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Monster Feed (iPhone) Review

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What's that you say? A tower defense game for the iPhone? Get right out of town! Not since Game Party for the Wii have I been this surprised by the newness of a concept. Just in case you aren't aware, the “strategy” category of games in the iTunes app store might as well just be called “tower defense.” Okay maybe that's an exaggeration, but there are very few styles of game on the platform with as many options to choose from when considering what to buy. Unless you want to try and make an Angry Birds clone, there is also arguably no other style of game as difficult to directly compete with in the marketplace. Monster Feed attempts to do just that though and the result, while not the best in class, is a solid entry into the tower defense genre.

I won't go into a detailed description here, but tower defense games basically consist of something in the vein of monsters, robots, mythical creatures, etc that proceed on a set, usually winding path from one end of an area to their goal. It's your job to keep them from reaching that goal by building towers to fire projectiles at the baddies traveling along that path. In the case of Monster Feed, you're trying to keep a seemingly random assortment of monsters from advancing to, and eating, a group of deer (hence the name). To do that, you're given a variety of upgradable towers to impede their progress. So far, this is all standard fair for tower defense games, but Monster Feed changes that up a bit by introducing a few variables into the fold. First, there are weeds or other random junk that must be cleared off some squares before a tower can be built there. Secondly, the game includes two different selectable characters, each with their own unique recharging spells that the player fires off independent of any tower on the field. I feel this makes Monster Feed more forgiving than most tower defense games.

While it would spell doom in most games of this type, if a monster happens to get through your defenses, you can simply finish it off with a spell. In fact, I would say that the summoned creature each character has at their disposal is more destructive than even the best tower available. On the harder difficulties and in the later levels, use of these pets along with other spells is absolutely vital to protecting your herd of deer from these malevolent yet orderly creatures. At the same time, it also means that strategic tower placement matters far less than in most tower defense games. This is not necessarily a detriment to Monster Feed, but it does mean that this game would be most enjoyed by a younger audience or someone who is looking for a very casual tower defense experience.

In general, this game has very few problems. There are a small number of blemishes though, that keep it from being the best that tower defense games on the iPhone have to offer. Most notable among these issues, is the inaccurate control interface. I often found that while trying to select a specific tower, obstacle, monster or empty space, the game would misread my intentions and start building a tower where I didn't want one, or let a monster get to a deer because I couldn't select it as a target in time. On the later levels, this becomes very annoying as performing well in the game requires more accuracy than the game can allow my gigantic fingers to have. While the game never nearly becomes unplayable because of this, it would certainly benefit from tighter controls.

In gameplay, graphical style and difficulty, Monster Feed bears a striking resemblance to Pixeljunk Monsters and I feel like they would appeal to similar audiences. If what you're looking for is a casual tower defense experience on the iPhone, you would find that this is a solid product with a good variety of maps, game modes, difficulties and characters that will keep you entertained for a good amount of time.








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