You know by now how much I love the original Monsters Ate My Condo (MAMC) – I have devoted an in-depth review and even a strategy, tips and tricks article to it. Now, nearly a year later, Adult Games and Pik Pok have come out with a sequel Super Monsters Ate My Condo (Super MAMC).
MAMC is all about keeping the monsters happy and preventing the “condos” or tiles from falling, Jenga/Uno Stacko style. With a dancing unicorn, a baby-like crab, a businessman turned green monster and a yellow space dog breathing down your neck, it’s easy to tell that MAMC draws its inspiration and irreverence from crazy Japanese gameshows, making it instantly likable and addictive. With “Super” in front, you’d have very high expectations of a sequel to an already fantastic original.
In a nutshell, Super MAMC retains most of the elements of the original except that the default game mode is Timed (2 minutes). In Super MAMC, you gradually progress in the game simultaneous with the tutorial, slowly unlocking more condos and special combos by fulfilling various level objectives all within two minutes, after which you get to spin the Monster Wheel to earn extra coins and power ups or boosts.
Meeting the original gang of monsters and basically going through the sequel to one of my all-time favorite games, the inevitable question is: is the sequel as good as or even better than the original?
I’ll cut to the chase – I’m not happy with Super MAMC and for a number of reasons.
I loved MAMC for the very things Super MAMC is not. Why I don’t love Super MAMC as much, let me count the ways:
1) No Endless Mode – While the core gameplay is retained, Super MAMC employs a restructured game mechanic that sort of feels like an expansion of its Timed Mode in MAMC except that the timed mode in Super MAMC comes with 3 specific missions to complete before graduating to the next level. This is quite similar to Adult Swim/Pik Pok’s other game, Extinction Squad. I hardly ever played the timed mode. The fun of the game is in Endless Mode where you plan a long-term strategy to score the highest points. As a gamer who doesn’t care for scoring high on the leaderboard, MAMC is perhaps the only game that ever got me interested in beating my boyfriend and friends. I truly enjoyed Endless Mode because it opened up possibilities – whether it’s to make it on top of the charts or to discover the game’s secrets. A timed Super MAMC is fine if you like time pressure nd you only have a few minutes to spare. But for a hardcore MAMC fan such as myself, I wasn’t thrilled to see only one game mode.
2) Too Much Information – The original MAMC was deliberately vague about special combos, strategies and the like. It would take trial and error or online searching to find out how to create super unique and special combos. Now, the tutorial lays everything out for you, down to a slew of tips. No more surprises. A lot less fun. For the heck of it, I don’t read the tutorial just to discover the new condos and combos for myself.
3) Distracting graphics and animation – As if the crazy music and graphics weren’t enough, Super MAMC now highlights the condos being eliminated and puts in a few more animations when you activate a power up or go into Megazone. I personally find the highlights annoying and feel a bit sad that when you’re in Megazone, the monsters are gone.
4) In App Purchase – The original MAMC lets you earn points based on hard work. It was a lot simpler, which is part of its charm. Super MAMC, on the other hand, is designed for you to opt for in-app purcases just to meet some of the level missions and to get as many points as you can. Super MAMC also introduced these fun looking crazy hats which, unfortunately, cost a fortune. These hats and boosts are purchased with in-game currency but coins are hard to come by, and grinding will take you a while to have enough. This is where in app purchase comes in, where you can buy coins using real money. Hard work is nothing compared to well-chosen boosts. Sure, no one is pointing a gun at your head to buy coins but the fact that the game is structured around such a condition is disappointing to me.
5) I miss the bombastic soundtrack – I don’t know if I’m just on a roll, but even the music doesn’t sound that fun and zany. It was insanely funny and frantic the first time. Now, I feel like the energy level of the game doesn’t quite match the music. Or maybe it lost its novelty. Maybe it’s because deep down, I feel that a game like MAMC is so good and unique by itself that its own sequel will feel like a poor imitation of the original. Maybe I have a basic problem with taking an already fantastic game and not really changing it for the better, and hence, everything looks and feels wrong to me.
I wonder why the developers didn’t just update the original MAMC with new condos and combos, or in Super MAMC came up with new monsters – say, bigger and more powerful ones. Then again, from a revenue standpoint, a free update is a free update and the current game will make the most out of your money, instead of just earning plain old points.
Still, I’m still relieved that I can enjoy MAMC as it is. On the other hand, Super MAMC feels like it was made into a separate app just to generate more revenue from a popular business model. Previously, paid games are supposedly what you plunked down your money for, and not a continuing business transaction.
However, I suppose my opinion will change a little if Super MAMC comes with an endless mode in the next update.
Don’t get me wrong – the game is still fun, ridiculously colorful and engaging and I would recommend it to anyone who’s new to the MAMC games. I don’t discount the possibility that the new mechanics of Super MAMC will appeal to MAMC fans who can’t get enough of the game. However, for those who love MAMC just the way it is, be prepared for some disappointment. I love you, Adult Swim, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve been ripped off … and it’s not about the money.
Download: Super Monsters Ate My Condo
Device: Universal (both iPhone and iPad)
Dev: Adult Swim Games