Last year, Wicked Monsters Blast! saw release on the Wii as a budget title from a little known publisher, Corecell. Alex Lucard absolutely loved the little game, and dreamed of future titles. Before Corecell puts out any sequels though, it has decided to allow the game to spread its wings and be released as a downloadable title for the PS3. This means Move support, trophies, online leaderboards, and crisper visuals.
So, does this charming shooter still hold up a year later?
With the leader of the shadowy Wicked organization gone missing, the time is ripe for a new leader to step up and take charge. Entering the fray are nine characters (up from the original’s eight), each based off of some sort of animal. There’s Parda the panda, Bully the bull, and Yuri the unicorn, among others. Each of these characters comes equipped with a cute little introduction and conclusion should you beat the arcade mode. These stories are amusing and worth the time spent to unlock them. The fact that they can be viewed in the gallery afterwards is nice as well.
Arcade mode is the basic story mode. You’ll clear though eight random levels and take out a boss. You have a target score to reach for each mini-game, and failing to reach it costs one of three lives. However, you still get to move forward. You highest cumulative score is posted to an online leaderboard.
There’s also family mode, which has you and up to three other participants simply playing mini-games for fun and seeing who comes out with the best score. The mini-games you play are selected by shooting balloons at the start. It’s cute.
Finally, there’s survival mode. In this mode, you play shortened versions of the mini-games and try to reach a target score. The first time you fail, the game is over. Your top score is also posted online.
What’s really nice about this is that all four modes support up to four player co-operative/competitive play. While it would have been nice to have high scores for each individual challenge, I can’t really complain about what the game offers. There’s plenty bang for the buck here.
The art style for WMB is cutesy and amusing to look at. It’s clearly geared towards children, but there’s nothing really wrong with that. The port over to PSN has definitely been good to the overall quality of the visuals, as everything looks sharper and brighter.
During gameplay, the action on screen can get quite hectic. More chaotic levels involve several objects flying towards you at once, and it can be hard to keep track of your colored crosshairs. This is especially true when you have more than one player in the game. That isn’t to say this is a problem though. Rather, it creates a fun sense of anarchy where pinpoint accuracy gives way to random shooting.
It may not be the most “mature”Â looking light gun game out there, but that’s certainly not an issue unless you’re really desperate to see heads explode into gore. If so, there’s plenty of other games out there for you. This is more akin to a shooting gallery. It’s meant to be light.
I’m actually surprised by how catchy the music was. It was just a few minutes into the game before I found myself humming along with the main theme. Every time it comes on, I can’t help myself.
Instead of voice acting, each character has a few noises they make. These will either endear you to the characters, or make you want to strangle them with a bit of piano wire. It really depends on how much you can stand cutesy stuff. I fall somewhere in the middle I guess. I don’t hate the effects, but I can’t say I wouldn’t be able to live without them.
As far as the rest of the sounds go, you’ll likely not hear them because most of the game is drowned out by a never-ending cacophony of gunfire. There are some differentiations depending on what you hit, such as a barrel or a hippo (Don’t worry. You don’t really hurt the hippo.). There’s a decent amount of attention to detail here. You just aren’t likely to hear it.
Light gun games are the epitome of simplicity. All you have to do is point and shoot. For this, you can use either the Move controller or a regular old dual shock. The Move has an advantage in that you use motion controls to move the crosshairs, while the classic controller involves using the analog stick. While the game is playable with both, the Move is the superior choice. Still, if you want to get a group of people playing, you don’t have to have four Moves lying around to do so.
You can check out Alex’s review for the full rundown of the mini-games you can expect to find, but I’ll simply explain the idea here. Each mini-game plays differently not in basic mechanics, but in your overall goal. For example, one mission might have you attempting to destroy all of the bottles on a shelf while deflecting enemy attacks. Another simply asks you to agree or disagree with a statement made at the top of the screen. There’s a good bit of variety here, and it goes a long way to making each playthrough unique. It also helps that there are easier and harder versions of each game that show up, depending on how far into arcade mode you are when they pop up.
