Life was easy for the microbial denizens of the Soup System, all floating around and eating soup. Then Plubert from Pluto came by and spoiled the fun by trying to freeze everyone. Plubert's a bit of a bully—maybe he has problems at home?
Now you'll need to rescue all the little monsters in Monster Soup [$0.99] before they get frozen solid. It's a race against the clock. The top of the screen is death: any monster that stays there too long freezes into a chunk of ice. As they float upwards, you need to spot monsters of the same color and match them by dragging lines between them. Your lines can't pass through monsters of different colors.
It's not quite the same match-3 formula you've already played a dozen times. There's no grid to match on, only a loose collection of floating monsters that travel at slightly different speeds. You can only match what you can connect with straight lines, so the order you highlight the little guys makes a big difference, as does your timing. Numbers also come into play—match 5 of the same monster, and you get a power-up, or 9 to release a more powerful version. For example, matching enough purple monsters give you a bonus coin, which multiplies points for a while, while yellow monsters unleash a starshine that melts away a bit of the ice.
As you let monsters freeze at the top of the screen, ice chunks form and eat up your play area. If the ice touches the bottom, you're done. Monster Soup uses a level system, but the levels aren't unlockable - you always start from level one and keep going until you fail. Collect enough points in a level and you move on to the next, where your monsters will float upwards even faster. And any ice that forms maintains between levels, so as you start to fail, you have even less room to work with. The urge to just start randomly swiping is strong, but that's sure to finish you off.
I've been a fan of Kieffer Bros. for a while. Their previous color matching game, Orba [$0.99], has permanent home on my phone. Monster Soup is a pleasant departure from their usual style. Its design is looser and more relaxed than any of their other games, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of its art style, best described as "super cute." The cheerful music is great, too.
There's only the one game mode, but it's pretty replayable. Aside from chasing high scores on the leaderboard, you can also track down 63 Game Center achievements. It's got plenty of the achievements that I love, which reward you for doing something cool, but also a few would require more persistence than I see anyone putting into the game, like Work Week, which unlocks after playing for 40 hours. But hey, maybe that's just the challenge you're looking for.
I know the matching-game pool is crowded, but Monster Soup distinguishes itself with style and original matching mechanics. I've gotten quite addicted to pushing for a higher score and working on achievements. There are some positive early impressions from our forum users, too. Check it out. The Soup System needs you.
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