Monster Madness was one of our top ten Unreal Engine games we wanted to see on iPhone and iPad, so its presence at the Mobile World Congress running on the (Android-powered) Motorola Xoom was a pleasant surprise to say the least.
Originally an Xbox 360 title, Monster Madness is a twin-stick shooter set in a stylised American suburbia featuring four exaggerated protagonists and a horde of flesh-eating, rather angry zombies.
Oh, and decidedly attractive graphics, thanks to the aforementioned Unreal Engine whirring away in the background.
We spent some time with the game to see how well it’s been reworked for the touchscreen, and what compromises, if any, have been made to get it onto the smaller screen of the Motorola Xoom.
Zombie next door
The first thing to note is that a number of features have been stripped out. For instance, only the Suburbs chapter is included from the original five. The gameplay and arsenal remain almost unchanged.
This means you’ll be still running (or driving) around as one of the four teens, each equipped with their own unique blunt/sharp instrument of choice, as well as packing the usual (and less usual) assortment of zombie-killing tools, including flamethrowers and nail guns that require parts for assembly.
Despite the concessions to length, the game we played on the Xoom looked like the spitting image of the home console version, complete with impressively bloody death animations and detailed environments.
The two virtual sticks felt tightly honed - always a bonus for a hectic shooter, although the auto-attack that activates when equipped with a melee weapon was a little detached from the visceral action for my liking.
This lack of attachment may work out for the better on later levels, however, as the number of zombies - even during the first few locations outside our protagonist's house - was decidedly ‘horde-like’.
There's an option to invite in a friend for a spot of local wi-fi multiplayer co-op slaughter, though, if things do get a little too hectic for just the one teen.
While we only had a short time with the game, Monster Madness is certainly shaping up to be one of the most eye-catching of the action titles on offer for the Motorola Xoom.
It'll be interesting to see how well it fares against iOS smash hits Samurai II: Vengance and Gun Bros - two other twin-stick titles vying for Xoom gamers’ attention - when it’s released alongside the tablet in a few weeks’ time.