A Monster Ate My Homework


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Rating: 4.6/5 (400 votes)
| Comments (20) | Views (70)

joyeA Monster Ate My HomeworkYou spent all evening preparing your homework, carefully affixing the gold stars to the apples, and gluing a stack of books together. But you carelessly left it out on top of a box in some kind of floating void. You should have known a bunch of monster blocks would come in overnight and arrange themselves in complicated balancing acts with your precious work. It's a common scenario, and it can only be solved with a limitless supply of thrown balls. At first glance, it's a physics puzzle, but this time it's in glorious Unity 3D, and that ends up significantly changing the playing experience. A Monster Ate My Homework, by Geek Beach, actually ends up feeling more like a carnival game of skill than a typical phuzzle.

Throughout the 30 levels, you'll be using your mouse to aim (with a convenient crosshair) and clicking to toss a ball. To rotate the game field, you can use [WASD] or [arrow] keys, or you can click and hold to drag the field around. You will always have three pieces of homework in a level (either stacks of books or round apples), and depending on the level, you will have a number of monsters and scenery pieces. Monster pieces can be distinguished from scenery pieces because they have faces and like to grunt at you. All monster pieces must be knocked out of the level to beat it. Scenery pieces are usually impossible to knock off, and knocking them off doesn't count one way or another. Once all monster pieces are removed, you get one to three stars depending on how many pieces of homework you kept. There is no timer, nor is there any limit to the number of balls you can throw. The game does keep track of your best score in terms of number of balls for levels, but there are no achievements associated with it.

A Monster Ate My HomeworkAnalysis: Any player of regular phuzzle games has had this experience: you click right where the walkthrough says to click, but for some reason, a butterfly in Rio flaps its wings or whatever, and it doesn't work. And then you try it again and it does work. In 3D games, these little quirks of physics at least feel as if they're amplified. A Monster Ate My Homework seems to anticipate this. Rather than the usual 2D phuzzle approach, where your projectiles are precious commodities and extreme accuracy and precise timing are necessary, the level designs themselves often encourage hurling balls with abandon. It's like a messy no-holds-barred fist fight compared to a fencing match.

That's not to say that patience and a keen eye won't help, whether in brawling or in A Monster Ate My Homework. Especially in levels with bomb monsters, you'll want to think carefully before throwing, lest you have the bomb monster explode off all your homework at the last moment. Levels with moving parts also reward timing. But the limitless balls work in your favor, in that they can be used just as easily to push teetering homework back onto the playing field as they can to knock monsters off. All of this contributes to the messy, freewheeling, trial and error atmosphere.

When it comes to other definitions of the word "atmosphere", for A Monster Ate My Homework you're going to want to flip in the dictionary to "charming". The music and sound effects are controlled separately, which is a plus, because while the "sixth-graders pulling off a caper" music is nice, it can get a little old. Hearing the monsters gurgle when you hit them in the face with a ball never gets old, though. Take that, tongue-sticker-outer-er!

When I first described this game to some other JIG reviewers, I called it "a phuzzle game... but in 3D!" I really didn't do the game justice. A better one sentence summary would be "a carnival milk bottle game... only better and on your computer... and starring adorable monsters!" If only beating the game earned you an inflatable turtle or some oversized novelty sunglasses.

Play A Monster Ate My Homework

20 Comments

Nice and Enjoyable game, good design, really liked the mechanics, the balls.

But..

For me it got pretty repeatable eventually, the game is pretty easy but it relies on the player to want to achive 3 stars every level, thats atleast how I played til a point I just got bored and started shooting everything, thats when I realised how easy the game actually is.

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Procrastinateher February 23, 2011 7:27 PM

The graphics are adorable, but I really couldn't be bothered working out why I couldn't knock a monster off a stack of books without knocking the whole thing over.

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Fun game. Loved the noises the monsters made.

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I actually found it remarkably taxing trying to get the three stars and I thought the game construct was great (graphics, sounds, music and gameplay).

The thing I found the mst refreshing was not having a cap on the amount of balls I fired as that was the most exhilirating aspect of it. Still, have gotten rather stuck with level 17.

