Cardboard comes alive in Crescent Moon Games' 2D platformer.
Crescent Moon Games did a fine job with Paper Monsters. The LittleBigPlanet influence is obvious, but serves more as a sincere form of flattery in what is yet another fine platform adventure for iPhone and iPad.
No big story in this one. You control a character made of cardboard through 16 stages divided into four unique worlds, from a snowy landscape to underground ruins.
As such, the tried and true foundation for any good platformer is alive and well. You'll double jump across gaps, ride in moving carts, jump on enemies' heads and collect items. In this case, silver and gold buttons, along with carefully hidden gold paperclips and Adventure Cards.
What's more, the developers peppered the game with short vehicle segments to boost the appeal. Visit that aforementioned winter wonderland, and you may catch a ride on a sled. Dive underwater, and you'll pilot a torpedo firing sub, ala Super Mario Land. Those submarine is so cool, Crescent Moon could easily make a game 100 percent devoted to it.
For controls, you have two options. The virtual joystick works decently enough, but occasionally leads to some unwanted deaths. For superior control, at least as far as a touch screens go, stick with the d-pad.
Now what really impressed us, on top of the single player mode, was the addition of Dash Mode, which is essentially a separate game entirely. It's just a runner, where you need to keep a tiny cardboard lizard pressing forward without falling into a pit or smacking into stuff, but it's just as cool and addictive as the main quest. Bravo to the designers for including it.
Finally, we have the graphics, which retain that cardboard theme throughout. Crescent Moon did a great job keeping the environments varied with a handful of enemies, including spear throwing yetis, dinosaurs and a humongous octopus, or is it a giant squid? Definitely fun to look at on both devices; the game is universal, by the way.
All told, it's tough to find serious fault with Paper Monsters. It's a well-crafted and enjoyable platformer that's worth $0.99. If we had to put a finger on one thing that bugs us, it's that Crescent Moon Games didn't go above and beyond what we've seen before, but that's a small issue in comparison to the much bigger picture. Quality title and well worth your time.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
What's Hot: Enjoyable 2D side scrolling fun, 16 levels, cute cardboard graphics, bonus Dash Mode, universal, $0.99.
What's Not: Touchy analog stick, doesn't reinvent the genre.