Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
What’s a lonely Bachelor Vampire to do? You wake up one evening in a spooky (probably) Transalvanian Demon World, only to find your beautiful Blonde bombshell of a Princess has been (probably) kidnapped by some demonic creature! Well, like most besuited and caped Nosferatian creatures, you’d want to kick their asses and get her back… (probably) [Okay, enough of that! - Ed]
So begins Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess (MPSMP). Released on XBOX Live after having appeared on PSN, what follows is a simple but effective upward-scrolling platformer, where we propel the vapid Vampire through a series of ledges, vines and clouds, as he chases one monster or another before they can escape the top of the level.
This is a pretty enjoyable romp as The Duke, so called presumably because his resemblance to a certain Sesame Street character is just too close for comfort, leaps around the map. There are only two real moves; a single jump and a double jump, the second of which also spins The Duke, allowing him to ‘thwack’ his foes. Each monster must be hit three times to complete the level, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Those critters are pretty fast and each hit gives them a blast of extra speed, making you work even harder to catch them.
Were that all there was to the game then MPSMP would be a dull and boring affair, but harken for there is another aspect to the game. Each platform that Duke lands on adds one to his combo-count, making him faster. So when he racks up the counter, the more chance you have of catching those monsters. However, if he lands on a platform twice, The Duke goes back to zero.
Now for the budding score merchant, this might sound a little simplistic, but there is a lot of variety of movement on display and the count can drop from platforms with a simple flick of ‘down’, allowing him to quickly clip through a few closely placed ledges. He can then latch onto the outer walls for strategic height-gaining. In fact, the only problematic control is the dubious ability to look upwards, which pans the camera higher, while keeping the Duke rigidly fixed in place. Annoyingly, this can occasionally be triggered accidentally in moments of finger-acrobatics and seems to serve no purpose in a quickfire game such as this.
Another downside is the relative brevity of the game: There are only a handful of story levels, and while they manage to be uniquely different and linked with genuinely funny cut-scenes, the entire campaign can be completed in less than 20 minutes, start-to-end. What will keep you coming back is the conpulsion of getting a better score and improve upon your times. Also, being an XBLA indie title, the horrifically cheap price of 240MS Points is frankly a steal. That’s about 2 or 3 of your Earther pounds that you would (probably) waste on something else.