Monsters, Inc. Run review

Monsters, Inc. Run is an iOS game published by Disney and developed by Get Set Games. It was one of Disney’s new mobile releases over the holiday season, and is available for $0.99 from the App Store. Its release has also presumably been timed to coincide with the 3D rerelease of the Monsters, Inc. movie in theaters.

Monsters, Inc. Run is a follow-up to Get Set’s popular free-to-play autorunner platform game Mega Run. Mega Run was widely praised for its simple to understand “one button” gameplay, wealth of content and array of unlockable items for players to acquire through leveling up and collecting coins in the levels. Experienced players were challenged to find hidden items in each level, providing plenty of incentive to replay earlier challenges — even if the items weren’t found, each replay earned the player experience points which brought them closer to unlocking more items in the in-game store, which subsequently became available as pickups in the levels once purchased. Consequently, the game gradually grew in complexity and depth the more the player played it, but it maintained its initial simplicity of control by only ever requiring the use of a single screen-size “button” to jump.

Monsters, Inc. Run takes the Mega Run formula, slaps a Monsters, Inc. skin atop it, adds some new levels and then does very little else. The gameplay is the same, the structure is the same, the unlockable powerups are the same in functionality if not appearance, and the whole thing feels like it should have been an add-on or update for Mega Run rather than a brand new game — even the menu interface is laid out identically.

This is not to say the game is bad — Mega Run is one of the best autorunners on the App Store — simply that it’s disappointing to see Get Set Games do so little to shake up the formula. To make matters worse, Mega Run was free to download with optional in-app purchases of in-game currency or to unlock content without having to level up; Monsters, Inc. Run is a paid app that features exactly the same in-app purchases, though most content may be unlocked without paying through enough grinding.

The Monsters, Inc. license is underused throughout. Players control a team of two monsters, as they are represented in the movie, but only one is on-screen at once. Collecting a special token allows the player to switch to the “scarer” of the team (Sulley in the case of the default pairing) who is able to smash through objects and enemies for a limited period — this is much the same as the powerup in Mega Run which allowed Redford to grow in size. The monsters that Mike and Sulley (or any of the other unlockable pairings) face off against in the levels are fairly generic-looking creatures that look as if they have been ripped straight from Mega Run’s assets, and very little attempt is made to tie the game in with the movie besides having the main characters playable and a flimsy, mostly irrelevant narrative revolving around rescuing Boo.

In short, Monsters, Inc. Run is a good game for those who have never played Mega Run before (or who really, really like Monsters Inc.) — but then Mega Run is free, while this costs to download. For those who enjoyed Mega Run and want more of the same, this provides just that — though the fact it is a separate game means that veteran players must unlock all the content all over again, which is particularly frustrating when it is the same content found in Mega Run. For those who enjoyed Mega Run but were expecting something more from this almost-identical quasi-sequel, however, there’s really very little reason to download this new title, sadly.

Monsters, Inc. Run is currently ranked at No. 90 in Top Paid Apps, No. 46 in Top Paid iPad Apps, No. 61 in Top Paid Games and No. 32 in Top Paid iPad Games. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.

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Taken on its own, this is a quality autorunner worthy of note; however, the fact it is almost identical to the free Mega Run cannot and should not be ignored.

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