App of the Week: Super Monsters Ate My Condo


Compatible with:
iPhone (3GS Minimum)

iPod Touch (3rd Gen. Minimum)


iOS 4.3 or later


Available here

Wild man, just wild.

It’s about the only way to describe the original “Monsters Ate My Condo” released by Adult Swim and PikPok. It was a fury of colors, crazy designs, and lightning quick reaction times that was impossible to not get swept up in, and more than worth its $1.00 asking price. Now it’s back in the form of an appropriately titled sequel, “Super Monsters Ate My Condo”.

The basic idea behind the game is that you have to build a towering condo made up of multi-colored pieces, and keep it from toppling. To do so, you have to match three of the same colored leveled pieces to create a stronger bronze level. Three combined bronzes make a silver, three silvers a gold, and three golds a diamond.

Of course, to match level colors, you’ll have to discard those in the way. This is where the monsters come in. The monsters are intent on destroying your already shaking condo, and the only way to appease them is to swipe levels that match the monsters color their way for their consumption, and to get them out of your way. If you swipe too many levels of the wrong color, or neglect to feed one of a levels two monsters for too long, they get to smashing. Also when you match three of a same color, the monster on the level that shares that color goes away and is replaced by another.

That’s the general idea of the gameplay, but it only gets nuts from there. Because there’s also things like special blocks that can aid a player if used correctly, or cause some real damage if they aren’t disposed of quickly. The monsters also carry different super powers which aid the player and are activated by feeding the monsters special combo floors (the stronger the floor, the more effective the power). The trade off is you lose a strong level, but the payoff yields attributes like more time on the clock or preventing harmful blocks from falling while in use, so it’s almost always worth it.

New to the sequel is the game’s increased (and addictive) focus on objectives. You’re given three goals on the outset of every level, and completing all three unlocks a new set of objectives and also new elements within the game (such as special level blocks). You also unlock booster abilities and coins as you go along. The boosters provide a wide range of in game aids, while draining coins upon each use. In a nice little nod to ‘Team Fortress 2,” the coins can also be used to purchase a variety of hats for the monsters, which create permanent ability boosters, but cost way more. Also worth noting is the absence of the original game’s endless play mode, and instead the only game option is a timed two minute run.

To play “Super Monsters Ate My Condo” is to love it. You’ve played this basic type of game a million times before, and “Super Monsters” knows it. That’s why it goes out of its way to make sure that every intangible element of the game that isn’t just matching similar colored blocks is exceedingly well done. Level and character drawings, sound design, and the enticing mission based system all make “Super Monsters” already addictive gameplay become irresistible.

It’s not easy to play this game for just two minutes at a time, as you constantly challenge yourself to meet your own personal objectives, or those of the game. The core concept would be addictive enough on its own, but the way you are constantly rewarded for  diving into it deeper makes it impossible to put down. You’ll start to measure your life in two minute intervals, and catch yourself with the game’s images of dancing monsters in lederhosen and endless streams of blocks clouding your thoughts when you try to step away from it.

I not only don’t mind that “Super Monsters” continue to eat my condos, but gladly let them eat my dollar as well. This is the “One More Game” effect at its best, and makes for a clear app of the week.


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App of The Week: Jar on a Bar

Compatible With:
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4
iPhone 4S
iPod touch (3rd Gen)
iPod touch (4th Gen)

*Requires iOS 4.0 or greater

Price: $0.99 (Buy it here)

There’s really nothing original to “Jar on a Bar.” Aesthetically, it immediately brings to mind “Angry Birds,” and the basic concept is so dated that they used to call it “Jenga.” But that doesn’t matter, because for a mere 99 cents, you get one of the most addictive puzzlers to come to the app market in some time, originality be damned.

Let me backtrack a bit and explain. “Jar on a Bar” stars a fish in a bowl trapped precariously atop a ready to fall stack of pallets, glass, and other increasingly nefarious obstacles. Your job is simple: Get that fish to the ground and back into the water without breaking the bowl, all while trying to spill as little of the water in it as possible for bonus points. Sounds simple, right? Well, as you can imagine, as the game progresses through its 60 plus levels, things keep getting more and more complicated, until the point that this game of “Jenga” becomes a real mind-twister.

I mentioned “Angry Birds” earlier, and that’s because at its core, the game’s main concept of removing various obstacles to reach your goal is highly reminiscent of that classic app. However, “Jar on a Bar” is more about manipulation than destruction. Its well implemented physics system accounts for everything from weight to momentum, and forces you to master it before you can make any progress in the later stages. You may have to push a block to a certain point to gain just the right leverage, or momentarily put the fish in danger in order to set up the right move correctly. You not only have to consider your next step at all times, but the next several after that as well. It creates just the right combination of on your feet decisions and long term strategy that makes the best puzzle games so memorable, and executes it very well. There is also an in-app store but, while it does feature some cool objects, overall it doesn’t add much to the core gameplay of “Jar on a Bar.” The good news is it doesn’t have to, and it far from hinders the experience.

I could be wrong on this, but I don’t expect “Jar on a Bar” to take over the world like some of the games that inspired it have. However, the 99 cent asking price is a steal, turning this into a must-buy for anyone that has half an interest in puzzle games. Quite simply, it is one of the best and most addictive new puzzlers, and overall app games, I’ve come across in a while, and it is a more than deserving app of the week.