S.U.M. – Slay Uncool Monsters review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Doomster Entertainment
Developer: Doomster Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I know educational games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a sucker for them. I know that the learning benefits are math and spelling games are probably questionable at best, but I think think there’s something incredibly fun — in a deeply nerdy kind of way, of course — about any game where you have to spell words or do quick, basic math equations as time ticks away on you.

Seeing as that latter description fits S.U.M. – Slay Uncool Monsters pretty much perfectly, it should come as no surprise that I’m addicted to it. S.U.M. is a math-based dungeon crawler — though, truthfully, the dungeon-crawling aspect of the game is fairly minimal, since you don’t actually have to explore anything. You just click on a dungeon, and the game immediately starts throwing monsters with math problems at you and all you do is solve them.

Obviously, you’ll be able to tell if that sort of thing appeals to you just by reading it. And it’s not a case where I feel like I’m underselling a game by not being able to describe it properly — literally all there is to do here is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The factors are all under 10, too, so it’s really more a test of how well and how quickly you can recall your basic math skills than how good you are at actually doing complicated math.

Nonetheless, I love it. Though my love isn’t totally without some qualifications. For example, it feels like the game would work much better with a touchscreen — having to slowly drag your cursor around a grid from one number to the other with your thumbsticks feels kind of clunky. What’s more, you’re given an ample life bar, so it rarely feels like you’re ever in danger of failing a dungeon.

But that just means more math, which is only a good thing. There’s something awfully satisfying about getting in a groove and answering question after question, and S.U.M. – Slay Uncool Monsters is built around allowing you to do just that. It never gets in its own way, which is a bigger achievement than many games can ever muster. Sure, it’s basically designed for Grade 2 students learning their times tables — but when it comes to S.U.M. – Slay Uncool Monsters, that’s the sort of nostalgia I can get behind.

Doomster Entertainment provided us with a S.U.M. – Slay Uncool Monsters Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-