Review: Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! (XBLIG)

Developer: Mediatonic

Publisher: Mediatonic

Earlier in the year, Mediatonic treated PlayStation users to an incredibly funny and addictive mini in the form of Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! Not wanting to leave Xbox owners out, it was recently ported and released into the wild of Xbox Live Indie Games. It’s still the same vertical platform jumper that we know and love, but with updates here and there for the new platform.

For those unfamiliar with the story, you play as “The Duke”, a Dracula-esque character who awakens one night to find his beloved gone, thus reaching the only conclusion he can: monsters stole his Princess…probably. You journey throughout the land on your quest, hunting down and defeating the titular monsters in the most awesome way possible in the hopes of rescuing your Princess back from their slimy clutches. As with the minis version the story plays out in short cutscenes between levels, with characters conversing through dialog boxes.

Upon reaching each monster, they will attempt to evade The Duke by escaping vertically to their house, so you must give chase by jumping on platforms provided. The Duke has a couple of abilities to help your ascent – a wall jump and a double jump – the latter of which is absolutely essential to the game. Taking down a monster requires you to double jump into them three times before they reach safety. Speed is also a necessity, as the monsters will shoot upwards after each hit and you’ll need to catch up again, so hanging around could lead to their escape. Monsters offers 5 main story levels to play through, and, if you’re awesome enough in each, you’ll unlock a bonus one.

At the end of each level you’ll be awarded with a medal depending on how many points you gained while defeating those thieving monsters. These points are garnered mainly through jumping on the platforms, although it’s your platform combo that will give you amazing high scores and top medals. For each new platform you successfully jump on your combo increases by one; jump on the same platform twice and you’ll break it (the combo, that is, not the platform). The combo also affects your finishing move, so if you land on enough platforms in succession The Duke will pull off some crazy, super-awesome finishing moves and your final score will be through the roof.

Score Attack is present and correct, where you can play through all levels again, albeit with new monsters and platform layouts. You’ll start off with a single monster for the levels, with additional ones unlocked as you achieve those high scores and medals. As there’s not much to do in the Story Mode once you’ve obtained golds in every level, Score Attack offers some much-needed variety and replayability. There’s also an in-game trophy system and scrap book, which records your achievements and documents your awesomeness from both Story and Score Attack modes.

It’s in the graphics department that the XBLIG version of Monsters really excels. The minis version looked great on a PSP, and still held up well when played on a PS3, but it has nothing on the HD makeover the Xbox version has been given. All the gameplay is smooth, crisp and vibrant, which really accentuates the cartoon styling. The audio quality remains relatively similar to the minis version, so the horror-style organ music is still great. Unfortunately the cutscenes haven’t received similar treatment and have a border around them when they play, although this really isn’t too much of a problem.

So, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! is still as hilarious, addictive and fantastic as the minis version, but with an added bonus of updated HD visuals. If you already own the minis version then it’s probably not worth picking this up, but if you’ve yet buy this quirky title and have the choice, this is undoubtedly the version to own.

Pros:

  • Gameplay is great in HD.
  • Genuinely funny story.
  • Addictive.

Cons:

  • Cutscenes have borders when playing.