Developed by Double Fine Production and Published by Warner Bros Interactive, Sesame Street; Once upon a Monster can comfortably be described as an adventure game for children. It is also well suited to those of you who are like me “a 32 year old big kid at heart”. As we are all well aware by now usual children’s games are normally made up of repetitive game play, poor graphics and colours thrown all over the place; however with Double Fine products we may be in with a little shock.
Sesame Street was a very popular TV series for children (of all ages) that premiered in the 1969 and surprisingly not only kids would rush home to watch it, I remember the days when my father would rush in from work in time to catch the series. Not all children will be too familiar with Sesame Street even though in 2009 it celebrated its 40th anniversary, but with this title it may well come back onto the scene.
Once Upon a Monster, for the X Box 360 is played using the Kinect sensor, which enables the user to control the on screen characters rather than the usual game pad; as with all kinect games you need to get used to the controls and timings. The actual game takes shape as an interactive story book aimed at children, with our very clumsy Elmo and the cookie fanatic Cookie Monster taking control as the main hosts. As you begin your journey through the story book you will come face to face with other characters both new and old. The story book is split into 6 stages, each and every stage will take approx the same time as an original episode of Sesame Street (30 Mins), it may not seem much to begin with but no doubt the gamer will return to play over and over again.
The games presentation is perfect as it catches the characters personalities just like I remember them; from the great one liner’s to the funny way they work alongside one another. One instance is with Cookie Monster intent on looking at a cookie crumb, Elmo asks him a question about the scene and his response is but a simple remark about his cookie being stale but still tastes good.
As you play through the game, you will meet characters that are in need of your assistance. The first scene you will meet Marco who is having a party all on his own and looks really sad. After you complete a mimic challenge, where you have to copy everything Marco does, you will be placed upon his shoulders and whisked to a jungle. This stage requires you to collect streamers from tree branches as you run. You control Marco by leaning from side to side to change his direction, jumping over logs which are randomly placed; all the while you have to raise your arms to reach for the streamers. Once completed you will stumble across a dressing up stage, where you get to dress Marco in any item of clothing you see fit, but he does have a preferred outfit to wear.
Once Upon a Monster is very easy to understand and play, the game will instruct the gamer at the beginning of the chapter that you need to stay in one spot throughout the entire game. This is down to controls as they are nothing more than a mere lean from side to side, ducking, jumping or posing; on the bright side you will not have to worry about the kids running around the room. Even if your child becomes frustrated at not being able to complete a stage, you as the parent can just jump in the scene to help out and no doubt play a bit too. The new monsters in the game seem to fit in rather well, although they don’t move like the originals, they do fit in perfectly and will become very appealing to the younger eyes. The fur on the creatures has a nice realistic quality that you just want to stick your hand out and touch it. There is no doubt in my mind that kids will love the new GrrHoof who just wants to be friends with the Puffalopes, in order for them to become friends you must mimic there poses and dance steps.
Elmo, Oscar the grouch, Cookie and every other character in the game sound remarkable. Most of the stories are gestured with the use of some visual signs by Elmo, enabling the younger gamer to follow the game without difficulty. Saying this I did notice a small problem with the game, to play a chapter in the book you have to extend your arms and pull the tabs on the side of the pages. Every now and again I found that pulling these tabs became a problem as the kinect sensor could not pick up my actions, no matter how I positioned my son. I tried close proximity to the kinect sensor, I move the furniture around but it didn’t resolve this problem; however as soon as I jumped in the scene and done these same actions myself it worked perfectly. Baring in mind this could easily just be my setup.
The graphics in Once upon A Monster are very sharp and clean cut, at times you actually just want to reach out and touch the monsters fur. Every stage has plenty of colours which will keep the kids eyes moving all around taking in the detail. Also the sounds from the game are very entertaining; some of the remarks from the monsters are comical. Without a doubt they do resemble the original characters perfectly especially Elmo, Cookie, Oscar and his best friend Slime. Your kids will love this game and will also fall in love with some new characters.
Sesame Street Once upon A Monster does its job very well, being entertaining, educational and colourful. The game also sends out a good message of teamwork, where you get to join in with your child and help them out, even if it is them telling you what to do, it’s still good to see them interacting in this way. Even for adults this game is very heart-warming, extreme gamers will not get anything from this game, but for those of us who have children and still have that bit of inner child, you will truly love this game.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.