by Virgin Interactive/Titus Interactive Studio
Planet Monsters, by the very nature of the game, is one of those titles that once you get into it, it becomes hard to put down. Puzzle games have always been popular on Nintendo's hand held systems and it's not difficult to see why. The addictive nature of these games is perfect for people who like to play on the move. Long journeys fly by while you're preoccupied with the game in your hands.
Let's get on with the story behind the game. After a comet hit the earth all mankind disappeared. It was thought that the humans mutated into all manner of different creatures who were warmongering and generally troublesome. The Universal Society, in their wisdom saw fit to organise a tournament that would involve the setting up of fighting arenas all over the earth for Planet Monsters to compete in. In Planet Monsters you control a Planet Monster and the name of the game is to compete in the Planet Monster world championship.
The game is split up into eight parts of the world. Each part of the world has a number of arenas and a boss to fight when you've completed all the of the arenas. The second area, for instance, is England and after you've completed all the arenas you'll have to fight the elephant. As well as the Planet Monster you control, there are three others which you must eliminate. In addition to the rival Planet Monsters you also have to contend with the mutants who if they collide with you, will make you lose a life. Around the arenas there are loads of blocks that can be moved by your Planet Monster. If you push one of these blocks on a rival or mutant they will be destroyed. Beware though because the rival Planet Monsters will try to push these blocks on to you.
There are items scattered around the arena that can help you, as well as helping your enemies. There are guns, bombs and bowls that can be used to hurt your enemies. In addition there are a few bonus items such as the gold ingots, chips, amulet and chicken legs that can add to your points. The teleportation tile moves you straight to another teleportation tile in the arena.
The replay value of the game is also good. The eight parts of the world will take a while to defeat and when you have, there are another three more difficulty settings for you to try your hand at.
The graphics are fine and very colourful and pleasant on the eye. The text in the game, although not much is needed, is fine as well. The faults are really concerned with a couple of design choices. By default the language menu, upon starting the game is French, if you simply press the 'A' button you will begin the game in French and you will have to reset the game to select English. Another is the fact that the game has no save function. At the end of each world (after playing around 6 arenas and defeating a boss) you are given a password. You'll have to make a note of this password and enter it the next time you start a game otherwise you will have to begin at the beginning again. The password is only four letters but when most GBA games come with multiple saves, the choice of using passwords is a little sloppy. Of course what it means is that if you're a person who likes to grab five minutes to play then you won't make progress very fast.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10 Planet Monsters is a thoroughly engaging puzzle experience. Certain design issues may cause irritation though and the inability to save a game and the need to remember passwords might not sit too well with some gamers.
Deaf Gamers comment: Not much call for text feedback but what is there has been well done.