In a quaint little village, a young boy awakens to find his greatest fear has been realized; monsters have eaten his birthday cake.
And so begins your quest in the aptly named Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake. You play as said young boy, determined in his goal of recovering the coveted birthday cake, one slice at a time. Along the way, he’ll meet a variety of friends who will aid him and his pup in defeating ever more cunning – and difficult – monsters. Surprisingly enough, these friends are themselves monsters, determined to defeat those dastardly villains who are giving good monsters a bad name, hopefully stopping them from endangering their food sources along the way.
Although it begins with a rather Zelda-esque sequence wherein you wander around chatting with as many villagers as you like, at its heart Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a puzzle game – and a rather good one at that. Each of the characters is possessed of specific abilities, and you’ll need to use them in complimentary ways in order to solve each level. The levels consist of a fixed screen that has your boy, and several of the monsters friends he’s picked up along the way. Making your way to the piece of birthday cake will end each level, but you’ll likely want to pick up coins, keys, and other items as well, to make the most of each level. Each level is timed though, so you’ll need to figure out solutions quickly and use your time wisely. You’ll still be able to finish the levels if you run out of time, but you won’t score as highly if you do.
The way the game is set up makes maximum use of the puzzle genre. The specific abilities of each of your characters combines with the specific challenges of each of the enemy monsters to make for some rather brain puzzling levels all on its own. Add in a variety of environment challenges and a time crunch, and you have a game that will keep you on your toes – and adorably so. The visual look of Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is quite colorful and cartoony (as you’d expect from cartoon network), and its just great fun to look at. There’s also a certain quirky charm in both dialogue and look that is equal parts entertaining and engaging – you want that boy to get his cake, no matter what it takes.
One of the more important aspects of any mobile game is a usable control scheme, and Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake does quite well on that score as well. You simply tap to change characters, and double tap to turn their abilities on and off. There’s a lot of pushing boxes and digging holes, but it never feels tedious. More importantly, you won’t feel cheated by mistaken button pushes or abilities that just won’t engage. The controls work, freeing you up to worry about the gameplay. The puzzles are challenging in a way that really makes you think about how to use each characters’ abilities to the best advantage, but they aren’t overly frustrating. It’s also perfectly appropriate for gamers young and old, making for a game the whole family can enjoy.
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a colorful, quirky game that keeps you on your toes. With challenging puzzles and a retro familiar feel, this is a game that will suck you in and keep you engaged – well worth the price of admission.