Release Date: 1 November 2014
Platform: Windows Phone (Reviewed), Android, iOS(coming soon)
Developer: Nervous Frog
Genre: Arcade/Action Shooter/Tower Defence
Price: Free to play
Developing over an existing idea is never an easy job as most of the time, developers end up creating a re-skinned version of the inspiration game, but at times some developers manage to craft a whole new experience around the same mechanics and that simply becomes the underlying magic of the game. Bang Bang Monsters does exactly that, it borrows elements from tower defence games and combines them with arcade/action shooters. In Bang Bang Monsters, you play as a cute little girl who is trying to save a herd of sheep from distinctly evil looking monsters. To accomplish your objective, you have a very vast set of weaponry available at your disposal. All these weapons have a different effect on battlefield, so get ready to spend a lot of time with these weapons to find the best combination during certain game modes.
Gameplay in Bang Bang Monsters varies depending on which game mode you choose. The three modes which are available in Free Version are ‘Challenge Pack 1’, ‘Party’, and ‘Survival’. There are more modes available which are locked behind the pay wall, but don’t worry as the modes available in the free version will keep you engaged for a fairly long time.
Challenge Pack 1 includes 60 missions with increasing difficulty after each wave and boss waves. Your objective in this mode is to kill all the monsters before they manage to kill your sheep. There is no time limit though you have a limited ammo and if you are not smart enough to collect ammo from the monsters you kill, you are probably going to run out of ammo within seconds. While this sounds easy, you will find the later levels in the game very challenging and I am sure they will force you to give your best to achieve your goal. Survial is the wave based version or horde mode of challenge pack where you face enemies of increasing difficulty. If you are looking to kill some time, this is exactly what you want. Party Mode: At the beginning of the mode you have an option to select any five weapons of your choice, make the decision wisely and try to have a mix of weapons which are effective at all ranges. In the beginning of each round there is a given amount of in-game currency which you use to buy the weapons initially selected. Deployment of these weapons depends on various factors. Note that you don’t have the ability to buy same type of weapon repeatedly, because once you buy a gun or bomb it takes few seconds to recharge, this is the time when you need to decide which weapon can act as an alternative to other and where to place them to maximise the damage.
Designing a control scheme for touch screens is something many developers are still figuring out, however in this case controls are smartly thought out. Nevous Frog has tried to increase the efficiency of the controls thanks to the use of a simple swipe. To control your character all you need to do is swipe in different directions; swipe left or right to change your lane, a long swipe will help you reach the end points of the lanes and up/down swipe allows you to switch between different weapons. The control scheme in tower defence focused game modes is pretty straight forward. Select a weapon and place it at your desired location. However, keep in mind that once it’s placed you cannot change its location until it gets destroyed. A simple and efficient approach towards the control scheme stands out in the game and clearly makes it distinct compared to others.
Art Design/ Graphics/ Performance
I usually don’t put too much focus on art design, but Bang Bang Monsters is an exception. It is one of those games which ignores the principles of having a consistent design language across the game, that too in a good way. While everything in the game has the same cartoonish look, what makes it different is the unique designs of the monsters. For example, at one moment you were looking at skeletons coming towards you, and just like any other game you expected the next monster to have a similar design and suddenly a new monster popped up which looked significantly different from the previous one. It keeps the game fresh, fun and also adds a sense of humour at times. On the performance side, everything looks to be up and running smooth. Initially there were some frame-rate drops, however Nervous Frog has continued to push updates which have improved the performance on low-end Windows Phones.
This term itself has some sort of special power which can break a very solid title if not implemented correctly. Nervous Frog has taken a very minimalistic approach towards micro-transactions. The game has specific game modes locked behind the pay-wall while others are accessible to all; few interesting modes and powers are behind pay-wall which is disappointing since one does not get to sample everything that the game has to offer. Bang Bang Monsters has not been plagued by pay-to-win tactics, making it an experience which is affordable to all types of pockets. I recommend buying the premium ad-free version for the best experience.
In contrast to what I reviewed last time ‘Happy New Year The Game’, ‘Bang Bang Monsters’ not only motivates other Indian developers, it also improves on the gaming standards set by other developers in India.