Goonya Monster Review – A Delightful Party Game with Rough Edges


The latest asymmetric party game Goonya Monster pits humans against monsters in a vibrantly colored and adorable art style. To survive, the humans become Busters, equipping weapons to free the souls of monsters. Yet these foes are led by a Boss Monster, whose abilities and sharp teeth attempt to turn the Busters into breakfast. Allowing a player and friends to join up as Busters or compete as hunter and prey, the game has a variety of options for finding matches locally and online, cross-platform.

In each match, three players will work together as Busters, and one player will oppose them as the Boss Monster. The wacky ragdoll physics of Monsters tripping while charging after the Busters, reminiscent of Fall Guys, suit the game’s wild soundtrack, rocking some collaborations with artist FAKE TYPE. But ultimately, Goonya Monster is held back by repetitive gameplay, matchmaking quirks, and maps that don’t take full advantage of the game’s inspired design choices.


A Simple, Fun, Cat and Mouse Experience

In the basic gameplay loop of Goonya Monster, the Busters are tasked with eliminating small NPC enemies and delivering their souls to the goal at the center of the stage. The Monster attempts to thwart the Busters by eating them or stealing their souls. A win for the Busters is achieved after freeing seven souls, while the Monster triumphs if the game’s three-minute timer runs out, or if the Monster is able to devour all three Busters. 

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The straightforward controls make these tasks very simple to accomplish. A Buster jumps and shoots, and a devoured Buster, turned into a ghost, is able to stun the monster. Monster play is just as straightforward. The Monsters don’t have ranged weapons but are able to eat players at close range, and a monster may also rob the souls of defeated monsters by running into a Buster before they reach the stage’s goal.

Goonya Monster makes these simple goals and controls fun with a smart, chaotic physics system. Environmental hazards like rocks will constantly trip up a player and throw their character into a long, ridiculous ragdoll animation. The menace of small twigs provides a defensive strategy for fleeing Busters: lead the pursuing monsters towards obstacles that will knock them over. The game’s movement controls are simple but responsive; the game’s ragdoll physics are ridiculous and fun but also central to the balance between Monster and Buster.

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Balanced Gameplay, if You Squint

In general, Goonya Monster is fun and fair to play as both Buster and Monster. The Monster’s devour attack has the perfect range, so that players are able to flee the stage when a beast gets close, but it isn’t impossible to catch the prey.

Occasionally a Monster will glow yellow, powered up with a distinctive special ability like the Minotaur’s charge, which sprints forward and stuns Busters, or the cyclops monster Oculus’ powerful projective, able to kill from a distance. Busters lack these explosive abilities but have another defensive option: the ability to punch and stun monsters that get too close. 

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But Goonya Monster’s balanced, simple mechanics become problematic as winning strategies become clear. A Monster player quickly realizes that they may guard the goal to win since it is easier to touch a player and rob them of their soul and much more difficult to kill all three players since revives happen with the touch of a button.

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A Buster can respond to this strategy by focusing on stunning the monster with their punch while their teammates capture souls. Solid teamwork will also prove very effective, though it is impossible to coordinate with random players within the game’s online matchmaking. While a Monster guarding the goal does make the game more Monster-favored, the bigger issue is how this strategy strips Goonya Monster of its most interesting mechanics, like environmental hazards. 

Inspired Maps But Lack of Variety

The current playable locations of Goonya Monster draw from Roblox and Minecraft, featuring simple, blocky terrain which can be destroyed by Monster attacks and abilities, as well as some Buster weapons. There is simple fun in running around and destroying these environments, but it’s just a bit too simple.

Outside of obstacles like stumps and ice, the maps do not provide a player with different ways of interacting with the environment, and there is no purpose in straying far from the goal as Monster or Buster. The maps are most distinguished by the terrain surrounding these all-important goals, like the steps building a pyramid beneath a goal, or the blocky walls enclosing the objective within a haunted forest.

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Strong Character Designs by Terada Tera

Artist Terada Tera, known for her work with Vocaloid artists, has done a great job in creating peculiar and interesting Busters character designs, conveying personalities through wild hairstyles and exaggerated features. The Monsters are a great mix of colorful and weird, bright and creepy vibes.

A free battle pass offers the player some weird and amazing cosmetics, too. But a lack of facial animations is a bit of a disappointment, adding to a general feeling that the game has underdeveloped its most interesting design elements. 

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A Forgettable, Brisk Story Mode

Goonya Monster also offers a story mode where the lack of animations is apparent, as the four main Buster characters repeat a surprised expression time and time again. Unlocked over time, the story episodes are slow-paced explorations of Buster backstories that do little to explain the Goonya world. Lacking full voice acting, these episodes are not incredibly interesting, but do a solid job of showing off each character’s personality.

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Standout Original and Collaborative Jams

Musically, Goonya Monster is a treat. The game features collaborations with Japanese artists FAKE TYPE. and SAKANAMON, resulting in enjoyable rock tunes like the Goonya Monster theme created by FAKE TYPE. These collaborative songs and the game’s composers give the game much-needed variety and will keep a player searching for matches. 

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Mostly Competent Matchmaking

The matchmaking algorithm is a bit wonky, however, and occasionally placed players in neverending waits after finishing a match. As a player searches, they are placed in a bot match which, bizarrely, can lower their matchmaking rating if they choose to wait for the match out while looking for human opponents.

That being said, you do have to wait very long for matches outside of a few buggy experiences. Computer players will often fill out a Buster team, so that two humans and one computer play against a human Monster, but victory is still achievable with one computer on your side. 

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Goonya Monster is All Over the Place, for Better and Worse

Goonya Monster is ultimately a melting pot of gameplay and artistic influences, some panning out and some falling short. A player will leave the title with a sense of missed opportunities: what if the stages were more varied, or the inspired ragdolling mechanics were used for different Buster goals?

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Clearly, developer Mutan is wildly ambitious, collaborating with Terada Tera, FAKE TYPE, and also offering DLC for characters from Miracle Gucci, a character popularized through Minecraft videos. As the development of the game continues, with battle pass seasons and updates promised, it remains to be seen what surprises the developer has in store, and whether they will be able to capitalize on the fun chases, punches, and special attacks involved within the contest between Buster and Monster.

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Goonya Monster Review - A Delightful Party Game with Rough Edges
Goonya Monster Game Review feature

Goonya Monster is ultimately a melting pot of gameplay and artistic influences, some panning out and some falling short. A player will leave the title with a sense of missed opportunities.

Operating System: PC, PS5, Switch

Application Category: Game

Editor's Rating: