A Monster’s Expedition review for Switch, PC

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

It?s no wonder that A Monster?s Expedition got its start as a mobile game: with its simple controls and its intuitive premise, it?s exactly the sort of simple puzzler that seems tailor-made for smartphones.

It?s one of those games where pretty much anyone can pick up and play it instantly. You play as a monster exploring islands, and to get from one island to the next you push trees over and use them as bridges. And that?s it — no complicated controls, no crazy twists to memorize. It?s as simple as building bridge after bridge.

And yet, as A Monster?s Expedition shows, it?s also a premise that can require all kinds of creative thinking. The islands are fairly small, and you have to make sure that the trees don?t simply roll off, so it?s a matter of figuring out how to push them in a way that keeps them inbounds. As with any good puzzle game, it starts out simple at first, but you soon realize how many different ways the game can force you to problem solve.

While the game is undeniably challenging, thankfully it?s also fairly forgiving. You can rewind moves easily, and you can reset islands with a push of a button, and you don?t lose out on anything. It makes for some awfully addictive play sessions.

Honestly, it?s addictive enough that I don?t even mind that it costs $20. Normally, that might seem exorbitant for a mobile game — but in this case, it makes sense. There?s tonnes of content here, and the islands are part of an open-world that?s absolutely enormous. You may pay a relative premium compared to other mobile games, but a) that?s not unique to the Switch, and b) it?s totally worth it.

And all this is without even mentioning how pleasant the game is. The titular monster is a little ball of fuzz, you can pause at any moment so the monster can sit on the side of the island and let its feet dangle in the water, there are all kinds of funny facts and items to uncover, and all the while you have some pretty relaxing music playing.

To go back to what I said up top, there are some games that give mobile gaming a terrible reputation and that don?t survive the jump to other platforms, and there are some that capture what makes mobile gaming so fun, and that can jump to other platforms without losing any of that charm. A Monster?s Expedition is definitely one of the latter.

Draknek provided us with a Monster’s Expedition Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-