My Singing Monsters Playground
Developer: Big Blue Bubble
Publisher: Big Blue Bubble
Genre(s): Arcade, Multiplayer, Music, Party
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on Steam, Xbox and PlayStation)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 09/11/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
My Singing Monsters is a popular mobile game focused on collecting monsters that when put together, make a lovely melody. When I heard they were making the spin-off party game, My Singing Monsters Playground, I was incredibly intrigued. I was looking forward to traditional party game features enhanced by the innovative and unique music that I enjoyed listening to in the original title. Does My Singing Monsters Playground deserve a standing ovation? Or did I leave early? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As with most party games, My Singing Monsters Playground does not have much of a story. Instead, the developers focused their efforts on including various minigames and ways to play them. There are multiple types of minigames. I played free-for-all games, paired up with a partner to take down an opposing team, and sometimes I would even take on the odds three to one. There are a variety of game types. This variety enhances the quality of the minigames, as being paired up with certain players will wildly swing the tide of the game.
I played through twenty-five unique minigames. Having played other party games in the past, I was surprised to see several concepts that have not been covered by the titles. These games were fun too. The minigames were intense, exciting, and were very easy to understand. At the same time, they were unique from each other. Each game had a distinct vibe yet the whole experience came together nicely.
Easy to Pick Up
Moreover, My Singing Monsters Playground is a great game to pick up and play with friends who do not play games often. Each minigame can be played on the waiting screen before the game begins. This tutorial method enabled players to learn the basics of the game before playing for points. This philosophy saves the time of experienced players and allows inexperienced players to practice without breaking immersion. Not only that, but the games never required complex inputs. The most advanced games had two buttons to press. The simple nature of the games made the game accessible to everyone.
Though the games did not require mastery of many options, at times the movement of characters felt strange. Specifically, turning a monster around took longer than I expected it to. This was not technically an issue, but it made the characters more difficult to control. It was only relevant in some of the games, but it made a large impact on the experience. Although I did not enjoy it, the slow turnaround equalized the game. Those who were more experienced and would be able to manoeuvre quickly by quickly turning around were unable to, and those who would not be able to utilize quick turnarounds are not penalized.
Music Makes you Lose Control
I found that the decreased mobility made the game more fun for inexperienced players, as the characters were not as mobile. Unfortunately, in single-player modes, I failed to see the value. It made the characters feel less responsive. Overall, I understand some benefits to the slow turnarounds, but I would have liked to see a faster turnaround speed. I found myself comparing the movement in My Singing Monsters Playground to Bamerang, and I realized how disappointed I was with it. It feels unresponsive in My Singing Monsters Playground. This only applies to the games where the monsters needed to walk, but it was notable enough for me to mention.
My grievances with the game do not stop with the movement. I was also disappointed with the game modes on offer. The tournament mode is simple and fun. I tried to earn as many diamonds as possible by placing well in the various minigames. The innate concept is fun. Unfortunately, it is let down by the lack of options. First, there are only twenty-five total games, which means after a few tournaments, I had played every game. Moreover, there were no options to toggle. Sure, this makes it easier to begin a game, but one option was exceedingly frustrating. There was no way to toggle who gets to choose the minigame. By default, the player in last place overall gets to choose the minigame. This is fine in theory, but it is annoying to have computer players picking the stages randomly every game. I wanted to customize my experience.
The lack of options did not stop there. They carried over into the solo game modes as well. The Single Player Gauntlet is a competition that tested how many minigames I could win consecutively. Unfortunately, it did not have separate leaderboards depending on the difficulty of the computer. This meant I could raise the high score on the easiest difficulty. It made the experience much less rewarding, as it was easy to build a high score on the easiest difficulties.
Additionally, there is no online play. The only way to play with other people is to play with them in person. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but for a game of this price point, it was something I would have expected.
I was even disappointed by the character roster. Characters do not have unique abilities. All changes are cosmetic. This works excellently. Not having a competitive advantage with different characters means that each character is evenly matched. Though the functionality of the roster was fine, I was disappointed by the selection. My Singing Monsters has a host of unique and interesting characters. I was expecting to be able to play this wide array of characters in My Singing Monsters Playground. Unfortunately, there were only seven playable characters. I was disappointed by this especially because I was looking forward to playing as many of my favourite characters from the series.
Feeling Comfortable in your new Skin
Instead of playable characters, I could unlock skins for the existing characters. Sure, it was exciting to unlock a new skin, but they never widely changed the appearance. Plus, they seemed to serve as an incentive to increase the longevity of the game. The unlockable skins were a nice addition, but they seemed to serve as padding for the lack of reasons to revisit the title.
Overall, I enjoyed the gameplay, and I liked the innovative minigames. However, I think the game does not feature enough content, especially at the current price point. To put the nail in the coffin, the game froze on me two times, forcing me to restart it and there are long loading times. I think the core gameplay experience is fun, but I think there needs to be a bit of polishing and additional features before I could recommend it.
My Singing Monsters Playground featured a lovely atmosphere for my minigames. The vibrant colour scheme made the minigames playful and fun. I thought the minigames had delightful scenery that fit the theme of the game as well. The music however was a bit disappointing. I was expecting the goofy and nonsensical music from the original games, with distinct voices from separate monsters. Instead, the music was more streamlined and while it was still atmospheric and reminiscent of the original title, I thought it lacked the personality that I enjoyed in the original title. Overall, the atmosphere was good. I just had high expectations for the music and was let down by the arrangements on offer.
My Singing Monsters Playground offers an enjoyable gameplay experience while playing, but in the long term, it does not offer many reasons to return. As someone who enjoyed the My Singing Monsters franchise, I was expecting to see many of my favourite monsters making appearances and a plethora of minigames to perform. While the minigames on offer are of high quality and are unique, the lack of options and underwhelming longevity severely hindered my experience with this title. All and all, the game still is a lot of fun, but it is not perfect.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase My Singing Monsters Playground on the Nintendo eShop here
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