The thing about working in factories is that anything can go wrong, often with disastrous consequences: you could seal a tin of Heinz Baked Beans with only 348 beans inside instead of 349, you could accidentally leave the top off a Bic pen, halting the world’s entire supply of writing instruments, or as happens to Yuri, star of ‘Monster Meltdown’, you could release a horde of flesh-eating beasts into the surrounding neighbourhood, blow up the factory and have to round them up again at your own expense. I would imagine something like this would occur regularly at the factory where Cadbury’s chocolate is made for example.
So after donning a hazmat suit, Yuri attempts to round up all the monsters in this physics puzzler. The aim is to guide each monster into the goal placed somewhere in each level. The monsters toddle round each level like small children making adorable little noises, almost making you believe that if you touched them you wouldn’t evaporate.
So basically you can’t go near them otherwise you’re kaput. This does beg the question what the point of the hazmat suit actually is if it’s going to offer you as much protection as a packet of jelly, but I’ll refrain from delving into plot holes.
However the suit does bizarrely give Yuri the ability to teleport – although not to the areas marked as shadow which change each time you jump through space by tapping the area you want to move to – as well as tapping on the monster itself to swap places with it. So it’s with this ability that you must manipulate your way around each level and direct each critter to the goal.
It’s a mechanic so simple and addictive that you’ll wonder why nobody’s thought of it before. When some of the more challenging levels appear that include radioactive orbs to collect, a limit on the number of teleports combined with the ever-present conundrum of shadows, it feels extremely satisfying to both work out what you have to do (not always easy), and pull it off with a combo of teleports and switches to get the monster where you want it to go.
In fact, there are so many different rules to learn that by the time you progress deep into the game, you’ll have forgotten that you can teleport into a gas cloud, but not while collecting orbs if the monster changes direction while avoiding two shadows on the left side of the screen while hanging upside down from a floating platform. On a Tuesday. It takes 14 levels for the game to start without throwing another new wrinkle your way.
‘Monster Meltdown’ is a fantastic looking game with a great UI which features clean lines, no clutter and a theme of changing the film in an old projector when you select different options. The game screen flickers ever so slightly like an old monitor too. It’s the little touches that count.
And the music is superb also – the title is a jaunty tune befitting small cobbled streets of semi-rural France…or Russia or somewhere. Do they have small cobbled semi-rural streets in Russia? I don’t know, I’ve never been to Russia. Mind you, I’ve never been to France either.*
Overall it’s a simple, fun and addictive package. No iAP, no complications, and impressive in the looks and sound department. Plays a good game too. With his monster corralling antics, Yuri should be up for employee of the month. That’s if he doesn’t get fired for letting them out in the first place.
Melt on down to Twitter and follow Kevin @KevThePen
* I have been to France, actually.