A couple of years ago I reviewed an adorable spooky music game from Natsume called Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove 3-D. In the game, Gabrielle is a young girl who accidentally sneezes her soul out of her body, and visits a world of monsters as a temporary ghost. She makes friends with a nice vampire, caring Frankenstein, friendly werewolf, and fun-loving teddy bear mummy. I thought the characters were cute and would make a neat spooky license for girls, way better than some of the others out there like Monster High. Luckily, Gabrielle and her monster pals have returned in a couple of free-to-play games for iOS devices (reviewed on iPad here). We’ll look at the first one today: Gabrielle’s Monster Match.
In the game, various faces of Gabrielle’s monster friends appear on a grid, and you must drag them around with your finger on the touch screen. Line up four of the same kind and they’ll disappear. Make a match and you’ll be able to move again, but if you can’t match up anything, four more monsters will appear randomly on the board (you can tell what’s coming next on a side bar). If the screen fills up and you can’t make any more matches, it’s Game Over. Plan your moves carefully, because if monsters block your path, you won’t be able to move to certain spaces!
In Story Mode, you’ll conquer various stages, each with a different mission. You may have to match a certain number of monsters or perform combos. After clearing each stage, you’ll unlock a page of a picture book that tells the story of how Gabrielle discovered the monster world. There is also a Time Attack mode where you try and make as many matches as you can in a given time limit. These modes are included in the free-to-play package, but there is also an Endless mode that you can buy. As a free-to-play game, you’ll have to deal with ads on the bottom of the screen sometimes, too. The problem with the game is the goals in Story Mode aren’t very clear sometimes, and matching monsters just isn’t as much fun. It’s a shame, too, since the original game was pretty neat.
The monsters in the game are cute, not scary, but reading skill is helpful for the text. Some kids may get frustrated at the unclear goals and the game gets challenging pretty quickly.