It's reductive to communicate what a game is like by using the shorthand of what other game(s) it most resembles, but it's true: Monotaur [Free] meshes the obscuro super-toughness of Ikaruga (the infamous 2001 Japanese arcade hit) with the pellet-munching mania of Pac-Man (the arcade game you already know about).

There's a bit more to it than that, but first let's delve into the logistics of how this wonderful Frankenstein lurches about.

It's a tilt-to-win game, only you never really will win. The action goes until your reflexes can't keep up: You control a little single-colored horned dot (a monotaur!) and tilt your device around to navigate the screen. Why do you want to move around the screen? Because you want to gobble up the other dots that match your color and float about freely.

You can switch colors by tapping the screen, which takes you from white to black and then back. Black can only absorb black dots, and white can only absorb white dots. If you clash colors with a dot that you smack into, you die.

It's that simple, only anything but.

The biggest gripe against Monotaur is that there are more wrinkles in the game via other modes, but you can only unlock them after getting sufficiently frustrated (ie: earning enough "experience") to earn that privelege.

Of course, you can pony up the money for an in-app transaction to unlock the modes right out of the gate -- which also disables the ads that pop up between games -- but that's akin to paying $5 just to make sure the princess isn't going to be in another castle. It'd defeat the purpose and go against the developer's vision. Plus, who wants to pay for something on a free game? Millionaires who own bedazzled limited edition U2 iPods?

The three other modes merit hustling to unlock, though, because they are far superior to the initial free-play mode available upon downloading. In all, they are: rage, pacifist, and master -- which also just happen to be my favorite adjectives to use in Mad Libs.

That bias aside, I will say that pacifist (where you have to avoid all the dots) is probably the toughest by far. And as much as I enjoy a challenge, rage mode is the most enjoyable because it allows you to kerplode large clusters of dots at will after you've picked up the requisite powerups.

So, like many iOS games that hinge on a single mechanic, how much you enjoy Monotaur will depend largely upon how enticing it sounds. It's free, which means there's a lower barrier to giving it a shot, but it also happens to scratch my particular itch. It might for you, or maybe you just need some aloe vera instead.

TouchArcade Rating

  • anada

    Reminds me more of Tilt To Live than Pac Man. Got this last week, I agree paying would ruin the fun of tearing your hair out to unlock everything.

  • araczynski

    interesting, but not really.  just not into games that don't have a proper 'end'.

  • Decaf Table

    I definitely think this type of game would be more annoying then fun. Meh, can't like 'em all!

  • rco

    Not a bad game, but how much better would it be with a touch stick? I guess *somebody* must like tilt controls.

  • Bobechi

    This is absolutely a Tilt To Live clone. Ikaruga, sure, but I'm confused by the Pac-Man reference given there are no mazes or power pellets... anyway, without variety of weapons, I'd rather play Tilt To Live and its Gaunlet mode over Monotaur any day.

  • Thri11Ki11

    Thanks for reviewing this game that I otherwise wouldn't have heard of.

  • 1Fcm

    Definitely reminds me of Tilt to Live. And thats a good thing.

  • MrAlbum

    I do think this review is not as well-written as it intended to be. Very brief mentions of the three modes are here, and Master mode isn't explained at all, at least based on what I saw. Also, the framing device of "Pac-Man meets Ikaruga" feels less apt than using "Tilt To Live meets Ikaruga", as pointed out in other comments. Sure, these are small quibbles, but readers do notice mistakes; we are all human, after all 🙂

    This does not mean the review is the bottom of the literary poop barrel, however; the author has a good grasp on active voice, has a clearly defined writing style and is able to concisely summarize the game through the course of the review, skills that every good writer needs. The review gets its point across and bows out with its conclusion, and does portray the author's experience with the game in an effective way. All of these make the review very well-written as a whole, and it got me to download the game as a result.

    I would recommend the author spend a little more time on straightening out minor details such as the ones pointed out, and give a little more thought on how they could catch further minor setbacks in future reviews. Otherwise, good review!


    Mr. Album

  • Tranceaholic

    I thought upon seeing the name: "YES! Jeff Minter finally released a new game!", then became disappointed when it became apparent it's NOT a Jeff Minter game. I will check this game out anyway though since it's free.

  • Lowwolf

    Okay, if you're going to critique the guy's writing style you should really include the fact that "rage, pacifist and master" are nouns, not adjectives.

  • ironmonkey

    Hate tilt controls, don't enjoy Ikaruga's flipping mechanic. Guess this one's not for me!

  • Rowan Edmondson

    Jeff Minter didn't make it, but according to his twitter feed he's been enjoying it 🙂

  • nitte

    This is a great little title, I totally dig it! 🙂 as said, it's very Tilt to live inspired, but with a twist. And for free, go go go! Spend to many hours on this today already 🙂

  • MasviL

    I think controls are better than Tilt to live

Monotaur Reviewed by David Wolinsky on . Rating: 4