We spend our lives killing them. Poor little creatures that often show little aggression to us, except maybe self-defense, or protecting their little bit of savings that they keep in that chest in the corner of their room. We don’t think of the poor monsters, or of their children.
Monsters & Medicine changes that, putting us in charge of a hospital for all these injured creeps. Running a Monster hospital isn’t easy. You see, in case you never noticed, monsters have this fatal habit of dying. They also have pretty varied physiology, meaning a red room will only heal red monsters, while green monsters can only get healed in green rooms et al.
The turn-based system means that thought is more important than reflexes, with time ticking down on every monster in the queue outside your hospital for every action you perform. Do you place a new room, one of the game’s various boosters, build a road, heal a single monster in the queue outside or swap your current hand of cards for a new set? Each action you take costs one unit of time, at which point your rooms will heal the current monsters by an amount of health equal to the room’s healing rate and the creatures outside will either enter empty rooms, or lose a point of health.
It sounds easy, until you see that monsters are pretty much just as bad as people when it comes to making queues. Even if a room for red monsters is available, the poor red guy won’t be let past all those stupid blue monsters who are waiting for a room, so it is up to you to watch the queue and prepare for what is coming as much as possible, even if it means replacing a room. But if you don’t have a red room card in hand, you need to shuffle or hope the next card is red. That is where this puzzle game starts to become really stressful. Did you use your starting rooms and moves as efficiently as possible? Did you waste your extra capacity boosters on monster colours that seem to be mysteriously lacking from the mid-level queue? Sometimes a win is hard won, with you escaping mere moments before more monsters die outside your hospital than on the final near-genocidal Serious Sam level.
When the queue is clogged with monsters, the game tends to slow down and not animate properly, which is something I hope they fix soon. I’m pretty sure it isn’t my i7 battling with calculations. Other than that gripe, 100 purposely built levels and an endless, randomly generated puzzle mode will keep you busy in nice bite-sized chunks.
Monsters & Medicine, beneath its cute graphics and harmless, friendly looking monsters, lurks a game about ruthless efficiency. You want to heal as many monsters as possible with as few casualties as possible, but as long as you don’t fail to reach your healing quota, do you really mind losing one or two monsters along the way? Hmm, I think I am the real monster here. I better get to finishing all 100 of these puzzle levels, to make good for all the creeps I have slaughtered in my life. Except for those purple guys, they are life-stealing bastards.
Monsters & Medicine costs $5, which is a nothing for a game you can play during your coffee break or every time your boss goes to have a smoke. Oh, it is also home grown, so if you feel like supporting local game development, and the lucky guys living the dream. I suggest you go buy it.