and fun new way. It achieves this primarily through puzzle-like gameplay with a fresh cast of interesting characters with different abilities, as well as a super cute, family-friendly story.
The game centers around Niko, whose birthday cake has been stolen by the evil Boogins
You lead Niko and a band of friendly monsters, each with their own unique ability, around a bright and colorful world collecting pieces of cake and fighting off the evil Boogins. Niko has the companionship of his faithful dog Bazooka, and a variety of new costumes that allow for different abilities.
Gameplay is a mixed bag that is focused on the different abilities of Niko and his monstrous gang. Certain monsters have the ability to freeze enemies or charge, and like a puzzle these abilities have to be used in a certain way to unlock certain challenges or cake pieces. Enemy monsters also have their own bunch of abilities that work mostly as level obstacles that characters must work around. It's a fresh and fun take that doesn't get stale. Each level has a certain amount of replayability, with different challenges that allow players to focus on different tasks every play -- from collecting all of the coins to finishing the level within a certain time limit.
Dialogue and style seems clearly focused towards a younger audience, with characters speaking in simplistic (but never too-cutesy) blurbs.
Puzzles can be a bit confusing, even for adults, and they might stump younger players.
Each character is well fleshed out from its peers, and makes it so that long talking moments don't feel drawn out.
Puzzles can be a bit confusing, even for adults, and they might stump younger players. There is one level where the ice creating ally has to create ice in a very specific way to move characters throughout the level. This is where a particularly punishing aspect of the game comes into play. If one of your characters dies -- for example getting impaled on spikes or falling into the river, the entire level appears to reset. For especially confusing levels this can be daunting and a tad annoying. In one level I kept getting barreled through by a hard to see enemy, and having to redo the level a few times before I stopped making the mistake. In the end, it wasn't annoying enough for me to put down the game, but it still felt incredibly punishing.
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake has a childlike appeal to it, but adults and kids will appreciate fun gameplay, cute characters, and solid animation.
The game is incredibly well made and has plenty of customization and challenges to encourage repeated playthroughs.
The game comes out on iOS, Google Play and Amazon today, and through Steam on July 1.