Eat Them Hands-On

Sony shows off its arcade-style action game for the PlayStation Network at PAX 2010.

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Sony is showing off Eat Them, a new PlayStation Network action game, at this year's Penny Arcade Expo. The game is being developed by European developer Fluffylogic, who last worked on Savage Moon and owes a bit to the arcade classic Rampage as well as to Sony's own War of the Monsters. We had the chance to try out a very early version of the game, which has a nice retro feel to it.

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Eat Them documents what happens when monsters go on a destructive tear in a city. At the moment, that doesn't involve anything too surprising for anyone who has watched a Godzilla movie. Buildings are smashed, ant-sized people go running around screaming, the military tries to put a stop to things--you know, the usual. You'll play as one of several monsters, each with its own unique attributes, and you'll have to level everything around you within a time limit. Your arsenal of moves is almost exactly what you’d expect. You’ll be able to run, kick, and smash into the buildings around you to satisfying results. If the basics aren't good enough for you, you can improvise by grabbing almost anything and using it as a makeshift club. Your grab move can also be used to pick up the hysterical masses running at your feet, which serve as tasty snacks that restore your health. Your arsenal of moves gets a technological boost courtesy of weapons bolted to your massive frame. While that all sounds well and good, Eat Them offers the cool twist of a monster lab you can use to create your own unique critter of destruction. While the selection of monsters in the version of the game we played was fine, we have to say the option to create your very own freak of nature has a special appeal--you can never cram enough eyeballs on a misshapen head as far as we’re concerned.

We tried a brief sampling of missions in the game, which are set in four themed environments laid out as pulpy 1950s-style comic books. The demo we played let us hop into the different books and choose a mission. We reckon the game will feature a linear progression that has you unlocking missions as you tear your way through the city. Your destructive stroll through the city conveniently yields cash that it appears you can use in the game's shop to pick up some essentials. While we were able to try only the single-player mode in the version we played, a Sony rep on hand noted that Eat Them is set to include online multiplayer for four people, which has the potential for a whole lot of fun.

Eat Them's presentation helps tie the comic theme together very nicely thanks to a clean cel-shaded look. There's some nice line work on the monsters that helps the unsettling details--such as teeth, eyes, tongues, piping, and other parts of their anatomy--stand out. The city and industrial environments we had a look at were laid out tightly, offering plenty of opportunities for smashing and mayhem. The third-person camera worked pretty well most of the time but required some minor adjustment when we were trying to line up some attacks on buildings or dealing with a helicopter.

Based on what we played, Eat Them is a funky little arcade-style game that looks very promising. There's just something satisfying about running around destroying cities as a monster. The addition of custom monster creation and online play to the classic "smash everything" formula makes Eat Them a game worth keeping a look out for when it's released on PlayStation Network this holiday. Look for more on Eat Them in the coming months.

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