Pudding Monsters Review: Delightfully Animated, Simple Sliding Fun
Like Rovio with Angry Birds, developer Zeptolabs hit it out of the park with their first iOS game, Cut the Rope. Like Rovio with Angry Birds, Zeptolabs has ridden their hit to success with updates, sequels, and merchandising. And like Rovio with Angry Birds, the day was going to come when Zeptolabs had to release a new game, one not related to their hit franchise. For Zeptolabs, that game is Pudding Monsters, a polished sliding puzzle game that plays it simple.
Pudding Monsters plays to a simple concept. Each level is a sliding puzzle populated by three or more small pudding monsters. You must slide the monsters across the board so as to unite them into one big monster, so that they cannot be eaten. Monsters only stop sliding when they impact an obstacle or another monster, and any monster sliding off the board fails the level. You can also earn up to three stars (of course) by joining the pudding monsters in such a way as to cover the three star spaces on the board.
It’s a simple concept and also a pretty simple execution. Honestly, I didn’t find any level of Pudding Monsters to be more than moderately challenging; half the time, I could even solve for three stars on the first try. The nature of the game is such that options are limited; and once you figure out the first couple of moves everything just falls into place. They vary things by introducing new types of blocks and new types of puddings, but they only serve to call attention to themselves — for example, if the green sticky pudding is on a level, you know it’s going to be the first or second pudding you slide, and you are probably only going to have one or two options for which direction to slide it.
I’m not saying that simple here equals boring. But the game is super-casual in its play, and that means it’s got less replay value than some other puzzle games. The games comes with 72 levels, and a dedicated player could probably solve them all in one hour, then spend another hour solving for three stars, then have nothing left to do in the game until the next update comes out.
One place where Pudding Monsters equals Cut the Rope is in its presentation. The game is polished in its look and delightfully animated. In fact, it shares a real design aesthetic with Cut the Rope, and little Om Nom would probably be happy noshing on a Pudding Monster. This polished presentation is part of the game’s charm, and it makes the puzzles themselves more enjoyable.
Ultimately, I don’t see Pudding Monsters having the longevity that Cut the Rope has enjoyed. Larger boards and new kinds of puddings will certainly help in future updates, but it just doesn’t feel like has the potential for depth and variety that we got from Zeptolab’s first hit. Still, it’s definitely fun for the time you’ll spend with it, and the promise of future updates and the goodwill that Zeptolabs carries over from Cut the Rope means this is one you should probably check out.
Our Score: 4 out of 5