Igor, Bring Me … The Monster Lab Review!

Geek Culture

Image: EIDOSImage: EIDOS

Image: EIDOS

Taking place in deep in the shadows of the Uncanny Valley, Monster Lab is a fun, well-crafted introduction to the Rock/Paper/Scissors school of RPG gaming.

As mad professor, you create your own monsters, choosing head, torso, 2 different arms and a pair of legs. Combat is turned based – you can either attack, defend or recharge. I found it interesting to watch my six-year-old daughter’s strategy evolve: from very cautious, to very aggressive to very strategic. Later in game, gameplay evolves as new monster types are added to the mix. Mechanical, Biological and Magical monster parts come into play.

There are approximately 150 unique parts: 30 different heads, 60 different arms, 30 pairs of legs, and 30 heads. Each of these can either have defects or enhancements depending on how well you do in a mini-game that’s associated with each part’s creation.

To create your monsters, you play a range of mini-games that combine parts that you obtain either through combat victory, quests or other mini-games. There’s a big variety in these tasks, some of which were really tough to complete – particularly the tracing games – even on the easy difficulty. But a fair number were right in the sweet spot for my daughter.

Monster Lab was so fun, I found myself playing after my daughter went to bed so, I’d have a large pool of new pieces that we could assemble into new monsters the next day. Building monsters, and naming the creation was a huge part of the game for us. While the story didn’t do much for either of us, we both loved the art and wide range of creatures we could create, leading to endless giggles and fun.

Overall, a solid, fun game, it had a great beat and was easy to dance to. I’d give it 75/100

•Great Art direction, Voice Acting and sense of humor
•large variety of mini games
•Great introduction into turned based Rock Pa[per Scissor RPG (Final Fantasy, Skies of Arcadia, Blue Dragon, etc.)

•Mini game difficulty was inconsistent, particularly the tracing games were difficult.
•Player vs. Player combat on a single console missing for some reason. I would have loved to have gone toe to toe with my daughter. You can play over the internet however.

Monster Lab
From Eidos, $19.99
Rated E 10+ for animated blood and comic mischief
Wii (reviewed), PS2 and DS versions available.

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