Monsters With Attitude is a .io game with, well, attitude. It takes the familiar shape of the genre but throws in a less casual progression system. You're not just smashing and eating everything that moves, you're levelling up your critters too.

And those critters are the stars of the show. From huge stomping beasts to multi-necked creatures that you can split into smaller versions of themselves with a tap of the screen. There's enough variety here that you can swap between monsters to keep things fresh.

It's not the biggest game in the world, nor is it the most original, but it offers quick slices of clumpy fun when you need it, and sometimes that's all you can ask of your mobile digital entertainment.

Smash it up

You play the game with one hand, either using a floating joystick or tapping where you want to go. To be honest you'll probably use the joystick, because it gives you a closer connection to what's going on. There are also a couple of buttons at the bottom of the screen.

One of these is your character's special move - some split into smaller parts to earn you more points, some dart forwards to deal out big chunks of damage, and others dig under the ground to safety. The other button pops up when you pick up one of the power-ups that the game drops into the map.

Fights are broken up into three distinct parts - you start by collecting and smashing anything you can, then there's a power-up frenzy where you're grabbing rockets, bombs, and speed-ups left right and centre. Levels finish off with a final thrash, and the lead will ebb and flow as everyone tries to get the biggest score.

Monsters With Attitude iOS screenshot - Smashing some buildings

Unlike a true .io game, you're not eating your opponents here. You can barge into them and steal some of their energy, but because the game is played with a tight time limit everyone gets to stick around to the end to see how they do.

The different creatures don't change the core mechanics of the game too much, but they do give you slightly different tactical options. You unlock new monsters through cards you get in crates for winning games, and you'll get different monsters depending on the league you're fighting in.

That extra level of complexity works really well as a push to keep you playing. Where some .io games get dull after a while, Monsters With Attitude keeps you coming back for more, if only to see what creatures you're going to unlock next.

Smash it down

There's not much else to say about Monsters With Attitude - it sets its stall out from the get go and then sticks to it. In a way it's refreshing to see a game that's so confident in its central premise that it just has to stick a few bits and bobs in place to keep you engaged.

It's not going to stick round on your homescreen for years, nor is it going to be in the reckoning come game of the year time, but while you're barging into other players, smashing up buildings, and firing rocket barrages, you're not really going to care.