STAFF REVIEW of My Singing Monsters Playground (Xbox One)

Tuesday, November 9, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

My Singing Monsters Playground Box art While I’ve never heard about My Singing Monsters previously, apparently it’s quite a popular game on the mobile store and PC. Looking to branch out with the IP a bit further, My Singing Monsters Playground is the latest entry in the series, though this game is much more like a Mario Party style of game instead of a tycoon based one. A multiplayer game set in the My Singing Monsters universe, you’ll play as your favorite characters as you and up to three other friends battle locally on the same screen to see who can win the most diamonds.

While there’s no main career mode or board game you play on, you instead choose one of the few available characters from the My Singing Monsters universe, each with three unlockable costumes, pick the difficulty level and simply have fun in a variety of different modes. Keep in mind, My Singing Monsters Playground only supports local multiplayer, so players will need to be in the same room, as there is no online play supported unfortunately.

There are three different modes you can your friends can play in: Tournament, Gauntlet or Freeplay. Tournament is where you’ll decide to play in 10, 15 or 20 game matches, with the winner being the one with the most diamonds at the end of the set. There’s a few extra bonus diamonds rewarded for various tasks at the end, like standing still the longest or shooting the most projectiles, where the bonuses awarded could crown a new winner if it’s been neck and neck.

Gauntlet tasks you with seeing how many games you can win in a row, resetting your progress if you lose in any of the games. Lastly is Freeplay where you can choose any of the 25 unlocked mini-games and play to your heart's content in any order you wish.

As you complete games and continue on, you’ll eventually earn tokens that can be used and redeemed for randomized rewards like decorations for your home or new skins for each of the playable characters. I wish these rewards weren’t randomized, but it’s just incentive enough to keep you playing until you earn them all.

What surprised me the most was the introductions to each mini-game you’ll partake in. In most other party games, a simple and looping video plays, showing you how the game should be played. Here though, you see a small gameplay window that looks like it’s a video playing, but it’s actually you playing in a practice-like setting. Below this is the description of your goals and on the right has the inputs, showing you how to actually play. Most of the games only utilize the ‘Left Stick’ and ‘A’ to perform most actions, though some will add ‘B’ button presses in there too depending on the mini-game. My nine year old daughter had no problem picking it up and playing without much hassle, and even my non-gamer wife played a few rounds and had no issues either, so basically anyone can play.

With 25 mini-games in total, there’s a variety of different types of games, not only Free For All matches, but 2 versus 2 and 1 versus 3 as well. My daughter and I found one slight annoyance early on doing some Freeplay on these team matches though. Firstly, you’re unable to swap and change teams. Whatever team setup you’re given you’re stuck to unless you back out and hope the next time it puts you on the same, or different, team(s). Also in Freeplay, once a game is chosen, you’re unable to back out, having to start the game and quit out from there or complete the match. Nothing game breaking, but a slight annoyance if you pick the wrong game by accident. So let’s go over each of the 25 included games, as well as their description when you’re in the practice area before the matches start, as each one usually doesn’t last more than a minute or so.

Free For All:

Hectic Hexes: “Race to the matching images without falling off. Last the most rounds to win.” Here you’ll see a TV with a specific symbol, after the symbol is shown, all of the other platforms with different icons will fall, so you better be standing on the correct icon to continue playing. After a couple rounds, laser beams will go across the board as well, so you need to pay attention to those as well as you make your way to the correct platform. Beware though, you can push one another off should you want to play dirty.

Hazardous Hurdle: “Don’t touch the pipe. It’s hot!” This mini-game is a classic. A long hot pipe rotates from the center of the play area like a propeller and you must jump over it every time it’s about to hit you. Simple but fun.

Stop and Drop: “Keep moving and don’t drop!” This is taken almost straight out of Fall Guys. As you run around the play field, every tile you previously stepped on will eventually fall, so there’s some strategy involved, and although you can jump across small gaps, you’ll have to keep an eye out for other players and where they’ve been stepping as well.

Keep Away: “Hold the glowbe as long as you can to fill your meter.” A simple game of keep away. Hold onto the object until your meter fills and you win. You can dive to steal the glowbe back and these matches don’t usually last all that long. There’s a few small ramps and such that you can use to try and slow your opponents down or run around, but it’s quite simple.

Snow Rollers: “Absorb any snowball or player smaller than you by rolling over them.” If you’ve ever played you’ll know exactly how this plays. You start pushing a small snowball, adding to your size any that are the same or smaller. As you grow you can absorb larger snowballs and even players if you’re bigger than them.

Tobog-Gone: “Time your jumps to reach the finish line first.” I really enjoy this mini-game, as you need to use the ‘A’ button to boost downwards. There’s a series of large moguls as you sled down the hill and you simply need to press the button to go downwards quicker on the ice patches. Land at the top of a hill with ice and slide down, let go of the button and you’ll launch far ahead. Think of that old classic helicopter game on your classic phone where you pressed the button to fly upwards, but it’s basically that but in reverse, and in snow, and on a toboggan.

Bitter Critters: “Avoid the bitter critters!” This is one of the games I enjoy the least. There are multiple moving platforms that rotate every so often, and your goal is to avoid the spikey turtles that will eventually charge up then fire in different directions. If they hit the platforms they will cause them to rotate, usually having you fall or into another shell that’s flying your direction.

Molten Madness: “Use your shield to bounce the balls away. Don’t get hit in the back. Three hits and you’re out!” In this game you have a bumper shield in front of you to bounce the rocks away from you. Get hit three times in the back and you’re out. Eventually plenty of rocks are fired out, becoming much more hectic as time goes on.

Rocket Punch: “Fire rockets at the competition. 3 hits and you’re out!” This is another one of the weaker games that even my kid didn’t enjoy all that much. You can jump from platform to platform, trying to avoid opponent’s rockets, all while trying to fire yours into them. Get hit three times and you’re out.

Bank Shot: “Sink the balls in your color pocket to score.” This game has you driving a bumper car-like vehicle that can also has a large poker at the front of it. You use the poker to knock balls into your colored pool, where each one in gains you a point. The only issue I had with this game is that you’re assigned a color regardless of the fur color of your monster. My monster’s color was pink, but in this game I was assigned blue. Not hard to figure out but younger players might get confused.

Blast Off: “Run as fast as you can to charge up your ship and try to launch the highest!” This is as simple as it gets. Spam the ‘A’ and ‘B’ button as fast as you can to see how high you can launch your rocket. You only got to spam the buttons for 10 seconds, but of course as we all know, that’s more than enough to have your arm be completely dead afterwards.

Dispter Bop: “Bop the Dipsters as fast as you can!” This is essentially Whack-A-Mole, but instead of in set spaces where they pop in and out, they can appear out of the ground anywhere. You’re also able to smash your other monster opponents to stun them for a quick second or two to try and whack more of the Dispters.

Monster Rally: “It’s a race. Drive fast!” This game has you using a remote control car to race around a track for a few laps. Now and then random boosts will appear as well. The camera is top down and you steer with Left and Right, just like a typical RC car. There are a few different varieties of tracks that I’ve seen from playing a handful of times, but not much variation.

Thumpede: “Run away! Don’t get thumped.” If you miss the days of classic Crash Bandicoot, you’ll love this mini-game. Here you run towards the screen, running away from a wall of critters. You can’t jump, simply trying to avoid any obstacles and green goop that slows you down.

Bouncin Around: “Bounce on another Monster’s flower to score.” Here you’re constantly jumping, able to go from platform to platform, gaining points for how many other players’ heads you can pounce on. There’s a few spots to warp around the map and you can boost jump when you want, but this game gets hectic with everyone jumping everywhere.

