(Originally published on the 1UP.com Freeloader blog in October of 2012)
Welcome to HalloFreen month on the Freeloader blog! Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a creepy, kooky, mysterious and/or spooky free or indie game that will get you in the Halloween spirit (HA!). Turn down your lights (where applicable).
There are (probably) few characters of horror more well-known than Dracula. While (probably) not the first vampire created, his specific characteristics have created an unmatched legacy that touches every medium in every decade, from Noferatu, to Bela Lugosi, to Christopher Lee, to Castlevania, The Lost Boys, Count Chocula, Count Duckula, and even Twilight (those fuckers). By far, my favorite iteration of the classic vampire is that incredible arithmomaniac, Count von Count from Sesame Street. God, I hate math, but I do love that long-nosed, number crunching son of a bitch. There’s a new vampire sucking his way to the top of my heart, though. The protagonist of the PSP Mini and Xbox Live Indie Game developed by Mediatonic, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, whom is known simply as The Duke. The Duke is awakened one evening to find his Princess missing and must set out to defeat the vile monster that has (probably) committed the regal theft. With little regard for due process, The Duke confronts each of the local monsters in turn, sure that one of them must (probably) be the culprit.
Each monster’s hideout consists of a vertical shaft, which The Duke must race upward, jumping up from platform to platform, performing the occasional wall-jump, in order to bash into the fleeing creature. Bash them three times and The Duke will perform a finishing move, sending the hapless villain plummeting to the bottom. A score multiplier can be increased by avoiding platforms that The Duke has previously landed on. Building up a large enough combo results in The Duke performing an ultra finishing move, which doesn’t cause any additional damage, but does look pretty darn cool. Looking cool is one of MPSMP‘s main selling points. It’s got a fantastic, charming, art style which is animated superbly, bolstered by a great sense of humor and characterization, especially in regards to The Duke, himself. On top of that, Mediatonic has added a groovy, pipe-organ based, high energy soundtrack and a level of polish rarely seen on the XBL Indie Games channel.
If there’s one stake that I must drive into the enormous heart of Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, it’s that the game is very short. You’ll be able to make it through all of the stages in less than an hour, but it does offer a few achievement-like awards to go after, if you’re a gaming perfectionist. With tempered expectations, I bid you download it; The Great Pumpkin would approve.
Purchase for PSP