Last year Adult Swim Games and PikPok collaborated to blow our minds with a match-3 game. Yeah that’s right, a match-3, one of the most tired and overdone genres on the App Store. It was really their rethinking of the matching mechanics and a high level of presentation that reinvigorated our match-3 love with Monsters Ate My Condo [$0.99], and now almost exactly one year later they’ve done it again with the follow-up Super Monsters Ate My Condo [Free].

As those of us who grew up with a Super Nintendo or the Street Fighter II series have come to learn, slapping “super” onto the front of your game’s title indicates that it’s built upon a familiar experience, with upgrades or new features to create a better overall experience. You weren't just playing with power, you were playing with SUPER power. That is true of Super Monsters Ate My Condo as well.

The core gameplay concepts remain largely unchanged from the original. You’re still dealing with a condo tower that gets built in the middle of the screen by individual floors dropping from above. The floors come in four different colors and by matching three or more of each color those condo floors will combine into a single, upgraded floor. Combine once to form a Bronze floor, then combine three Bronzes for a Silver floor, three Silvers for a Gold, and three Golds for a Diamond.

Then you have your monsters. There’s four of them, each matching a color of the condo floors. There are always two of the monsters on screen at once, one on each side of your condo tower. You can swipe a floor either left or right into a monster and the'll gobble it up, making the tower collapse down to fill the void of the missing floor and hopefully create some matches. If your match is the same color as one of the currently active monsters, they essentially "tag out" and one of the other monsters takes its place.

The catch is that the monsters only like eating the floors that match their own color, so feed them too many of a different color and eventually they’ll get angry and shake your tower. Just the act of swiping floors can throw your tower off kilter, and angering a monster will ensure it gets knocked around even further. Making matches will straighten out your tower a tiny bit, but it’s something you’ll have to always keep an eye on since if your tower collapses and falls to the ground, it’s game over. You can also make them angry by not feeding them anything at all for too long, so it's something that needs to be monitored while you play.

Special types of condo floors enter the mix too, like a concrete one that cannot be swiped away and can only be cleared by making a match next to it, or a bomb condo which will explode and shake your tower up if not cleared in time. Super Monsters Ate My Condo introduces some additional new types of condos, including a clock condo that can add time to your play session or an acid condo which will slowly eat through the floors below it until you clear it away.

Each monster has their own unique special ability, too. Feed them an upgraded floor and you’ll activate their power for a short time. How long it's active is based on the grade of floor you feed them, like a Gold Floor will make the ability last longer than a Silver floor, and so on. An example of these abilities is the red monster Boat Head who slows time and puts the other monsters to sleep so they don’t get angry and mess with you, and it also prevents “bad” floors like the bomb and acid ones from causing you harm.

In the original Monsters Ate My Condo you had an Endless mode where difficulty would gradually increase and you kept on going until your tower finally fell. There was also a Time Attack mode which gave you 2 minutes to score as high as possible. In Super Monsters Ate My Condo, this 2 minute timed mode is the main mode, with no sign of the Endless mode.

This is actually a welcome change, since games in the original could take a VERY long time to complete, which isn’t so conducive to a mobile experience. It feels more focused now too, though I’ll admit I wish the Endless mode was still there as an option for when I was in the mood for a long session.

However, my favorite new addition to the game is a sweet Jetpack Joyride-style mission system. It’s similar to the goals in the first game, but with a little more meaning behind them. You’re presented with 3 missions at a time, and completing all 3 will give you stars which go towards a leveling system and a fresh batch of missions. What’s interesting is that some core elements, like some of the special condo floor types, are actually unlocked through this leveling and mission system.

I thought it was kind of weird to lock away such intrinsic parts of the game, but as I kept playing I actually grew to appreciate it. It really is a good way to ease players into the more advanced nuances of the gameplay, and I love always having a set of goals to shoot for with each game I play. It’s very meta, and encourages me to give it “just one more go” more so than the original game since I’m anxious to level up my profile some more and see what I’ll unlock next. Having these shorter game times really works well with this system.

Now I need to address the biggest change in Super Monsters Ate My Condo, and it’s something that will likely flavor many peoples’ opinions of the game. There is now an in-game currency and a new shop that sells special booster items. You earn coins just through playing and, obviously, you can purchase more through IAP if you wish. It’s not a bad idea in and of itself, but these booster items will definitely affect the kinds of scores you can attain, and consequently the purity of the scoring.

The boosters are initially unlocked through the mission system, but they’re consumable and require coins each time you want to use them in a game. This means that people who pay for a bunch of IAP coins will be able to use these perks liberally, compared to those who just earn coins organically through play, which is a painfully slow process. In addition to the boosts, there’s also an assortment of hats you can buy for your monsters that will increase your score multiplier, and these too require a pretty large amount of coins to purchase, but thankfully are permanently unlocked once bought.

Technically the boosters and hats are available for everybody, so it’s not like IAP is required to play Super Monsters Ate My Condo. And you certainly still need the skill to actually play well when using the boosts. But I can’t help but feel that those who drop their real life cash for the in-game kind will always have the upper hand, which is unfortunate for a game that’s so focused on high scoring. Ideally I would love two separate leaderboards, one for those using boosts and one that doesn’t allow them and keeps things pure. Maybe in a future update. Brad and Eli touch on some of this in our TA Plays of Super Monsters Ate My Condo.

