Primate plunge sends the player to a variety of colorful locales, unfortunately the game comes out feeling more frustrating than fun and as it stands this primal platformer could certainly do with some evolution.
Gameplay in Primate Plunge is simple, you are a monkey falling through various environments attempting to rack up a high score. Envision this game as a sort of inverse Doodle Jump, in which instead of bouncing upward on platforms the protagonist drops downward and grabs the next possible handhold. You are spurred on by a constantly descending wall of spikes, and the desire to achieve a high score (although the lack of leaderboards makes this a purely individual competition).
Not every platform is safe however; some platforms crumble when you grab them, others will injure you, and others still will slow you down. Players can also obtain “helpful” power ups that disappear after a short amount of time, so you can forget saving them for when they are actually needed. Points are earned by grabbing/falling on to platforms, and by earning enough of said points one can advance to the next level.
On paper, the game sounds like the perfect little time waster to pull out of your pocket at a moment’s notice. In reality Primate Plunge manages to frustrate the user at every turn. While the game can be fun at times (especially when you are miraculously doing well), the constant hindrances wear the user down.
At the outset, it may not be immediately apparent which platforms will harm your character, and at times the ones that look sturdy are actually the ones that will crumble. The randomly generated levels can be tedious and oftentimes there will be no opportunity to fall to a safe platform until the wall of spikes has already begun its lethal descent into the monkey’s cranium. Worse, still, are the times where you have no way to reach a safe platform without literally killing the monkey by grabbing on to the harmful platforms in your way.
Additional frustration is brought in through how you actually move the monkey about. The tilt controls for guiding the primate as he falls through the air are too sensitive and not adjustable, a sudden jostle on the train and my monkey had fallen into a floating piranha’s mouth. How the titular primate maintains any semblance of a smile on his face throughout the game is beyond me.
Primate plunge is a potentially enjoyable game that is marred by poor design choices. After having gained enough points to advance to the next stage, I often found myself forcing the monkey to commit suicide just so that I could end the experience and get on with it. Not being able to save a game means one must start the lengthy process anew every time, and the game forces you to earn enough points on each stage before you can unlock a new level. If you feel the need to pause the action (I understand) you cannot. Old-school style difficulty, nonexistent leaderboards and poor controls all make my opinion of Primate Plunge, well….plunge. Try the lite version before making a purchase on this one.
Presentation and Graphics
The game is colorful and visually appealing, yet the themes of the levels are standard video game fare.
Lack of itunes support is a definite bummer, but the sounds when the monkey’s hands clasp the platforms are extremely satisfying, especially the sound of burning monkey hands on lava platforms.
The basic strategy of the game is fun, but unfair elements are a never-ending source of frustration.
If you are the kind of person that likes competing to beat his/her own high score you may find some fun in Primate Plunge, but the majority of players may not have the mental fortitude to journey past the second level.