Thursday Appdate: Pudding Monsters

Thu, May 23, 2013

Android, Casual, Frisky Misc, iPad, iPhone, Mobile, Puzzle

Zeptolab is a developer that made a name for itself in the field of severing things. Cut the Rope, their smash hit debut, has been downloaded over 300 million times, has won multiple awards, and regularly sits atop the App Store charts. In the years following Cut the Rope, Zeptolab has made two sequels – Cut the Rope: Experiments and Cut the Rope: Time Travel. Clearly, their expertise regarding cutting is not in question. Six months ago, though, they stepped outside that comfort zone with Pudding Monsters, a puzzle game about sticking things together. Could one developer handle both attachment and detachment? This week’s App Store update picked Pudding Monsters as the official app of the week, so… yeah, seems like it.

Similar to Cut the Rope, the charm and accessibility of Pudding Monsters is instantly apparent. The titular monsters are being snatched out of their comforting fridge and consumed by a Hitchcock-like silhouette, and must band together if they are to survive. To do this, the player simply swipes any monster on the board, which will glide frictionlessly across the floor until they impact something else — either an obstacle or a fellow monster. A level is cleared by sticking all of the monsters together in one Mega Monster, composed of many eyeballs, a mouth, possibly a moustache, and assorted bits of kitchen debris. Slide any monster off the screen, however, and you’ll have to try again. Stars are also awarded for completing the Mega Monster on top of certain tiles, meaning each level has many possible solutions, but a select few must be puzzled out for optimal results.

Any one attempt is likely to only take a few seconds, but as the difficulty ramps up, finding the perfect three-star solution is likely to take many, many tries — keeping the game both quick and lengthy, replayable as players slide and stick their various ideas into action. Level after level slips by with a satisfying ‘Aha!’ moment of clarity as the solution is found, only for Pudding Monsters to whet the appetite with trickier layouts and new puzzle elements, such as slimy green monsters who leave a sticky trail behind them, and hypnotized purple monsters who slide in sync with each other.

Between the quick, one-finger gameplay, the bright, friendly, colorful art, and the cleverly designed puzzles, Pudding Monsters has a deliberate and thoughtful contrast to some of the timing-based trickery of Cut the Rope, and proves that Zeptolab can handle adhesives just as well as they manage scissors. Grab it for free on the App Store this week.

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