The darkest trick a video game developer ever pulled was making slaughter and mayhem a joke.
In games like Rampage, the producers ratcheted up the body count and the repair bill. It didn't matter too much, though, because it was a cartoon gorilla doing all the smashing.
CGMatic continues that theme here in Madmonster, inviting you to squash soldiers, tear down buildings, and throw spaceships out of the sky.
It's an orgy of destruction and fun that is, however, pulled back down to earth by the direst enemy of anarchy and chaos. Yes, capitalism.
Tear it down
In Madmonster, you are essentially a fuzzy ball of rage and teeth who's being attacked from all sides by an army. It's up to you to squish the armed forces to pieces, taking advantage of their exploding equipment to bounce around the screen and reach ever-greater heights of terminal mischief.
By tapping on the right of the screen, you move right. By tapping on the left of the screen, you go left. If you prefer, you can switch to tilt controls, but the tapping mechanism works perfectly well.
You're on the floor to start with, but stomp on a tank and you're flung into the air. Once there, you can smash a helicopter to propel you higher, where fighter planes, stealth bombers, and satellites await your furry justice. You can pick up coins and bonuses during your travels, too, and take up the three increasingly tough challenges on each level.
These challenges range from smashing up a set number of different vehicles to collecting a bunch of coins. The in-game combo system provides you with an added incentive to smash quickly. And while the destruction is brief, it's frantic enough to make you want more.
After a while, though, you'll get stuck and need to spend some of your coins to toughen up. Unfortunately, the money you accrue in the normal course of events is never enough, so you'll have to splash out some real-life cash or grind away miserably for a while to get back up to speed.
That's a genuine shame, because there's real promise here for an unfettered and ridiculous smash-and-grab game. As it stands, mind, the Madmonster experience is blighted by a monetisation system that doesn't jibe with the gameplay.
Put simply, you shouldn't be compelled to spend cash to keep the playing field level. Instead, you should just be gently encouraged to fork out (if you so wish) to tip the scales in your fuzzball-with-fangs' favour.
As it is, you only get to experience fun in fits and starts, which exposes the simple play underneath. This monster might be mad, then, but it's for all the wrong reasons.