Pendulo have done it again.
The gaming world has moved on from the traditional point and click adventure game. With the upswing of Telltale’s Walking Dead series, the more old-school Monkey Island style games have been branded as the problem to which The Walking Dead was the solution. Some gamers, though, still have room in their hearts for combining inventory items, and for hunting through every nook and cranny of a game’s world until each puzzle is solved and the game can progress.
In truth, these mechanics can grow tiresome and feel pointless. Pendulo Studio’s solution has been to give meaning to each interaction. By filling a point and click adventure game with a rich story within an interesting world, it is exciting to squeeze every last drop of content out of the game. Hollywood Monsters is one such adventure game.
My first experience with a Pendulo Studios game was Yesterday, a dark adventure for the iPhone and iPad. I lauded the game for its interface, hint system, writing, and story. With the release of Hollywood Monsters, I knew I was in for something thematically different, but I was happy to see that Pendulo have only raised the bar for their iOS adventure game ports.
Hollywood Monsters reminds me of Pixar’s Monsters Inc. You play as a pair of reporters who delve into a mystery surrounding the horror film industry, in which the actors are honest to goodness real monsters. This isn’t a dark, troubling mystery. Rather, I was constantly amused with the game’s humor and witty writing. I was surprised to see that the developers were able to successfully make one of the main player characters mentally unsound, and have the player actually participate in the character’s insanity. The entire cast of characters is fun, and the game’s particular style of humor hit all of the right notes for me. As is the case with most adventure games, I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone.
As I mentioned before, you will be asked to dig through the environment and use items to solve single-solution puzzles. I found myself stumped with a few puzzles, but the game contains a hint system that will at first provide you with a little nudge, and eventually give you a push to the solution. Most of the puzzles were logical, if not a little silly. The interface is mostly what you would expect, with some nice little touches, such as not having to wait for your character to complete a full walking animation to cross the screen. The game has a respect for the player’s time, and doesn’t risk boring the player with frustrating puzzle elements.
The writing within Hollywood Monsters is top-notch, as is the voice acting through which it is delivered. The game is also visually appealing, and I can’t say enough about the animation.
If you started off your career in adventure gaming with the Walking Dead it may do you some good to experience this finely crafted take on the traditional adventure gaming formula. I sincerely hope that Pendulo Studios is around for a long time to come, and that they keep bringing these short but thrilling adventure titles to iOS.
Hollywood Monsters is available for the introductory price of $4.99 as a Universal App.