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MonsterBag review

MonsterBag is unusual then as it has been designed solely for the Vita and makes use of the touch screen as one of its core mechanics.

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Monsterbag

MonsterBag is unusual then as it has been designed solely for the Vita and makes use of the touch screen as one of its core mechanics.

These days there is an unfortunate absence of truly exclusive games for the PS Vita. Whilst the console is still receiving support, it has mostly been in the form of Cross-Buy games that are also available on the PS4. MonsterBag is unusual then as it has been designed solely for the Vita and makes use of the touch screen as one of its core mechanics.

MonsterBag was released as part of April’s PS Plus offering, yet aside from this has received very little publicity, even after becoming available on PSN. This is a shame as this quaint game from Chilean developers IguanaBee provides an enjoyable (albeit at times frustrating) experience, one that can be enjoyed over the span of a few hours. Games of short length can be off-putting to some, but if MonsterBag were to be any longer it would only be for the sake of padding, which would be of detriment to the experience.

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The game is essentially a puzzle game, but at times feels as though it could have been a point & click adventure game in a former version. In terms of narrative the game revolves around V – the titular MonsterBag – whose sole purpose in the game is to catch up with its forgetful and clumsy owner Nia, before subsequently helping to save her as events quickly deteriorate around them. In order to do so each stage has a number of individuals that V has to travel across. This is achieved by simply using the left and right control inputs, the catch though is that some individuals will prevent you from passing either due  requiring an item obtained via the touch screen to proceed (hence the point & click connection) or due to rage, resulting in one of the many gruesome instant “Brutal Kill[s]”.

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Monsterbag

The gameplay itself is surprisingly unique, although nothing particularly special. The visuals on the other hand are what make MonsterBag really stand out and for this reason should get your attention. The story is told entirely through the visuals with the score doing an excellent job at reinforcing the tone of the current mood. It is very reminiscent of some of the Cartoon Network shows from the past decade, but by no means is this a children’s game, due to the aforementioned “Brutal Kill” fail states this is a game that easily earns its 12 rating. Although similar to the Danganronpa series all of the blood is bright pink, this has the double benefit of both reducing the realism of the violence, but also exaggerating the impact of the event taking place.

Despite the fairly humble beginnings MonsterBag has its fair share of dark moments and it is during these that the experience created a lasting impression. Not because it was dark for the sake of being gritty, but because of the emotional impact that it had.

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Monsterbag

MonsterBag’s retail price might be off-putting due to its relatively short length, but the puzzles are enjoyable and there is a tangible sense of pride when completing some of the more challenging ones towards the later part of the game. Also given the visual style there are plenty of moments that can only make you smile, even if they are quickly followed by a comically graphic death. Given that it is currently part of PS Plus if you have a Vita it is definitely worth trying out, and if you stick with it the game offers a satisfying experience overall.

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Despite studying Politics at Undergrad and then War Studies at Master's level, James managed to write multiple essays relating to technology and more importantly video games.