Monstaaa! Preview

Last year fate took an axe to Blue Tongue Entertainment, a long-running development house based in Melbourne. One of the indie studios to rise from its ashes was Pixel Elephant, who turned in a solid Sokoban-style puzzler in last October’s Puzzled Rabbit. Now they’re making a second trip to the App Store with Monstaaa! and were kind enough to lend us a preview copy while they add the finishing touches over the next two weeks.

As you might expect from Pixel Elephant’s previous work, Monstaaa! is a tricky logic puzzler. However, it contrasts quite a bit with Puzzled Rabbit in its tilt driven gameplay; in Rabbit you carefully plotted each move, while Monstaaa! demands tight reflexes as you think on the fly. The idea is to feed the eponymous beast, which sits still while you guide one or more bugs into its gullet.

What starts out as a piece-of-cake maze navigation exercise quickly gets more challenging with the introduction of spikes and crawling flames you have to very gingerly guide the bugs around. When there are multiple bugs onscreen it seems the best strategy is to get them together so you can move them consistently. Add in bugs that grow so big over time that they can’t squeeze through narrow gaps and you’ve got a very nice time attack challenge thrown in; here the difference between victory and the poor monster starving is giving the bugs a smooth flight path, keeping momentum-sapping wall collisions to a minimum. It appears four worlds will be on tap at release, with later levels tossing in a variety of bug traps and even bugs that devour one another when brought too close.

What we see on release day, May 29, could be just the tip of the iceberg: the Pixel Elephant crew tell us their brains are swimming in ideas for content updates. Monstaaa! will retail at a normal price of $1.99 but will launch half off at $0.99. The game will be Universal and iCloud support is in the bag. Keep an eye on the game’s website and Facebook page, as well as Pixel Elephant’s Twitter feed, for the latest news. Let’s roll some preview footage: