Hollywood Monsters for the iPhone/iPad is another PC point n’ click adventure adapted for Apple’s touch devices, and like the rather bonkers game Edna & Harvey’s Great Escape, the story is sheer lunacy. Imagine a world where monster movies are made with real-life monsters, who live and act alongside their human counterparts. It’s an intriguing premise, and the intrigue deepens when one of the monster stars mysteriously vanishes at his wrap-up party. Gruff and grizzled sports journo Dan Murray and his protégé Liz Allaire find themselves accidentally thrust into the mystery, and it’s up to you to guide them to victory, uncovering a maniacal conspiracy in the process.
Hollywood Monsters is as close as you’ll come to a traditional Lucas Arts point n’ click adventure these days, with its cartoony graphics, surreal story and an eclectic cast of weirdos. As with all good partnerships, the pair of protagonists start off hating each other’s guts, and their sparring provides a great deal of entertainment. Every character boasts their own unusual traits, be it Liz’s fear of crocs and obsession with her old babysitter Stacy, or The Poet’s masochistic need to experience varieties of pain, to inspire his macabre verses. The humour can often be described as ‘wacky’, which won’t suit all tastes, but after spending countless hours with these characters you’ll be sad to see the back of them.
Hollywood Monsters, like all point n’ click adventure games, works really well on a touchscreen tablet. You guide Dan and Liz simply by tapping on the display, interacting with hotspots, picking up items and so on. Interaction is kept simple – you can only examine and manipulate each item you find. We found the puzzles were on the whole quite manageable, with only one that truly stumped us, so even younger gamers shouldn’t have much trouble progressing.
Sadly that one puzzle, involving a lesson in Egyptian syntax, was a real sticking point. Not only was it completely illogical, there were also no clues on how to solve it. We’d recommend keeping a walkthrough handy when you reach it. Thankfully there’s an option to highlight each screen’s hotspots, so you shouldn’t be stumped by a hidden object.
Hollywood Monsters is beautifully packaged, from the crisp and beautiful animation to the rousing musical score. The acting is also suitably quirky, fitting the overall tone of the game. We were thoroughly entertained by pretty much all of the ten-hour play time, and if you’re a fan of point n’ click adventures, we can’t recommend this game enough.