Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster

Licensed games often suffer as the developers have to make their game while sticking to any constraints that the license at hand may have. The good news here is that the idea for Once Upon a Monster came first, and then the chance for Double Fine to use the Sesame Street license came along at a later date. As lead director Tim Schafer suggests, it was a match made in heaven. And yes, we are talking about the same Tim Schafer that gave us the swearword loaded Brutal Legend.

This sugar-coated Kinect-only quest is as lovingly crafted as children’s games get. The story sees Elmo and Cookie Monster exploring the pages of a magical book, with each story having a theme ranging from helping others to making new friends. One story involves restoring a garden to its former glory by pulling up weeds and watering plants while another entails putting on a play with Cookie Monster playing the part as a rather unlikely personal acting coach.

The look and feel of the iconic TV show is mimicked closely, right down to Elmo’s infectious laugh and appearances from other characters such as Oscar the Grouch.

There’s a heavy focus on multi-player – Double Fine wanted this to be a game that parents can play along with their children. Or you could just kill two birds with one stone and use it keep two children quiet at once. Controls are intuitive and work perfectly, so much so that no tutorials are present apart from a few vocal prompts here and there from Elmo.

Some mini-games demand more from the player than others – in one you simply have to raise and lower your arms to bang on a drum at the right time. The running mini-games on the other hand are pretty exhausting requiring jumping, ducking, arm waving and lots of leaning to avoid objects.

The six stories take around thirty minutes each, meaning it’s possible to play through from start to finish in around three hours. It’s highly likely though that children will want to play through their favourite parts again, and the achievements have been based around this – a few of them require multiple play-throughs of certain stories.

If you’re a parent looking for something to play side-by-side to the little people in your life, then look no further. You may even find yourself cracking a smile or two – even we had to grin after unlocking an achievement called ‘Right Said Sled’.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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  • I dont understand how anyone can like this game. Its utter crap and the reviewer is talking out of his ass. Did they pay you to write this?

  • Darren, you’re an idiot, how old are you? The game is not intended to entertain you, but to entertain young children around 4 or 5 years old. If you purchased it for yourself and thought it was crap that’s your fault. I on the other hand, purchased this game for my 2 1/2 year old and it may be his favorite thing of all time. Stop trolling around looking for trouble.

  • How can you say it’s utter crap when it hasn’t even been released yet? As a kid’s game it is very well done. Easy for them to grasp and educational too.

    Check the other reviews too before trolling – 8/10 from GamesRadar and 7/10 from Eurogamer. In fact, when I checked Metacritic earlier there wasn’t a review below 7/10.

  • I would give this game a 8.5 (maybe even a 9) because 1. I’m 27years old and a guilty sesame street fan, even when I was a kid. 2. My son loves to watch me play and I love to play it for him( He’s only 2 so I’m teaching him how to play) and 3. Double Fine has so far put out some fun, funny,and Entertaining games. Darren, I don’t understand why you bought a kid’s orientated game if your not a fan of sesame street or you don’t have kids of your own! I have no issues with this game (other then from being kinda short and I hope Double Fine has some DLC in the future). It’s ok if you don’t like this game but your comment makes you sound like an ignorant ass and a troll! best of luck to you on finding the right game for you…

  • I quite like the look of this and think the article is well written (might I add that I am 26). Darren you are entitled to your opinion and all that stuff, but the way you have come onto this board and posted such a response makes you sound like a tool. LONG LIVE MATT.

  • I watched Mr Popper’s Penguins this evening and it was rather good. I also think Elmo is pretty cool. I’m 29. Although I look 15.

  • I’m 27 and feel like I’m a kid again playing this. I didn’t purchase the game, although I certainly can see how it would appeal to the little ones based on my own experiences.

    I think I’ll go and watch some Cartoon Network, now ;)

  • I’m 28 and 3 quarters and wish my niece and nephew were still young enough for me to buy this for them :(

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