Are you someone who enjoys solving tricky puzzles to unwind? Do you squeal at the sight of adorable critters like Om Nom? Do you like puddings??
Well then, you're in for a treat. Today's app pick, Pudding Monsters, is a deliciously addictive puzzle of epic pro-portions.
A Tasty Treat
From the creators of the highly acclaimed game Cut the Rope, Pudding Monsters is a fun slider block puzzle for the whole family. Taking the familiar format of one-level-per-screen approach, the app dishes out 75 levels of adventure across a table top, a room and eventually a city.
The stars of the game are an adorable bunch of one-eyed jelly creatures with a penchant for giant moustaches and odd hats. In an attempt to scare off the cold-hearted fridge owner who keeps snacking on them, they decide to stick together, literally, and create the ultimate mega monster.
Using your finger, you swipe the monsters in straight lines around the tabletop until they slide into an obstacle or into each other. However, if there is nothing blocking their path, they will fall off the screen and it's game over for you.
Ideally, when a giant gelatinous blob is fully formed, it should stand on three star tiles, earning you the coveted three-star ranking. This sounds simple at first, but don't be fooled - it's actually quite tricky. Often, I found myself stuck with a monster on one side while I wanted him to end up on the other, where the star tile was.
Complicating things further is the addition of new monsters with different abilities as you progress through the levels. There are, for example, sickly green puddings that leave behind a sticky trail of slime and hypnotic puddings that always move together in the same direction. New obstacles, like cloning machines and spring-loaded bumpers, are also introduced progressively to keep the gameplay dynamic and fresh.
Like most iOS games these days, Pudding Monsters provides a list of achievements that you can earn. These are fine and all, but if you want something different, the app has an extra goal: crowns.
Once you have earned three stars in all 75 levels, the game unlocks a crown system that rewards you with a gold crown for completing a level in every possible ranking. That includes finishing a level without getting a star, too. This is surprisingly challenging - I found that once you know how to get 3 stars, it can be difficult to figure out how to get one and zero stars.
While I tried my best to describe the whole gameplay in Pudding Monsters, I also believe that it would be great if you could see it in person. So, here is the official gameplay trailer:
Parents Need to Know
Pudding Monsters is a charming puzzle game with a colorful theme and adorable characters. It also makes an excellent entertainment for the whole family. In an interview with Pocket Gamer, one of the founder of ZeptoLabs, Semyon Voinov, explained that the decision to keep the game simple was because they wanted it to appeal to players of all ages:
"We design our games to resonate with children and their grandparents and everyone in between," says Voinov.
This idea definitely resonates in all aspects of Pudding Monsters, especially in the loveable character designs and the simple gameplay. Puzzle veterans may not see the game as much as a challenge, but the trade off is that everyone in the family can enjoy some brain exercises without getting frustrated.
One thing that I would warn parents is that the app contains in-app purchases as well as links to social media, so do proceed with caution.
Things I Like
As expected from the developers of an award-winning game, Pudding Monsters is a yummy puzzler that will keep you coming back for seconds. The presentation is fantastic, with colorful graphics and wacky characters that just make you want to squish them.
I really like that the puzzles come in bite-sized challenges, making it a great pick-me-up during commutes or short breaks. It's also not terribly difficult, but overall it was the right amount of mindbending for me as a casual gamer.
Besides the well-designed list of achievements, one of the most interesting elements in the app is the unique "crown" system. By challenging the players to complete each level in at least three different ways, it cleverly stretches the game's contents and indirectly creates puzzles within puzzles. A very clever approach, if I do say so myself.
One thing that I do think could be improved is the length of the game. The initial version does feel a bit short - I clocked in about 2 hours to gain three stars in all 75 levels. Of course the developers did promise that they will be adding more new levels in the future, so I'm crossing my fingers for an update to come soon.
In conclusion, Pudding Monsters is a delicious game with top-notch presentation. The simple but charming gameplay makes it accessible for everyone, including juniors. I highly recommend it.
Note: Pudding Monsters is available as two separate apps for iPhone and iPad. The link below is for Pudding Monsters HD for iPad. If you want to download the iPhone version, click here.