Did Finish – Munchables


Munchables

Munchables is a near miss, like a marketing department tried to reverse engineer the common elements of hit video games. The different components never quite come together no matter how great they look on paper.

I mean, this game is Katamari Damacy with poop jokes.

In Munchables, you zoom around looking for objects to bump into that will increase your size. As you grow, the level gets smaller and formerly large objects can be absorbed. But Katamari Damacy had a novel control scheme that made it fun to navigate your environment. Munchables uses a single control stick in a way that offers no surprises. Bumping into suitable objects means that you eat them, which allows the game to make its poop jokes.

Each level starts with your character talking to a wise and mystical onion. He sends you out to eat a bunch of bad guys, and after your Munchable is full from eating all the menacing fruits and vegetables in that stage, you turn around, bend over, and spray the onion with “orbs.”

I’ll pause here, so you can rid yourself of that mental image.

The ongoing orb commentary has me wondering if Munchables puts too much effort into concealing poop jokes, or not enough effort into masking their detailed bedroom fetishes. If you’ve eaten enough in a level, which scores the highest ranking and produces the most orbs, the onion talks about how he’s going to “sprout” in a super enthusiastic way that makes you want to shower with drain cleaner.

The onion also gives you gifts: Munchables has unlockable items that you can use to customize your appearance, or trade with your friends, or whatever you’re supposed to do if you’re the kind of horrible monster who thinks video games should involve connecting with other people online.

Munchables looks like the video game tie-in for a television series that was never made. Garish colors, trademark-ready character names — although game uses “Tabemon” and “Munchables” interchangeably to refer to both the maurading edibles and the creatures that consume them — and an intro sequence that is over-the-top campy:

That thing on top of the pyramid at the 0:08 mark? Try and tell me it’s not supposed to look like a coiled crystal poo. It’s a magic object, they make the game’s bosses super powerful, and you’ve got to get them all back to save your planet, etc.

Munchables groups its levels into “islands,” with each one governed by its own boss. The boss battles are fun and challenging, having you find weak spots to break off chunks that are small enough to eat, and each island’s stages send you on different missions with an accompanying story.

The islands’ stories are different, but the mechanics are repetitive. Eat things, get bigger, secrete orbs. Not much effort was put into making the experience feel different.

Munchables checks all the boxes to deliver a competent action game, but complete package seems more like the end result of a marketing department’s digestive process.

About B. Indifferent

Bitterly Indifferent is a belligerent hillbilly with a substandard internet connection. He is also a fan of retro gaming who has previously written about the state of games journalism and the intersection of games and family.