Pimp that chimp
In some more conservative industries, strapping a chimpanzee to a motorcycle and having it perform tricks at 86 miles an hour over dangerous jumps, barricades, oil spills, and worst of all, gaining money from all this, would amount to animal cruelty. Thankfully we’re part of an industry that doesn’t give a hoot, where games like ‘Nitro Chimp’ can exist without fear of activist backlash. We are indeed a lucky bunch.
The good thing is, the chimp doesn’t seem to mind. So off you go, attempting to rack up points and coins to upgrade your bike, claim power-ups and give your monkey friend some snazzy threads. It’s a mix between endless runner and stunt-based gameplay. As you speed along with no breaks across conveniently placed hill and ramps, little instructions pop up telling you which trick to perform in order to earn big monies: a back flip here, a handstand there. All things you’d expect from a chimp at a trip to the zoo anyway. It can’t be that cruel.
Along the way you’ll of course find obstacles such as oil spills and barriers which slow you down or kill you altogether. The chimp would probably like you to avoid them.
It manages to nail a good level of speed, which makes the jumps work well. Tricks are easy enough to perform while on the move with swipes and taps. I did find that initially at least, other parts of the controls were confusing – there are two large arrow buttons on the left side of the screen that control your left/right movement, but the one that moves you left points to the right, and vice versa. Is that odd? I think it’s odd. However the oddest thing is that after 3 seconds it seems natural. Now that’s really odd.
The default music is a case of a repetitive rock track which is entirely suitable, if not likeable. But guess what? If you’re not particularly fond of it, (hard rock isn’t really my bag), ‘Nitro Chimp’ actually has 11 full-length tracks which can be purchased on iTunes as part of an official soundtrack. I’ve got to say, even though this is a simple pick-up and play title, it’s a great bit of forward thinking. It’s usually only a select few AAA titles that make a soundtrack or score available, but why can’t a casual game? If the music’s good, it’s good, right? And if it gets the developers or artists a few more bob, and a bit of exposure then why not? Expect a swathe of future games to do the same.
It’s pretty basic graphically. Although the chimp has a decent level of sharpness, and is very cute (that’s a dealbreaker. I wouldn’t be reviewing this game if he wasn’t), the scenery is rather crude and pop-up is apparent. Seems like the chimp is going too fast for it’s own good.
Having said that, there is a very cool photo feature where you can stop the game at any point and take a photo which you can upload to Facebook. Other games have had this for a while, but with ‘Nitro Chimp’ being 3D, you can also zoom in and out as well as changing the angle. A moment of fame for your chimp before he smashes face-first into a spiked barricade, which propels him 25ft into the air with his only landing point being a pile of wooden crates.
Remember folks, this isn’t cruelty, it’s entertainment.
Find Kevin on Twitter @KevThePen where he can show you a video of his pet chimp.