UK-based social and mobile games developer, Geek Beach is moving into the realm of 3D puzzle games with its most recent title, the $0.99 A Monster Ate My Homework for both the iPhone and iPad devices. Although puzzle games, especially physics-based ones, are not exactly uncommon on iOS, very few have gone the 3D route.
A Monster Ate My Homework is a simple 3D physics puzzle title, where users try to save their homework by knocking blocks dubbed “monsters” off a platform. Saving homework… ironic. Regardless, the simple concept makes for a decent change away from the oversaturated 2D puzzle space, and while the title is not overly difficult, it is at least attempting to be a little bit different.
Players are granted a small box floating upon a pond with the objective of knocking all the monsters — represented by angry looking blocks — into the water. However, this must be done without knocking homework over as well. In each level, there are always three pieces of homework.
In order to knock off the monsters, players lob rubber balls with a simple tap and they rotate around the level to find the optimal angle. Depending on where they are hit, they fall accordingly. As many of the levels aren’t difficult, the secondary goal is to score as many stars (up to three) as possible, with one star removed for each piece of homework that falls. Players need to try to use as few balls as possible.
A set number of stars is required in order to unlock subsequent puzzle sets, with each set hosting 30 or so puzzles. It takes a while to earn enough stars to unlock new level sets, but the effort is well worth it as new levels incorporate new monsters and environmental hazards.
Initially, monsters are merely rectangular blocks of varying weight. However, as levels progress, they begin to come in small box shapes or spheres, and sometimes they’re even explosives. Moreover, later levels challenge users with teetering stacks of monsters and homework. It takes a while to get to these more interesting levels and it can become tedious to repeat old levels just to unlock better ones.
While the game is integrated with Game Center, the achievements players are asked for don’t really feel unique. They mostly consist of earning more stars and unlocking new levels (something the player is already doing). Moreover, the top spots in the leaderboards are clearly broken as there are individuals with thousands or even millions of stars. That’s more than is possible in the game.
Complaints aside, it is admirable that Geek Beach is moving puzzle games into the newer realm of 3D. A Monster Ate My Homework isn’t dramatically new, but players do have to think about each layout in three dimensions in order to achieve an optimal score. Fun in its own right, it has a bit of twitch gameplay when users accidentally hit a pile of homework and must quickly rotate the camera to strike from the opposite side and prevent it from falling.