YEAH! YOU WANT “THOSE GAMES,” RIGHT? SO HERE YOU GO! NOW, LET’S SEE YOU CLEAR THEM! (otherwise known as Those Games) by developer MONKEYCRAFT Co. Ltd. and publisher D3PUBLISHER is in an odd game. To start with, it wouldn’t even exist if not for predatory mobile game ads. I’m sure you have seen these before, in which a hero is presented with a puzzle involving removing bars in a specific order and gets it wrong each time, and the actual game is actually an incredibly dull imbalanced strategy sim. It’s even gotten to the point where the ads are self referentially lying about being the game shown in the ads. It’s infuriating, as are all the other aggressively deceptive mobile game ads.
The nominal premise of Those Games is that it takes the mock games featured in the mobile game ads and turns them into real minigames. And for two of the games in particular, Pin Puller and Number Tower, that is one hundred percent the case. Cash Run actually is a real mobile game – loads of them, in fact – though Those Games presents as a very well made and challenging version of them. The other two, Parking Lot and Color Lab are not any mobile game ads I am personally familiar with, but they absolutely look and feel like they might be from a fake game ad and they’re fun enough. So, now that I’ve named each of Those Games, let’s get into how they stack up.
Each game has levels where you can score a rating from one to three stars apart, that score is awarded based on how quickly you complete the level in each game except for Cash Run. For Cash Run it is based on your score at the end of the level. Each level also gives out an “IQ” for each first clear, and IQ are used to unlock levels across all games, so you could play, for example, half of Pin Pull and unlock every level in Parking Lot without having played it once.
Color Lab presents the player with a series of test tubes with multiple colors in them and asks the player to pour the tubes in sequence so each color liquid is in its own tube. Later levels add additional colors, more tubes and more mixed up tubes, but nothing too wild and crazy. Color Lab has 50 levels to offer.
Parking Lot’s has a series of cars in a parking lot that need to get out of their spots. The cars can only move back and forth and there are several sizes of cars and many obstacles in their way. You have to successfully move each car to a road ringing the parking lot so it can make it to the exit point. Later levels add more obstacles. This game is tied with Cash Run at 25 levels.
Cash Run is the odd duck of the mini-games in that it is execution-based as opposed to puzzle-based. While the other games require some amount of timing, Cash Run requires a great deal of timing, knowing when to press a button to put down cash to avoid an obstacle, knowing how long to keep holding to clear the obstacle without hitting it, when to release the button so not to overspend. While this game only has 25 levels, I found it was more difficult by its sixth level than Pin Puller became by its 50th.
Number Tower has a very simple premise. You have a number, you have to attack enemies of a lower number to increase your number, so you can add their number to your own and attack enemies with bigger numbers. This is one of the larger games, it has 50 levels, but it’s very straightforward. You have to clear every room on a level to complete it and plenty of levels have gimmicks like power ups and, just as vitally, power downs in them, so the real trick is sizing up the enemy values and figuring out the addition, subtraction multiplication, and division within the time limit.
Now let’s discuss Pin Pull, which is based on perhaps the most infamous of fake mobile game ads. This is by far the meatiest game on the bunch, with 100 levels. The win conditions of Pin Pull are to either guide your stickman to the treasure, defeat all the enemies, or do both, all while keeping the stickman alive. You have to do this by pulling pins in order to get the stickman and the various creatures, monsters, and hazards to move and activate correctly. And what a selection there is: Violent wolves, evil priests that attack the wolves, giant boulders, ogres, ballistae, explosives, and yes, even lava can be found in these levels, leading to an incredibly complex set of levels. It’s not just about pulling pins in the right order- though you do have to do that – there’s an element of timing as well, pulling a pin at the right time to drop an explosive or boulder so it lands on an enemy menacing stickman without harming the stickman, or pulling a pin so the stickman can start moving in between firings of the automatic ballistae after it kills an enemy for you.
Those Games benefits from pick up, put down style gameplay; playing for just a few moments and then setting the machine aside. It’s perfect for scratching an itch, and while you can rush through it, I definitely recommend taking your time. Those Games also tries to recommend this – though a bit poorly – by giving out daily tasks to complete, though all the games unlocking based purely on accumulating IQ points feels a little at cross purposes to that. There’s a decent amount to do in Those Games, but it’s also very easy to burn through it all at once.
While I don’t think Those Games needs to be updated forever, a few more games, or even a few more levels now and then would be amazing. As it stands, I do think Those Games is worth its $10 price tag, though I will say pick it up on Switch unless you have a Steam Deck or laptop to play it on, since it’s really meant to be played on the go.
Tim played Those Games on PC with a review code.