Despite the currency and consumable booster system, I’m still having a ridiculously good time with Super Monsters Ate My Condo. It really does improve on the vast majority of what made the original great, earning the “super” in its title. The addition of a vanilla leaderboard and an Endless mode would perfect the package for me even further, but as it is I’m really hooked on completing missions and leveling up, and the boost and hats are still pretty fun to use, though kind of imbalanced. It's definitely a more strategic game this time around with the new condo types, shorter games, and lots of combinations of perks to try.

If you enjoyed the first Monsters Ate My Condo, I think this is an upgrade that's worth your time and dollar. It looks better, it sounds better, and it still has that completely wacky style that’s almost impossible not to love. If you're worried about the purity of scoring, you can always jump over to the original, or "separate classic mode" as I'm going to start calling it. The two games are very similar. However, there's been so much improvement in practically every area that Super Monsters Ate My Condo easily bests its already fantastic predecessor, and I think offers a different enough experience that it's worth keeping both versions in your gaming rotation.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Andy C83

    Shiny.

  • http://twitter.com/mguniverse Danny Perski

    Another five star review?! You guys are just giving these away now huh?!

    #TouchArePaid

    • http://twitter.com/mguniverse Danny Perski

      I hope everyone here knows I'm being sarcastic. But in all seriousness, this game is a lot of fun. Very polished, well worth the ten dimes it costs to pick this game up.

  • Synthetic Void

    Alright... TA officially forgot how to review games. 

    • TheFrost

      Yep

  • Himmat Singh

    Wow...three reviews on TouchArcade in 24 hours? Must be some pretty good time I guess in iOS gaming.

  • bradnicholson

    Ron Paul for president

  • lookitsdan

    This game is slightly better than the original, which was awesome.  Ninety-nine cents well spent, I say!

  • Hoodie78

    Been playing a little bit, but haven't seen any new condo types. Would've been nice to hear them described in this review. As it is, I just don't see what's been added other than IAPs and the elimination of a mode. The game doesn't do a good job of telling you about it's features. I blew all my free coins on dumb, expensive hats before I even realized there were boosts. I love the original MAMC, but I feel like I wasted money on this "update". I hope I'm wrong!

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Read the tutorials, they explain all the condo types. They slowly get unlocked through the mission system, so at first there aren't any.

  • rco

    How did the words "painfully slow" appear in a five star review? What does it take to lose half a star?

    • Andy C83

      You know, there are way more than two words in that review. Besides, giving a game full marks does not, and will never equate to the game being perfect. Why is that so difficult for people to understand?

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        I don't know, brother. I don't know...

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        I feel like if I knew the answer to that question I'd be better off putting my intelligence towards things like solving the world energy crisis.

      • JohnS9

        Spot on!! Reviewing reviews is dumb, just move on guys!

  • http://twitter.com/superpac Chris Johnston

    Quick hint - if you purchased the Coin Doubler item, spin the wheel and win double coins next game AND hit the 5,000 spot on the wheel on the next game - you'd get 20k coins in one shot. The likelihood of it happening is low, but, the grinding is made less painfully slow with the Doubler in general.

  • runliketurtles

    I really like MAMC and PikPok in general, but this game is a HUGE disappointment. The IAP ruin the experience for me. While not technically "required" my options are grind a few games to gain enough coins to use my full allotment of powerups, or dump more money into IAP. Or play without powerups I guess (but then good luck getting a higher score those times).

    Never again will I blindly buy a PikPok game.

  • McCREE

    I'll wait for it to go free, which it will, rather than pay for this "cash to score well" crap.

  • Gabriel.Voyager

    5 star for this time limit one game mode only, full of IAP, ruin of a wonderful game?
    Seriously?!

  • slamraman

    At the end of the day it doesn't really matter and the review is in the writing but I do think that these 5 star reviews are pushing it a little. Although iOS games are perhaps more disposable as an artform than music if very average music by well respected reviewers started getting full marks then I would be annoyed as there's an element of trust and respect sometimes between reviewer and reviewee. Anyhows, no big shakes but you really are in danger of completely diluting 5 star reviews. I did like Gods of Blade though and it seems noone else did.

  • GSJ1977

    I think I have decoded the TA star system. I believe it translates as:

    2 stars = bad
    3 stars = mediocre
    4 stars = awesome
    5 stars = fecking awful

  • willi_werkel

    I dont like the sequel so much. Those goals are nice, but: Where is the Endless Mode?

  • jimjim27

    How can you review a game that you clearly haven't played almost at all? The green monster boosts your score? We can even see you still getting tutorial tips from the first few matches. 

    Don't bother reviewing a game if you haven't played it much - bah.

  • themostunclean

    What's meta about having a goal system? Seems like they're just trying to sound current by using it. Go look it up, or watch an episode of "Community". A goal system is actually pretty much the opposite-a pretty commonplace, cut and dry system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seantubbs Sean Tubbs

    I can't stop playing this game. 

Super Monsters Ate My Condo! Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 5