It's rare that a game can be charming enough to turn an otherwise very standard gameplay idea into something worth $4.99, but that's just what Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake manages to do. The game is all about puzzles, but without introducing any groundbreaking new game mechanics, it ends up feeling totally original and extremely addictive.
As the title suggests, the game's plot is all about monsters and birthday cake. You play primarily as Niko, a kid whose birthday breakfast was ruined by a missing birthday cake. Starting from a home village, Niko sets off to find the cake in question, only to discover that monsters are responsible for its disappearance.
From there, the game is broken up into levels - each of which requires you to find bits and pieces of the cake in order to advance. Some levels contain bonus objectives like freeing random caged prisoners or unlocking chests. There's an in-game currency that you can use to buy outfits or items, but the game puts very little emphasis on this option, and there are no in-app purchases or tempting shortcuts to worry about.
It seems not all monsters are bad, as Niko comes upon several helpful creatures during his adventure, all of which warn of the dangers of the actual cake culprit, the Boogin King. Every stage is filled with puzzles that require you to press switches, break open pathways, and use the abilities of your monster friends to snatch each chunk of cake.
These puzzles are made more complicated by the ability to switch between Niko and his monster companions at will, and figuring out what tasks each character needs to perform can be downright tricky.
Replaying levels to beat them faster offers a small bit of replay value, but overall you'll have little reason to revisit the puzzles you've already completed. Still, the game's lengthy main quest makes the $4.99 price tag easy to swallow, and any puzzle fans should definitely pick this one up without delay.