We love giant monsters. From the way their size easily overwhelms armies to the way that they make rampages look so contained and enthralling to watch, monsters have always been the object of both fear and admiration for fans of many genres. Many times, it is often that player protagonists must venture off on an adventure in order to seek out and eventually, defeat or tame these monsters. But in Trap Master, you are the monster itself, and it is up to you to be able to prevent those adventuring heroes from destroying your treasure.
Eyes on the Prize
The main goal of Trap Master is to effectively manage the defeat of dozen of swarming heroes raiding your monster lair. The lair is filled with many entrances and at the center, a massive treasure box. If this box is destroyed, the game ends -so you must keep the box intact no matter what. It all sounds easy enough, and the fact that you can easily consume and entire enemy with a single click of the button or use some unique monster powers, also makes managing these tiresome adventurers a whole lot easier.
In terms of a big massive plot, there really is not any. You have a box, you defend it, end of story. How you actually purchase those items you buy with the gold gained from enemies is beyond understanding -but such is the nature of any upgrade game, and we are not going to question that.
On the surface, Trap Master is a single-map platform game that will have you moving around your giant monster while beating up countless grunt soldiers. At the same time, the inclusion of map upgrades for magic turrets, explosives, and giant falling blades makes it also a defend-style game; it all depends on how you want to play.
If you are the type who likes to go around jumping across platforms and shooting fireballs at enemies, then you will want to focus your money on upgrading your monster to improve its' speed and attack powers. On the other hand, if you are the type of giant monster who likes to sit back and wait for the dungeon to do its trick, then you will be better off investing your money on traps and devices. After all, the name of the game is called "Trap Master" which heavily hints at the fact that you can play this game completely relying on the traps. Of course, you are perfectly free to be well-rounded with your play style -that is, adapting the use of both monster and traps to defeat your foes.
In many ways, this is a good thing -a dynamic play element makes the game less repetitive and more engaging. Considering the fact that you only see one stage, have a limited variety of enemies and a simplified game style, being able to approach the game in different ways makes it actually worth paying attention to (though you eventually end up mastering both anyway).
As a platformer, the controls are relatively simple: you use the keyboard to move and the mouse to aim and attack. It is easy enough to master well within the first couple of minutes of the game. The only thing about attacks that players should remember is that attacking an enemy at range uses the monster's default attack. Attacking a target that is withing reach initiates an "eating" attack that instantly kills the target and also adds to your auto-replenishing attack bar. Balancing between attacking normally and chewing up a few grunts is often the key to winning against massive amounts of troops.
Traps and other stage details can be edited in between enemy waves. Here you can access upgrades for the treasure box and your monster. Or you can use the money to buy a ton of traps for the stage in order to kill them before they even reach you. Naturally, the more waves you survive, the stronger the enemies get (and they also increase in number). It is inevitable that near the later stages of the game, you would have a combination of a strong monster and plenty of traps
Nicely Evil Dungeon
While the giant monster lair is not exactly the best place to live it, it is where you live. And despite the fact that you are trading off Ikea furniture for a wide variety of fatal death traps all over the compound, at least everything looks evil-ishly good, and that treasure box really feels like it is worth defending from hordes of people.
Sure, the graphics, on the surface, is simple. From the user interface, to the last details of the blocky enemies that you gobble up for energy, everything seems to have been made without much polishing. That being said, the graphics work cohesively well with each other. The user interface consists of two simple screens: the upgrade screen for managing your stats and trap purchases, the second screen is your actual gameplay UI with shows a map and the health bar of your treasure.
These two are easy enough to figure out and they provide most of the information you need at a single glance. Placing down traps allows you to move your cursor all around the stage to locate the proper placeholders and mounts for your traps and lastly, it also allows you to click on previously installed traps to upgrade them.
While functionality is great with the graphics, the actual aesthetics needs a little bit of adjustment. The good thing is, the developers seem to have put in a bit of effort into making the game's visual elements. The three monster selections are each uniquely designed, the enemies looks like they popped right out of a vintage 16-bit game and the actual stage setting reminds us of those simple sprite based games of yesteryear. That being said, a bit more of details in the animations would have certainly helped this game feel a lot more complete.
The music, is at its best, forgettable. Then again, since very few browser-based game tracks ever sound really good (like Canabalt -which was impressively and memorably good), then Trap Master escapes the category that so many other games fall unto: music so bad you will want to turn it off. The sound effects are a lot more impressive and fitting for the game. While it is not needed for players to play better, we do suggest that you leave the audio on even for a bit.
The only real problem we have had with this game is that fact that the main menu is only accessible bly clicking outside of the game window - which is not really all that intuitive. That put aside, Trap Master is a pretty decent game to play. Sure, nothing exactly industry-shaking here, but it does offer a solid couple of hours of fun (and maybe even more). Thanks to the extra unlocks at the end of the game and the fact that you have other monsters to try out gives the game plenty of decent replay value. Add in the fact that the actual game itself is fun to play (and who does not have fun running around a dungeon laying traps and eating up soldiers?) and you get a pretty good game to keep you sated for a couple of days. Trap Master may have mediocre graphics and music, but the gameplay is definitely worth the time. We give this game a short-sword wielding grunt's 86/100.