Moonsters in Review – Who Knew Tofu Flew?

I’m noticing an interesting trend in the App Store lately.  It seems that many of the most popular puzzle games involve bright, colorful characters in fun settings.  That’s perfectly fine by me, and Moonsters is no exception to the rule.  You play a trio of quirky aliens that are lost, hungry and just want to go home.  The game feels like something ripped from a Disney cartoon, yet it’s challenging enough to give even the seasoned puzzle gamers pause when trying to score four stars on a level.  Do you have what it takes to get these poor creatures home?

The Moonsters have crash landed on a planet and must find the parts they need to repair their spaceship and get home.  Thankfully, though, there are no Reese Pieces or Drew Barrymores here, however.  Instead we have a planet full of Tofu, which apparently are actually fluffy yellow creatures with little wings, and it is up to you to help the Moonsters catch as many Tofu as they can.  You only control one Moonster at a time, but throughout the course of the game you’ll get to work with each of the other Moonsters in conjunction with the one you’re controlling.  Not only do the Moonsters act somewhat differently on their own, but each interacts differently with the others as well.

The game is comprised of 90 levels, 30 of which are spent controlling each Moonster.  In addition to working with the other Moonsters you’ll be introduced to things like moving platforms, bouncing mushrooms and gale force winds that will blow your Moonster around.  It’s up to you to leverage all of these things to get the maximum number of Tofu you can on a level.  You need a certain number just to pass the level with 1 star, but you can earn 2 or 3 stars or a trophy if you collect more than the minimum.  This is what keeps you coming back – earning two stars on a level when you KNOW you can get four.

To launch a Moonster you tap it and then drag opposite of the direction you want to launch it.  The further you drag your finger, the more power behind the launch.  Unfortunately it’s not easy to gauge the power, so making launches that are weaker than the maximum is often difficult.  Conversely if you try to hold back you’re more likely to undershoot than anything.  There never seems to be any “getting used to it” either.  You can also adjust the starting position of the Moonster by dragging it left and right when tapping the bubble, but again I often find myself accidentally launching the Moonster instead of moving it.

The graphics, of course, are cute and colorful, though the palette isn’t quite as bright as you’d expect from this style of artwork.  Still, it’s definitely got a look that will appeal to kids, and at the same time is pleasing enough for adults.  The characters themselves are goofy looking and fun, and deserve to have their own Saturday morning cartoon.

The sound effects really aren’t that great.  Catching Tofu sounds kind of like popping bubble wrap, and there isn’t much noise beyond that.  I would have liked to have seen more from the main characters.  Apparently they can’t talk, but the can certainly emanate sound.  The music is nice and light, and compliments the silly nature of the game.

The game has three endings depending on how much tofu you capture, and when you throw in the possible 4 star rating for each level there’s the potential to be working on this game for quite some time.  You can even revisit levels at any time – including once you’ve beaten the game – to complete all the areas where you got less than a trophy.  I’d like to see the controls tweaked a bit, but otherwise this is a nice solid puzzle game that deserves a place among the best in the genre.

App Summary
Title: Moonsters Developer: Ars Thanea
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.2 or later
Price: $1.99 App Size: 35.0 MB
  • Fun, addictive game play
  • Lots of levels
  • Cute characters
  • Good music
  • Controls need a bit of tweaking
  • Sound effects aren’t very good


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