Reviews

Monkey Slam review

Slam that monkey in the brick with full force, just do it!

Now this would be something for Greenpeace, World Nature Fund and every vegan out there to storm the barricades to stop. A giant monkey slamming a cute little cousin into bricks, stone walls and spikes. It doesn’t really matter that the small ape likes it. There are thousands of monkeys high on drugs used in the pursuit of cure for cancer, and cosmetics for old ladies.

Monkey Slam is basically a cute take on the brick breaker genre. Instead of a boring slab you control a huge gorilla called Ape with a bunch of leaves that does the same thing as the rectangular slab did for Breakout. The aim of the game is to clear the level from all bricks, and of course catch as much fruit and bonus points as possible. So what sets this apart from the last thirty or so Breakout clones? Actually three things that I can see: Cuteness, Fresh level design and Sluggish controls.

First of all this is truly a cute game, and as such it will be quite appealing to kids and your mother in law. The presentation once Monkey starts bouncing is not far from Peggle with a lot of sparkly effects, and stuff to collect as it drops down. Even if you fail a level the sad face on Monkey only lasts a second before he chirps up, and urges you to retry. Most brick breakers tend to go for an industrial, or at least futuristic approach and having a couple of apes monkeying around is actually refreshing.

The level design is quite good, as there are a lot of moving parts, harmful obstacles and a sense of distance. At times levels could just as well have been part of a physics puzzle. Having to avoid falling rocks, anvils and other spiky objects adds a layer of challenge. Despite having good level design the game suffers from the age-old brick breaker problem: when you are playing well there is nothing to do. Monkey keeps bouncing up there among the bricks, and all you get to do is to collect falling fruit.

Moving Ape around is just a matter of touching, and swiping left and right. I found this to be really sluggish, and a lot of times he jerked left and right. When I started to miss bouncing Monkey, or taking rocks to the head it was seldom due to lack of skill, but rather due to Monkey not keeping up with the controls.

Like all brick breakers power ups are important to the gameplay in Monkey Slam. The standard ones are present such as multiple monkey, large Ape and large Monkey. There are also a couple of special ones suitable to the theme. You can throw bananas at bricks if it gets too hard. These are limited, but you get more when you complete levels. Using IAP you can buy more of them. This is not needed though, and I actually never really had to use them other than in the tutorial.

Monkey Slam is a cute brick breaker that has all the strengths, and flaws of the genre. It might be better suited for a younger crowd than us old timers that have been breaking bricks for almost thirty years. At a buck without any real need to spend more on IAP it is still easy to recommend Monkey Slam as a pleasant way to spend some time collecting fruits with a bunch of monkeys.

Final Rating

good

Monkey Slam $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Version: 1.o
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.

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