Game: My Singing Monsters: Playground
Genre: Action, Party
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) PS4, & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Big Blue Bubble
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: US $39.99 | UK £29.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: November 9th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Big Blue Bubble
A Popular Series Comes to Switch
I had never heard of the My Singing Monsters series. But it goes to show how clueless I am as to what is deemed popular these days. Originally a hit on mobile devices the game was about collecting cute little monsters, breeding them and creating little melodies. The series would even go on to be ported to other devices including the PS Vita and the ‘nook,’ A tablet I always assumed was just to read books instead of play games. You learn something new every day.
The series would see additional games be released as well as a board game and even educational tools for teachers.. My Singing Monsters: Playground takes the loveable and charming characters from this beloved series and throws them into a party game to enjoy alone or with up to four players. But is this the sort of monster style party you want to invite into your Nintendo Switch? Let’s find out.
Let the Games Begin
Boot up the game and you are instantly welcomed by a rock monster who fans of the series may instantly recognise. You select the number of local players (up to four) then each player selects a monster from seven which seems a bit slim. There is no online feature. The game will always have four players so if you were unable to grab two additional friends or that stranger on the train doesn’t want to join in, then any empty slots will be filled with AI characters. You can then adjust their difficulty level.
If you’re playing with other fellow humans the main mode you’ll want to jump into is tournament mode. Here you select between 10, 15 or 20 mini-games to play before a winner is declared. It seems a little odd that you can’t just select your own number. Before a round starts you are presented with three random mini-games to pick from.
Before each mini-game commences a helpful tutorial screen will pop up the controls for each game. The vast majority of the mini-games only require the use of the analogue stick and up to two buttons making each game very accessible for gamers of all skill levels. Another huge praise I have for this game is the load times are super fast, a feat many will appreciate. After all, you don’t want to stop and actually talk to people on the sofa now do you? As for the mini-games themselves you kinda get the usual mixed bag you expect to see with these party games. There are 25 in total. Offerings include racing RC cars around a track, jumping over an unpredictable red hot rod without getting hit and charging up a giant rocket on a conveyor belt.
Collect Gems as Rewards
Many of the games are free for all but the game will occasionally throw in 2vs2 and even 1 vs 3 games to mix things up further. It feels like the developers did some serious homework on their party games; many of the mini-games featured felt inspired by popular titles like Fall Guys, The Mario Party series and even games like Katamari. Despite this, these mini-games are pretty solid and play well. Hey, if the formula works it works. When a mini-game ends gems are rewarded to the top three players with first place receiving the most. Speaking of Mario Party, this game also gives out random gems for weird rewards like the player that stood still the longest. I guess this is a way to give a sympathy gem to players not performing great but I guess it’s kinda cute here too.
Now you may be wondering where the singing is in all this. Well once a tournament ends and a winner is decided all the monsters will stand on their podiums and have a little sing-song which probably is the greatest reward of the entire game even if you came last in the experience.
The graphics are cute and colourful. The game is set in a sort of green Aztec like locale but you’ll be playing mini-games in the usual environments like a snow level, lava area and pitch-black area. Ok, maybe that last one is slightly different. Fans of the series will probably really appreciate their favourite monsters being presented in full 3D glory. They may be monsters but they all have massive grins on their faces making this a Monster Party suitable for absolutely all audiences.
The main niggle with this title is the game kinda feels a bit bare-bones when it comes to content. 25 games is not bad but the lustre wears off pretty fast after just a few sessions. The main appeal of this game is playing with other friends. You can play individual games in free mode but you need to unlock them in tournament mode first. The game does offer a single-player gauntlet mode which is essentially a survival mode where you see how many games you can play through with AI opponents before getting defeated. I will give some credit that the AI opponents do offer a decent challenge to players even on their normal difficulty setting. While a nice idea, playing with AI alone just isn’t as fun as with friends.
As you play you unlock little tokens which you put in a machine to unlock new outfits for the monsters and random items dotted around the main hub world. It’s a very slow grind to unlock everything and feels kind of unnecessary in a party game. Overall, for the rather high price on offer the game could really do with more content. Maybe more mini-games or just build more depth into what is already here.
Conclusion – Sing When You’re Winning
My Singing Monsters: Playground is a decent party game that feels suited to a game night for players of all skill levels. It may also particularly appeal to its fan base from the mobile platform. But once the party is over the game doesn’t have a lot going for it and that has always been the main niggle of these party-style games. I will give the game this though, when the monsters did start to sing at the end of a tournament it did bring a smile to my face. That’s gotta count for something.
Final Verdict: I Like It