Great use of Unity too.

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Not working for me. Says no plugin available. Yet I have Java installed, how else could I run a lot of stuff... Any thoughts?

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Bryce Herdt February 24, 2011 12:36 PM

Gemini, you have to look for Unity. A web search should find it fast.

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Any clue what the hidden achievement is?

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@Gemini: Just underneath the title of every review there's a Platform designation indicating what you need to play the game.

For browser games, there will also be a plug-in info link next to it that you can click to get the latest plug-in version.

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Hey dude... EXELENTE game! I haven't played stuff like this in a long while. The game was original, which made it a new experience which is fun. The game had good graphics....which, well, is good of course. The controls were easy, to learn and to use. You could however have made it a bit more challenging.
So yeah, that's what i have to say. A overall score of 4/5 is given because it had all the elements to get to success, except that it was too easy.

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I can't get it to load. I have the Unity plug-in, and it starts to load there, but once the Unity screen loads, a blue Monster Ate My Homework screen comes up saying 'Loading...' but no moving parts to indicate (and that disappears if i leave that page).

I'm running Chrome vs. 9 on OS X 10.5.8

Also tried it on Firefox 3.6.13 but that went even worse. I only got the Unity screen telling me 'the content was stopped because a fatal content error has been detected'.

[Try reinstalling the latest Unity plugin. I've just tested the game successfully on OSX 10.5.8 with Chrome 9 and with Firefox 3.6.13. The version of the Unity Player I have installed is: version 2.6.1f3. -Jay]

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I'm with cerulean, haven't found any "hidden" stuff to be awarded the achievement.

Any of you have found this?

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On the "congratulations" screen you get after you finish, you can get the ability to throw balls by clicking the help icon. At least, you can on the the "perfect" one. I didn't try it on the other one.

I can't find any way to win the pseudo-level, but I can knock the homework over and lose.

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Sorry for posting two comments in a row, but I figured out the last achievement. It's:

Shot 300 Balls

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Anyone have hints on how to get three stars on in grade 4, levels, 7, 8, 9, 12, 18, 19? These are tough ones for me. Thx.

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@NJS:

Level 7: Shoot the front roller off the platform before the large book-stack rolls onto it. Without that roller, the book-stack will come to a halt partway down.

Level 8: Shoot the red monster once, turn your view 180°, and shoot the other red monster once. The apples should be closer to the middle and possibly under some monsters. Now shoot the exploding monster. All the homework should stay on the platform.

Level 9: Wait for the apple to roll about halfway down the ruler, then shoot it a little off center. This should cause the apple to roll off the side of the ruler.

Level 12: Turn your view 45° so you have a shot at the exploding monster and shoot it. All the apples should land on the platform.

Level 18: First, get rid of all the monsters except the black one. The black monster and apple should be in their original positions and the book-stacks will probably be resting on the incline. Now, shoot the apple so it falls onto the incline, shoot the black monster off the platform, and keep shooting the apple to knock it back up the incline. A little bit after the last monster falls, you'll win, and the fact that you couldn't keep the apple from falling forever won't matter.

Level 19: Shoot the black monster from your current view. Aim for the very top so it doesn't disturb the ruler when it goes. If it hits the other book-stack on the way down, aim just a little lower next time. Rotate a bit to the right for a better shot and shoot the green monster. Rotate 180° and shoot the orange monsters a bunch of times. If they fall over slowly they might take the book-stack with them, so you want to knock them out forcefully.

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How about knocking off the snark and making with 3-star walkthroughs for 13 to 29?

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Stupid guy July 16, 2011 3:10 AM

I was playing on the lvl 9 grade 3 and I hit a hidden switch and the floor tilted and I got an achievement. Now when I try to find it, I can't. Anyone know where it is?

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Stuck on lvl. 23 of grade 4 ! Somebody help! How to know down the far away monster

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@stupid guy

the switch is on the bottom right under the main play field. If you tilt right you can just see it.

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coloradoevie February 10, 2012 6:46 PM

@ Naomi, I have seen those switches and tried every height I can imagine but still can't hit it. I see that it has a place for 2 balls? How did you hit it?

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