Rating : 7/10
Have you ever looked at the greatest monuments of the world – the pyramids, the stonehenges, the aqueducts – and wondered how they were constructed? With Monumental Failure, the brainchild of developers Scary Wizard Games, you can wonder no more. The game, an entertaining mix between physics-based puzzler and platformer, charges you with recreating great building works from times past to please a panel of ancient judges.
The player controls a team of builders from the ancient times, complete with era-specific outfits (customisable with hats), who have orders to push, maneuver and land certain sections of famous monuments into the right place. The caveat is that one half of your team is controlled by the WASD keys and the other half the arrow keys. The game adds an extra challenge by chucking a variety of obstacles in your way, including revolving platforms, steep runways and wafer-thin planks. Your intrepid builders will also have a range of comically ahistorical delivery methods, including jetpacks, helicopter hats and skydiving.
You’re under pressure from both time and the course ahead, and the closer you manage to position your section the more points you’ll get. Once you’re satisfied with the placement (or have given up on a block of masonry that’s fallen off a mountain) the game allows you to skip the timer countdown and get an instant rating. In a nice historical touch, your judges are the gods for which you’re building the monuments, so expect Venus to turn up to critique your wonky aqueduct.
Monumental Failure promises “fun in failure” and to some respect it delivers. A number of the 60 puzzles (spread over a selection of worlds) can be mind-numbingly challenging, especially when you have awful coordination like me.The fact that once one of your team falls off a ledge it’s almost impossible to get them back, making it ever more difficult to push your piece correctly. Despite this, it can be quite chuckle-worthy to see your monument gain a solid 3/10 due to the pieces being all over the place. Essentially, the game tries its best not to punish players for messing up. In one playthrough I had perfected Stonehenge apart from two pieces which had ended up half a field away. The game went ahead and kept them there and I found it amusing to imagine archaeologists trying to work out my haphazard building millennia into the future.
With two separate methods of control, the game actually comes into its own when you play co-operatively. With local co-op and multiplayer, trying to co-ordinate yourself and a friend is much more fun than doing it on your own. I invited my flatmate to join me in building the Great Wall of China and he added his own brand of chaos into proceedings, especially as he is a committed non-gamer who can hardly find the WASD keys half the time.
There are a number of small touches in the game which add to its charm. The gods and goddesses you’re trying to win over are well illustrated and will pop up with ratings-specific expressions. An audience will boo, clap or gasp as you try to assemble your buildings and the background music is well-crafted to sound era-specific. Despite the number of levels and variety of approaches, however, the game does become slightly stale down the road. The £10 price point may put some off considered the one-dimensional design of the title, too.
Scary Wizard Games have created a game that doesn’t really branch out much from its core premise, yet Monumental Failure doesn’t really have to. Fun in short bursts and thoroughly enjoyable when played cooperatively, it’s a great time sink for the gamer who likes to play in short bursts or have friends over for party games. Just don’t expect to be playing it well into the future.
Fun in short bursts and thoroughly enjoyable when played cooperatively, it’s a great time sink for the gamer who likes to play in short bursts or have friends over for party games. Just don’t expect to be playing it well into the future.
Financial journalist by trade, GameGrin writer by choice. Writing skills the result of one million monkeys with one million typewriters.