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Friday, April 13, 2007

Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia (Xbox 360)

I've been playing the Xbox 360 demo for Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia, and it's a fun little romp.

I've been looking forward to this title for some time, and it delivers on a bunch of fronts -- funky style, fun with stereotypes (the nerd, the goth chick, the slacker, and the Valley Girl), comic book sensibilities, decent physics, and creative gameplay.

The demo's a bit limited in the gameplay area, but I get a sense of it. Interestingly, the trailer shows a lot more fun stuff (vehicles, transformations, etc.) that seem like they would have been better picks for the demo. There are, however, tastes of some of the context sensitive "traps" you can kick off (and get caught in, if you're careless), and those are decent fun.

The demo does have online and offline co-op and adversarial arena, which is cool. I want to put the demo through its paces with 3 friends, and see how it plays out.

I'm not real stoked about the camera, which is fixed, and not very "smart" -- it wouldn't shift when I got boxed into a corner. There's a needed concession for on-screen multiplayer, but some cameras and levels in this genre are implemented better (like Hunter: The Reckoning or Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes on the old Xbox).

There were also a few too many cheap deaths -- getting boxed into a corner with no weapons or ammo, and not being able to slip out or jump over baddies is irritating (but, that got to be less of an issue the more I played).

Control is a little wonky, and I hope the full version lets me switch my assignments -- mainly the left and and right thumbsticks for move / turn (and I'd like to move jump back where it belongs on the "A" button). Also, the dodge mechanic didn't seem to work at all.

This title will fill a nice needed niche in the co-op multiplayer space, but (for it's sake) I wish it were priced more cheaply than the $59.99 MSP standard for new Xbox 360 titles, since it's possible it will get looked over amid other April / May offerings. A $40 or $50 price point would likely move significantly more units.

But, overall, I'm still looking forward to Monster Madness the first week of May. It'll also be out for the PC the same date, and PlayStation 3 (in theory) in October (which is probably the launch window for which they were aiming last year, but who wants to compete with Gears of War?). I'll probably end up renting it, first, since the GameStop bonus beanie hat isn't enough to get me to purchase it outright.

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