There have been some new mini-games added for this re-release, and they offer a new mechanic. Instead of crosshairs, you control an object on screen that can be moved. Also, you control the depth of the object. The goal here is to move the object around the screen so you can shoot at targets. This mechanic is a bit of the rough side, and is a pain to work with under tense situations. I dread whenever they show up, even though they tend to offer the best chances to add a lot of points to your score.
Overall, this is a fun light gun game with plenty of depth and variety. Add in the frantic multiplayer where you can use pick-ups to mess with your fellow players, and it’s a strong recipe for success.
Playing through a single run of arcade mode doesn’t take long. I’d say you can do it in about ten to fifteen minutes. There are nine characters to use, which offers you a decent amount of play time just in that mode. Family mode is fun for multiplayer or when you feel like practicing specific challenges. Survival mode is the most replayable of the bunch, as it requires the most skill.
If you’re just looking to earn all of the trophies, you can expect to spend no more than a couple of hours on the game. If you’re interested in topping the online leaderboards, you’ll have a much stronger incentive to press onward.
For a ten dollar game, there’s more than enough potential play time here to justify the purchase.
There are three difficulty settings to try out in arcade mode (which also add to the game’s replayability). You can definitely feel a difference as you switch between them, and they offer you a way to improve your skills beyond just upping your score. There is certainly some challenge for those looking for it.
The goal of each level is not always clear. However, thanks to on screen prompts that show you when you gain/lose points, it’s easy to pick up on how each is to be played. For example, during the mini-game where you shoot food items away from hippos, I initially shot everything. It turns out I wasn’t supposed to shoot anything hanging from a rope. Instead, I was supposed to shoot the hippos to keep them from jumping up to get said food. So, there’s a slight learning curve here.
It should also be mentioned that the leaderboards don’t take difficulty into effect. My top score was on the easiest difficulty, which seems a tad unfair to those who’ve stuck with a tougher challenge from the beginning.
I always give points to ports that add new content. This conversion adds sharper visuals, online leaderboards, a new character, and a few new mini-games. They didn’t need to add anything new, but I’m glad they did.
Beyond that though, originality isn’t something that this game has in spades. The original version came out over a year ago. It affects the score a bit, but that is to be expected.
I found it very easy to play more than one campaign in a row. After all, you only get about half of the mini-games per encounter, and they change depending on what order they’re in. This helps each playthrough feel unique, which helps avoid player fatigue.
Of course, what this game is best at is its ability to offer a quick session that you can play whenever you get bored. It’s not likely that players are going to play this for hours on end. I can see, however, someone playing once a day for a while.
There’s good news and bad news on this front. On one hand, the game is extremely accessible. All ages can enjoy it, it includes support for both the Move and Dualshock, and the gameplay is simply enough to pick up in a few seconds.
On the flip side, a lot of genre fans prefer the more hardcore stuff like House of the Dead. Some people might simply pass it over because of its cartoonish graphics. It’s a shame, but it’s true. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t be caught dead playing something like this.
For those that are interested, the game has a small asking price and is a fun little game that supports the Move controller. The Move hasn’t had quite the same support as the Wii, so any quality addition is appreciated.
This is a nice little addition to the PlayStation Store. The more light gun games that get ported over to PS3 users, the happier I’ll be. It’s a fun genre, and the Move is a controller capable of doing it justice. At ten bucks, this is a must buy for fans.
Addictiveness: Above Average
Appeal Factor: Decent
Final Score: Enjoyable Game!
Short Attention Span Summary
Wicked Monsters Blast! HD is a nice addition to the PlayStation Store. For ten bucks, you’re getting a quality light gun game with plenty to offer. It has a surprising amount of depth and replayability. With new additions, such as online leaderboards, the game has been improved in several areas from the original Wii version. If you’re a light gun fan, this should be in your collection before long.