KOTOMON ($2.99) by Monstars Inc. is a super cute shooter game for the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch that makes you want to cuddle your weapons more than you want to kill enemies with them. This otherworldly game is on sale for $2.99 until the end of May.
Players control an adorable moon creature named Kotomon. For a second, it seems like you are about to play a Katamari Damacy knockoff because the first thing you do is start rolling a big ball. However, that is the extent of the similarities to the popular Namco rolling game. Rolling a ball in this game unlocks a friendly monster to help Kotomon beat the enemy at his own game. Players move him around simply by touching and moving a finger around on the screen in the direction that the moon man should go. The helpful assistants come in the form of little round monsters (or, “Monstars,” if you will) that can be picked up and thrown at enemies. To grab a monster, just run into it. To throw him, just tap the screen and he will shoot at the congregation of baddies, knocking them over like bowling pins.
Each monster has a different effect. One is big and slow, but causes more damage due to his size. Another takes off like a pinball and ricochets off of everything in his path, leaving destruction in his wake. One of the little guys even shoots fire.
In addition to being a simple shooter game, KOTOMON incorporates music into the movement. There is a soundtrack playing in the background that is effected by the sound made when Kotomon walks around and when the screen is tapped. If you pay close attention, you’ll hear a unique song start to form, just by your own actions.
There are 24 levels across eight different worlds. Each level gets harder than its predecessor and the last level on each world is an epic battle with 40 enemies to kill before you can move on.
The graphics are fairly low quality. In fact, the game would skip and stutter every time a new monster was unrolled. It also crashed on me twice while playing the first level in the third world. I played the game on the third-generation iPad. Hopefully, the bugs will be cleared out before the game goes to its full price of $3.99.
The controls are also awkward and it is difficult to move around. I found myself pushing my finger right off the screen in an attempt to get Kotomon to move the way I wanted him to. I’d rather see this utilize a virtual joystick instead of a loose touch-and-drag style of controller. The movement should also be tightened up a bit.
This is a very charming game and is challenging and entertaining. The first few levels are fairly easy, but once you get into the third world, the action gets bigger and better. The graphics have a problem stuttering and the movement is awkward, but for the reasonable price of $2.99, this is a great game. If you miss the sale, I’m not sure $3.99 is worth the stutter bugs and awkward controller issues.