Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake Review: Sweet and Moist

July 2nd, 2014 -

When I first got a look at Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, I wasn’t really clamoring to play it. It looked cute, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t sold on it. Call me judgmental, as I clearly wasn’t in my right mind. This game is an absolute delight – be it the puzzle solving, the music, the art style, or the dialogue – this game hits the sweet spot.

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You play Niko, a boy who has just woken up on his birthday looking forward to the breakfast of champions: cake. Unfortunately, it’s been stolen! Who would do such a devious act (just ignore the title of the game…)? So off you go with your wiener dog Bazooka, beyond the village’s borders to find where your cake has gone. Of course you can explore the town at your leisure if you prefer, which involves collecting coins, getting requests for items, and listening to random musings of others. Some involve allusions to Mario and Luigi, others monstrous beasts, and best of all a badger.

Make no mistake, this game is all about the puzzles. While they never get overly difficult to complete, as this game is built for younger audiences, they do offer challenges. Each puzzle has three stars to complete, each one representing an objective. These vary from time trials, coin collecting, killing or sparing all the enemies, and plenty others. And you can’t do them all your first time through. See, as you play through the game, you meet new monsters that will join you on your fight against the Boogins that stole your cake, meaning you’ll have to backtrack to use those allies on previous levels if you plan on getting absolutely everything from the game.

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Each character brings something different to the table – be it breaking ice blocks, freezing water and enemies, approaching ramming speed and time limits, or many, many other abilities you’ll have at your disposal. In addition to the story characters you encounter, you’ll be able to unlock extra characters that you can swap in and out of your party to access different portions of the levels. And on top of those, Niko has different costumes which allow you to access different portions of levels as well. So if you had planned on getting a 100% in the game as you progressed through, sorry, that’s not going to happen. Backtracking is a necessity. Especially when it comes to item requests – as mentioned previously, people in the village will typically ask for three of some item you find in the levels. During your puzzle solving, you’ll also come across monsters that want items that you can find at stores, but sometimes you get them elsewhere, and… It’s like an RPG fetch quest, but it’s not so much of a chore, because A) you don’t have to do them b) they take about five seconds to get where you need to be once you collect the item.

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The aesthetic of the game, as previously mentioned, is very family friendly. However, if I were to compare it to something else that’s family friendly, I’d say it’s similar to Adventure Time in charm and humor. I can definitely see why Cartoon Network picked it up to publish it. I’m not sure why I love the art used in the game so much – it’s so simple, but it works so well. I suppose it’s due to the cartoon resemblance it holds, and the humor just adds to it. Honestly, it’s been a while since I laughed this hard at a game’s writing. I’d say the last one was probably a Tim Schafer game, despite playing plenty of games that attempted humor. Be it fart jokes, ridiculous name calling, or just misunderstandings, you’ll giggle to yourself like you’re a kid again. Biff is probably my favorite, reminding me of the Elcor from Mass Effect with his stated emotions and/or actions at the end of each expressed thought. The way each character is written and drawn immediately gives them a particular voice, and it’s a main reason I miss the days of unspoken dialogue in games; with a voice, the potential of that character is limited to the actor’s presentation, whereas a screenshot in this review will sound completely different to everyone that reads it.

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Overall, this game is absolutely glorious. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is available on iOS and Android for $5, or $15 on Steam, and is definitely worth the money for whichever platform you choose. I mean, hHow often do you get to barf rainbows (Critter Crunch aside)? What about making stink clouds? And the insults alone are worth the time to see, because if you need a laugh, this game will elicit it. Oh, and did I mention the game’s soundtrack is done by Disasterpiece? What is your excuse to not grab this game?

BUY

Pros

  • Enticing World and Characters
  • Wonderful Soundtrack
  • Extra Challenges/Unlockables

Cons

  • Puzzles are Easy Overall
  • Too Adorable for the Cold Hearted
  • Why’d it End?

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