Where have all the monsters gone? Are those days of smashing buildings and devouring helpless civilians part of a bygone era of gaming? Well wonder no more, as the PSN latest monster mash Eat Them(!) is here to satisfy all your destructive needs. With various mission types, cel-shaded comic book style and the endlessly creative monster lab, Eat Them(!) is a simply addictive title in tradition of Rampage and War of the Monsters.
It’s been a few years since I’ve played a game where instead of playing a hero defending the city from a horrible smashy monster-thing you ARE the horrible monster and your only concern is wrecking havoc and scaring (or eating) any civilians stupid enough to not run. I must say, it’s a welcome feeling that I didn’t know I missed.
The game begins as a ‘reformed’ mad scientist publicly reveals the latest in monster technology. This turns out to be a complete lie and thus your stompy smashy career begins. Controls for the monster are simple, with the L1/R1 acting as either arm, circle to stomp, square to kick, and triangle for optional support weapons. For crowd control, L2 activates the specialty attack of the monsters head (paralyzing roars, laser beams, fire breath, etc.) and R2 to eat humans or pick up and throw objects. You’ll find in the later levels R2 will be your best friend as eating the miniature people is the only way to replenish health.
The single player campaign is divided into 9 comics, alternating between individual unique story missions and various challenge missions. The challenge missions range from survival, maximum destruction, races and eating humans. Performance is ranked gold, silver or bronze, with the requirements for each being displayed at the start of the level. While bronze is a passing rank, there’s incentive to replay until getting the gold as the higher ranks reward you with parts to create and customize new monsters. One thing that should be said are loading times, they suck. Be prepared also to press X to close the load screen entering or exiting a level, kinda tedious but what can you do.
Multiplayer mode adds little additional content, simply allowing up to four players tackle the same single player missions locally. This can come in handy if one or two particular medals are eluding you. The screen is shared differently depending on the mission type. Races appear as split screen, while story and other missions focusing on damage use a single screen that zooms in and out with relation to how close the monsters are to each other. Despite the ability to play as any monster, including custom builds, the original color palates are swapped for those of bright neon, presumably to provide distinction between players. All in all, its an okay mode but doesn’t yield to the best multiplayer experience.
While the game comes set with 4 pre-made monsters to take out and demolish the city with, the monster lab allows you to build custom beasts using parts unlocked through the campaign. Unlocked parts are labeled as new until selected and saved to a creature. Each piece changes your monster stats slightly, whether it’s increasing the amount of damage dealt, the speed and agility heavy or light pieces provide, or the level of energy required to keep the giant moving (keep an eye on this when putting a monster together, or you might find staying alive difficult). My only complaint is that the special attacks each head has aren’t listed, as well as the function of support equipment and weapons. Without a clue what they do leads to a decent amount of time wasted jumping between loading levels and the lab, testing pieces one at a time.
That being said, Eat Them(!) is a fine downloadable game for those with a fondness for destruction and a few bucks burning a hole in their pocket.
Note: The Eat Them! review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.