2 versus 2:

Unfortunately for these games you’re unable to manually edit teams. I wanted to play on the same team as my daughter, but it kept pairing each of us up with a CPU player instead. Sadly she learned that I can’t back down from a challenge.

Cannon Chaos: “Knock the blocks over onto the other team’s side.” Remember when you used to stack blocks and other objects super high? Now imagine that you and your partner are on one side, and myself and my partner on the other. Both sides have blasters that shoot balls and the goal is to knock as many pieces you can onto the other side of the wall. Simple but fun physics based shenanigans.

Pastry Punk: “Most goals wins. If the timer runs out with a tied score, the next goal wins!” Essentially Air Hockey, but each paddle is a player in a hovering bumper car. You can do a slight boost with ‘A’ and the most goals at the end of the timer wins.

Snow Brawl: “Land the most hits in 30 seconds.” This game is a simple and straight up snowball fight. You have to run up to the snowmen around the playfield to get a snowball, aim at the other team and score a point if you hit them.

Battleball: “Score the most hits in 30 seconds.” This is basically the same as Snow Brawl above, but is setup like a game of Dodgeball instead. You pick up a ball, throw it across to the other side to try and hit the other team, scoring a point if you do so. Shots can even bank off of walls here which is always fun.

Color Bumper: “Jump to your icon as fast as you can! Work as a team to win!” This one is confusing to describe, but there are basically two sets of four squares where each team is confined to their four tiles. Every few seconds you’ll have to jump to the square that shows your player’s icon, as does your partner. Once both players are on their icons you’ll gain a point and you’ll have to hop to your new square. What’s tricky is where the tiles intersect between both teams, and if you bump into another player you’ll become stunned for a second or two.

1 versus 3:

Just like in 2v2 games, you also can’t manually edit the teams here, which can be frustrating if you want to try out the single player component to each game.

Apple Grapple: “Crane – Collect as many apples as you can. Apple Pickers – Collect more apples than the crane, and don’t get collected!” This is basically one of those claw games where you can never win the plushies. One player is the claw, trying to grab as many apples as possible, and the players team together to try and get more apples collectively than the crane.

Glowbe In The Dark: “Hammer – Thump them all. Glowbes – Don’t get thumped.” The entire game is virtually played in the dark side from the three players who are running around with glowbe’s, barely lighting what’s around you. The single player is completely in the dark trying to smash the other players with their hammer, but good luck with that.

Punch-A-Bunch: “Puncher – Thump them all! Runner – Don’t get thumped!” One player sits on top of a three-way punching glove device where the other players are trying to avoid getting knocked out the ring.

Drift Wood:” Logger – Drop the logs to push them off! Runners – Avoid the logs and don’t get pushed off.” In this game, the three players are running up a steep hill with running water, trying to avoid hitting the massive logs that the single player is dropping, trying to get the players to fall off the edge.

Tilt A Slime: “Tilter – Tilt the platform to slime them all! Runners – Avoid getting absorbed by the ink!” Lastly is a game that reminds me of that old wooden ball and maze as a kid where you used the knobs to rotate the playfield, trying to get the ball to the end without falling in the holes. It’s somewhat the same premise with the solo player tilting a platform where the other three players are trying to get get caught by the 3 varying sizes of ink blobs.

The characters and world is very colorful, bright and exactly what you’d expect for a party game geared towards a younger audience. Aside from the background music that plays lightly, there’s not much to note of its audio other than the sound effects of your hammer smashing and projectiles shooting. At the end of a tournament you get to finally hear the Monsters sing, which is cute, but I figured there would be much more singing involved given its name.

With each match not lasting more than a minute, games go quickly, so even those with the shortest attention spans shouldn’t get too bored with very little downtime between games. While my kid didn’t really have a connection to the My Singing Monsters characters or world, she still enjoyed playing a tournament here and there with me, trying out all the games. Some are better than others, but with 25 total games, there’s just enough variety, though the longevity may not last with only local multiplayer.

**My Singing Monsters Playground was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 6.5 / 10


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