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Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game

Score: 73%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

As we all know quite well, licensed games are hit or miss. Sometimes they're great, but usually they are just relying on the name to bring in the money. The latest of the "movie based" games to hit the market is Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game.

The graphics are pretty good in Monsters vs. Aliens. The characters look very much like their movie counterparts. They are cartoonish in appearance, but that's to be expected since the game is based off of an animated feature. The various areas each have their own unique feel, so you don't get the feeling that you're just playing the same thing over and over again. There's not a huge variety of monsters, but that's because they are mimicking the movie monsters.

The background music is upbeat and keeps you going. Granted, you really don't need to keep the volume up, but I would recommend it since you do get actual voices with the text that you can read. I really like having people actually talk out loud, especially on a DS game. It's something that is just usually missing from DS games that I really do miss. Not only do you get the voices in the cut scenes, but you also get them during the areas. The characters make little comments or grunts based on what you're doing. It's those little things that just make a game more entertaining.


In Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game, you get to play as five different characters, all with their own unique abilities and skills. Your characters are Ginormica (originally known as Susan Murphy), the Missing Link (something like a swamp monster who's half-fish, half-humanoid), Dr. Cockroach (self explanatory), B.O.B. (a blob that can absorb things and shape-shift), and Insectosaurus (a 350 foot giant bug). Even though you choose one as an avatar when you start a new game, you will play as all five characters in the game.

Since you've got five different skill sets, really you've got five different games in one. Ginormica is mainly a fighting character, so she is mainly a platformer character who jumps from place to place and fights enemies. Missing Link is similar in that he fights and jumps, but he can also climb walls and even fight enemies while on the wall. B.O.B. also has some jumping moves, but his skills are a bit different. B.O.B. doesn't fight the enemies as much as he eats them. He can eat an enemy and then spit it back out at another enemy so that he can attack from a distance. B.O.B. can also stick to just about any surface and slip his body through grates, making him able to access seemingly hidden areas. Then there's my favorite character, Insectosaurus. His skills remind me very much of the old Rampage game. Basically, he destroys things just by walking around. He can spit to hit enemies from a distance and he can also attack giant enemies up close. Given his size, he never even sees the smaller guys. His one drawback is his speed, so you have to be careful not to run out of time. The last character, Dr. Cockroach, doesn't do any fighting. Instead, he uses his brain to solve the alien puzzles. This means that you'll have to use your brain to get past his challenges.


Depending on which character you're better with, you might find yourself just hating some because they're way too hard or way too easy. For me, Dr. Cockroach's puzzles were hard, even at the beginning. While I know the game shouldn't be too hard there, I've never been good at figuring out how to bounce things around and off of different types of objects. While I did love Insectosaurus, I felt that his areas were too easy, especially compared to the areas of the other characters.

You can't really die in Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game. Well, you can, but it doesn't really hurt. The game autosaves at the end of each area, so the worst you have to do is repeat a single area. You are given quite a bit of health though, so you shouldn't have too many problems surviving. As you progress, the game does get a little harder, as most games do. Still though, it's never so hard that you can't pass with just a little bit of work. Since there are no multiplayer options, you'll have to figure out how to get by on your own.

Game Mechanics:

Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game uses both button controls and the touch screen and even the mic, all integrated together. Personally, I didn't like the way they were integrated for the most part. Some characters it works well for, like Missing Link and blowing into the mic to make him spit. But I found that it was difficult to use the touch screen for making Ginormica dash jump, and simultaneously pressing (A) and (B) wasn't much easier. One of the things that I found the hardest of all was drawing the shape to morph B.O.B. into. I have no ability to even draw a straight line. Drawing one on the DS touch screen is even harder, and the game isn't very lax in what it wants to accept as passable. Overall, the controls could definitely have been improved.

For a licensed game, Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game is decent. While it has room for improvement, it will keep you entertained. I do recommend renting it first to see if you like the style and controls of the character. You'll be able to figure out pretty quickly whether or not you will enjoy the game on the whole.

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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