Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! Hands-on

We embrace uncertainty and speculation to rescue a princess in this PlayStation 3/PlayStation Portable Minis game.

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Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! is a humourous Minis game developed by London-based studio MediaTonic. We had the opportunity to see what those no good monsters are up to when we got some hands-on time with the PlayStation 3 and PSP platforming game.

Monsters tells the story of Duke, a maniacal aristocratic demon who wakes up to find his princess missing. Despite the glaringly obvious lack of evidence, he proclaims monsters to be responsible for the kidnapping. Duke comes across a cthulhu innocently watering plants nearby and casts aside his uncertainty to embark on a random monster-killing spree.

The monsters are more scared of Duke than he is of them.
The monsters are more scared of Duke than he is of them.

Victimised monsters flee Duke on sight. Because the only thing they understand is a beating, it's your job to give chase and deliver. To catch the vertically fleeing monsters, you must jump from platform to platform to catch up to the monster and build a combo chain. Each platform gives you a score boost and adds to your combo; high chains are rewarded with flashy finishing moves.

While this sounds simple enough, it's complicated slightly by the caveat that a platform can only be jumped on once because landing on the platform a second time breaks the chain. Deviously placed platforms force you to precisely time your jumps to avoid breaking chains and to maximise the number of platforms on which you land. Fortunately, you can also double-jump and grab on to the nearby walls to make directing jumps a little easier.

Double jumps can also be used to damage the terrified monsters, and hitting them three times initiates an extravagant finishing move. Although they are unable to attack, the monsters can defend themselves by changing movement patterns, using defence mechanisms--such as fading away or increasing speed--to reach the finish line before you deal enough damage to them.

Double jumps are used to lay the smack down.
Double jumps are used to lay the smack down.

This simple gameplay has an interesting risk-versus-reward element to it. Trying to land on every platform draws out the chase, which means the monster may escape before you can destroy it. However, it also gives you a higher score and rating, as well as activates an impressively over-the-top finishing move.

Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! features a single-player campaign composed of five stages, which are short but replayable and can take a while to complete if you aim for a perfect score. Score Attack mode lets you play three levels for each of the five stages; these escalate in difficulty, as well as require quick reactions and forward planning to complete.

Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess! is shaping up to be an entertaining Minis game. The simple mechanics give it an addictive quality while the dark humour and colourful visual style keep it from getting stale. The game will be available for £3.49, €3.95 on April 22, a price for the North American release is to be confirmed.

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