Last month in Paul’s Shooting Adventure, Paul was an infant who could fly through the air, shoot energy blasts, and transform into various creatures. Things are a bit different these days in Paul’s Monster Adventure in which we see our protagonist as a young teenager who seems to lack any extraordinary powers at all, with Paul as a caring young man with the desire to save monsters from certain starvation.
The plot is bizarre, but surprisingly simple. All across the land are large out-of-work monsters known as Bosses. They used to be evil, and thus played villains on a television show until that show was cancelled. Now, rather than causing havoc on the land in which they inhabit, the Bosses have become much more docile and would like to enjoy their retirement. Unfortunately for them, all of their food has been stolen by the local sheep that also live in this land, making them all too weak to move. It’s your job to pull carrots out of the ground and deliver them to the bosses so that they may regain their strength.
When you start a new game you are given the choice to play either as Paul or as a young girl named Luna. While Paul has the ability to throw carrots further, Luna is the faster of the two, but whichever you choose there's not much difference besides the aesthetics. You’re then dropped directly into the game without any tutorial, but fortunately the game is simple enough to figure out in a matter of moments.
Each level is set on a predetermined map of varying sizes. The top screen displays a mini-map of the whole area while the bottom screen is where all of the real action takes place. As you run around pulling up carrots and dodging evil sheep, the mini-map helps to point out exactly where the carrots and sheep are located in relation to you. Each carrot that you grab needs to be delivered back to the Boss of the level, aiming to fill his fullness bar while keeping the second, starvation bar from emptying. Fortunately, your character cannot actually die or take damage besides being temporarily knocked down by a sheep, so your only real concern is getting the Boss fed.
There are three different types of sheep in this game: some that attack when you’re carrying a carrot, some that eat the carrots before you get the chance to uproot them, and others that attack for no reason at all. Most of the game will be spent running away from the sheep, but you do have some defence against them in the form of a hammer that can be used to stun any sheep that surround you when the hammer is swung. The hammer has a limited amount of swings per level, so using them sparingly is key.
Besides carrots, you will also sometimes pluck different types of power-ups out of the ground. These power-ups can range from a speed boost to an extra swing from your hammer, and they all come in handy, depending on your situation.
Paul’s Monster Adventure can be controlled using either the DSi’s buttons or the touch screen. The D-Pad moves your character around the map, the A button pulls carrots out of the ground or throws them if you’re already holding one, and the B button is used to swing your hammer. The touch screen controls use the stylus to move your character around the map while tapping on different icons on the screen perform the tasks of pulling up carrots, swinging the hammer, and discarding the carrots that have already been picked. While both methods get the job done, the touch screen controls are not nearly as quick or precise as the regular button inputs.
The main problem with Paul’s Monster Adventure is the extreme lack of content. The game is only ten levels long, and can be completed in about 20 minutes, and while there are three difficulty levels available to change up the challenge a bit, there isn’t really that drastic of a difference between the difficulties. There’s nothing to unlock and there are no leaderboards or even any type of score-keeping to make you want to play through again in order to do better than the last time. That’s it. It’s just the same ten short levels each time you play.
Aesthetically, this is not the best looking or sounding game that the DSiWare service has to offer. While there is never any slow-down in the 3D environment, everything does look very blocky and grainy. As for the music, it all sounds like MIDI samples that were pulled out of a Game Boy game. It’s all just unimpressive, and a little bit sloppy.
When all is said and done, Paul’s Monster Adventure is not a bad game, but it is insanely short and does absolutely nothing significant for the player. It’s not genre-defining or ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it is enjoyable for a playthrough or two. If you’re looking for a fun and light-hearted adventure game that will keep you occupied for a very minimal amount of time, then this is a decent choice, but you’d probably be better off saving your 500 Points on something a bit more robust.