There haven’t been a lot of titles for the Wii, yet, but hopefully RPG developers are staying up nights thinking of ideas to keep us up at night. Monster Lab is one of the newest for the Wii and has been developed by Backbone Entertainment with a younger frame of mind as the target for the entertainment value they designed into the game.
The good (4 out of 5)
- Well designed and crafted creation system for monsters, it’s fun to collect the parts you need for the body, mix and match to build and experiment with making the most powerful monster you can.
- Hours and hours of game play, it took me over twelve hours to finish, so the kids may only take ten.
- Stylish visuals, reasonable well done, and kind of unique in their look.
- Fun and enjoyable on line option to take creations on line and compete against friends or even random opponents. These battles are more difficult because you’re competing against another person, making them more like boss fights.
The bad (3 out of 5)
- The control system works well in the beginning battles and stages of the game, but later on in the game when playing four mini-games in particular the controls become useless, and you will need to rely on luck, rather than Wii controller skill to make it through the mini-game.
- Many of the mini-games are very well designed and fun to play, but there are a few that are lackluster compared to the rest and are noticeably lacking in content and variety.
- The load times between battles are considerably longer than the battles themselves, something that is also extremely noticeable.
The story (4 out of 5)
Baron Mharti, a former member of the Mad Scientist Alliance, has gone wild and is down in the Uncanny Valley with his creations creating chaos. You as the newest apprentice of the alliance are expected to quickly learn to master the deadly arts of the biological, mechanical and alchemical and then create your own line of monstrosities to defeat the monsters of Baron Mharti and bring peace to the valley. You have to collect junkyard materials to make up the arms, legs… all the body parts for your Frankenstein, bring your creation to life, and then send them into the valley to battle the monsters of Baron Mharti. You will need to experiment with the construction of your abominations to create stronger abominations and find the best matches for the parts and ingredients you have to work with. The developers have designed a multitude of ingredients and materials to use in the construction and repair of the monsters, which makes for a varied and deep creation system. There are varied levels of difficulty to keep the kids coming back for more and the violence isn’t over the top or too graphic, so it’s okay for the younger crowd.
The game’s graphics (3 out of 5)
The developers have done a good job creating and rendering the graphic scenes of the game, kids love cartoon-like characters they can more easily relate too. The cut scenes are well done and entertaining, cinematic in nature and good natured fun that will have you and the kids giggling as you play. Great detail in the monsters, the maps and environments and especially the castle, which looks really good. The characters glow with lighting effects that make them look great and add a bit of eye-candy that the kids will love.
The game’s sounds (4 out of 5)
The well-coordinated sounds of nature, dogs barking in the background, and eerie cemetery sounds are certainly appropriate and add another level of entertainment the kids will really enjoy. The developers did a good job synchronizing the sound effects in town, the valley and the castle, and the soundtrack is excellent for a kids game, once again increasing the entertainment value of the title.
Want to play again (3 out of 5)
Monster Lab comes with four levels of difficulty that have hours and hours of game play for the kids to take their creative side for a walk on the wild side. The variety of mini-games you have to play during the game in order to track down items, while fighting the monsters, makes for a fun ride and hours of competitive entertainment.
The best part of this gaming experience is the ability to take your new creation on line and play against friends and random opponents in boss-like battles that allows you to really test your newest Frankenstein.
The final conclusion (3 out of 5)
Monster Lab is a well made and designed game for the kids that will keep them occupied for a few days, and maybe longer, depending on their creative interest. A well polished title with a style of its own, kind of unique in gaming, but definitely a fun and entertaining game that will peak the interest of the younger mind.
If the kids spent a lot of time with Pokemon, then they will probably love the quirky characters and story included with this title, but may find a few of the mini-games in the later parts of the game a little hard to beat because of the Wii control issues.
The adult mind will find the game lacking a little depth, but then it’s not designed for the adult mind, but the light-hearted and more open-minded consciousness of kids.