Monsters vs. Aliens Review

In the beginning there was nothing. Or at least a so-called “Good Book” would have you believe. However, outside of our consciousness there was life in other forms in other places. So sayeth statistics! Not to mention several books, movies, and, of course, video games.


Their technology would be more advanced if only based on the premise that they would have more time to work on it. Their physiology might have forced them to adapt to much harsher circumstances than we could imagine. They might have to be super strong, or have a bright shell to deflect the searing Suns of Gargarabi, or be super-intelligent to outsmart the thuggery displayed by those previous two warmongers.


With all this Chaos in the Cosmos (note to self: title of next book) (Ed note: title is taken) how would we puny, self-indulgent, shell-less, soft, monkey’s uncles defend ourselves? Well, the answer is simple: we wouldn’t. No no no, why — nay — HOW could we do that when there are plenty of freaks to throw at them?

The graphics work well.  I never had any issues with frame rate, or glitching, or any of that. The parameters of the almighty Wii are well documented and they stayed right on track. The in-game movement and mannerisms are accurate and don’t cause any sort of distress to the players. It’s, umm, believable.


The main reason why this is done so well is because there’s not much to cover. We’ll get into it more, but the game is pretty much on rails so there wasn’t a lot of time or space wasted on artwork you’ll never see. So what you do see is a clear picture of what’s coming up, and still there is no massive attention to details. Walls are pretty flat, roads are the usual grainy-grey, and the sky is mostly featureless.


The cut scenes are mostly a tedious interruption since they actually have to stop the action to show them. Other games have done much more so we have to keep this score at a pedestrian level.

The sounds of the game are hit and miss. You’d hardly recognize the attempt to portray Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Cockroach — but in fairness, you’d hardly recognize his voice in the movie either. The voice behind B.O.B. does a fair Seth Rogen though. But there are moments when the voice acting doesn’t fit the level of excitement or drama since one can only do so much with the same tiny sample of voice with which to work. Overall we are left wanting.


Near the end of the game there are disjointed issues where the voice comes before the action, or late in others. At one point, the soundtrack was a good 30 seconds off the live action. It feels rushed and I was distracted by it even if my kids weren’t.

The controls could hardly be simpler. Most of the action is on a narrow track so there’s no hopping or dancing or flailing about like a good Wii time. You use the Nunchuk’s thumb stick to move a half-inch left or right in the chase scenes, or to wander around the mazes. It can be quite sensitive and this led to frustration with leading BOB off the sidewalks of a few mazes he encounters. There’s the A button to jump and double-jump, the trigger to put your shoulder into it, and Z on the ‘chuk for ducking (or the D-pad was found to work).


The system is very easy presumably since the game is targeted for the ~10 year old crowd. Aside from the touchy thumb stick action and the wrist-cracking wagging for special scenes where one has to lift a wall or grab a robot or something. Let your kids do those parts unless you hate your wrists*.

So, given the capacity issues of the platform, and the lack of imagination to copy a movie, one knows the game play will be fairly straight-forward. The kids and I beat the game in maybe 6 hours total. The level of difficulty is minor even as the complexity pretends to ratchet itself up by adding all sorts of unnecessary layers.


Then again I’m not sure what movie they copied. I think they received an advance copy of the script and started writing/designing like crazy only to find out some months later — and too close to a deadline — that it was totally re-written. This might explain the rushed feeling at the end. That the game follows a completely different path from the movie is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. They got the characters right. Why worry about what story they’re in?


None of that really bothered me. The tedium of the same 5 patterns repeated throughout the game bothered me. Whether it’s Susan’s skating, BOB’s swallowing people and/or objects, or The Missing Link’s homage to Hulk Smash it was done over and over and over.


There was some bonus added in the form in the DNA lab. As you progressed you accumulated samples. Those could be turned in for bonus material. There was extra feature material for more cut scenes, photos from the movie, and a vast assortment of mini-games. These add some extra play-time, but weren’t anything really exciting.

The game is short, an alternate timeline of sorts of the movie, and provides a scant few tidbits regarding the movie or the game via the DNA lab features. Thus, it isn’t high value. It will keep the young ones busy for a while, but it will also give them a lot of auditory ammo to drive you crazy while they re-enact parts of the game. That’s the main problem with such a small library of sound effects in the game.



Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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