Toys vs. Monsters

Points for effort, Toys vs. Monsters.

By Daavpuke, Posted 07 Feb 2015

There isn’t a lot of bite left in tower defense. Every other game bends itself sideways just to see an original grain against its peers. While Toys vs. Monsters doesn’t necessarily alter that much, a small price and a clever angle make it worthwhile on a handheld.

A straightforward plot can be found in the apt title. Two factions go to war, each with their own units. On the defensive, toys can set up piggy banks or rubber duckies for a fee. To acquire the necessary resources, the interface adds a generator that needs to either be fueled by batteries or cranked to produce more juice. That latter part is up to the player, who needs to rotate a dynamo on the touchscreen continuously, to fire out jolts.

Toys vs. Monster,Nintendo,3DS,Review

It’s this active spinning mechanism that changes tower defense from a more laidback approach to, at least, a constant factor. At all times, powering the generator provides more funds, so there’s no reason not to do it, certainly not at the starting build phase. Each structure or toy costs a certain amount, which can vary significantly. Some options provide more firepower, walls block off incoming monsters, while others even do periodic one-hit kills.

Having the proper means to build is vital, because Toys vs. Monsters is a destructive game. The tile grid that makes up the spots to put down units takes up the entire screen. As such, the front rows receive immediate assaults and crumble quickly. Without a good priority for a lane, items will need to be replaced frequently and the more that happens, the more power is needed. Together with the rotation element, construction and harrowed preservation make for an elevated dynamic. Rotate, build, replace, repeat. It can be a split second affair to get around.

In order to put some extra spice in play, toys have a cool time, meaning they can’t be replaced instantly, even with the proper funds. So, while some more costly structures fare better against the onslaught, it’s not possible to always prep a lane with the right equipment. Instant improvisation is required. Putting in a quick dud also leverages wasting resources, in a sense, against erecting the correct or desired element in the lane. Waiting compromises security, not doing so drains the till. Meanwhile, monsters of all kinds keep spawning. Some crash instantly through a tile, others skip rows to avoid beefier structures. What to do? Better think fast.

Toys vs. Monster,Nintendo,3DS,Review

That said, Toys vs. Monsters isn’t exactly infallible in its design. There is a certain sweet spot that can be ridden for large sections of the game. About mid-challenge, it’s possible to have a full grid with near unstoppable capacity that only requires front row maintenance. It is a drawback on the creativity given with different options, but the dynamic of churning resources and replacements still applies, so it’s not a dead drop either. Resting isn’t advised. Some mid-to-late game content also tries to throw in a few more variations, though it only mitigates part of the problem.

It might look dated and apply a standard tile grid, but Toys vs. Monsters does try to get some bits and pieces of flair where it can. Dynamic fund generation and chaotic building mechanisms keep the field lively, while enemies keep pouring in. It’s not earth-shattering, but its angle has something to keep boredom from setting in too soon in an otherwise stale tower defense genre.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): EnjoyUp Games
Developer(s): EnjoyUp Games
Genres: Strategy
Themes: Tower Defense
Release Date: 2014-12-18

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