Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Review: 'Gun Monkeys' by Size Five Games
Let's face facts - the worldwide energy crisis is a real thing. Fossil fuels are quickly draining and advances in renewable resources like wind and solar power aren't nearly keeping pace. That's why I appreciate when solutions come from all over, even the video game industry. The folks over at Size Five Games may have solved our problems: send armed monkeys into the future and send free energy back to the past.
Like I said, problem solved.
If the absurd premise of Gun Monkeys appeals to you, the rest of the game probably will, too, and that's a very good thing. The package as a whole is so completely over the top you can't help but grin even as you're being decimated by some crazy weapon. The gameplay is pretty straightforward: you control your gun-toting monkey in a one-on-one deathmatch, collecting cubes to keep your energy up and preventing your enemy from doing the same. The levels are procedurally generated so you'll never play the same one twice. Controls are straightforward and easy - jump, shoot, duck, and so on - which is nice considering the mayhem you'll have to focus on during play. Powerups and weapons such as freezing your enemy, shooting through walls, and removing your opponent's arms (yes, seriously. It's adorable in a morbid sort of way, which kind of sums up this game as a whole) are at your disposal to turn the tide of a battle in your favor.
Visually, the game is incredible. Everything is colorful and glowy and explody and, overall, a treat to look at. The cartoony aesthetics work well for the game, whether it's a box with a very clear "will blow up" drawing on it, comically large clouds of smoke, or your monkey's goggles and vest. Speaking of your simian avatar, you can customize its color, as well as individualize your perks, which affect the aforementioned powerups during gameplay. They're small touches, but it's the details that really make the game click.
If there's one downfall to Gun Monkeys, it's also perhaps its greatest strength in the fact that it's multiplayer-only (save for a short tutorial that's available). You can play either locally or online, but this being a small game means that it's sometimes difficult to find someone to play against. There's a simple (or, rather, "simple") solution to this, which is to get more people to play. Size Five is well aware of this, and has recently dropped the price of the game and included two keys so you can give one to a friend - or a stranger, making a friend in the process! - and grow the community. It is, unfortunately, a chicken-or-egg dilemma, which is a shame since Gun Monkeys has so much to offer and deserves a much larger audience.
I'm a big fan of "fun," which all too often gets pushed aside in favor of "cool" or "edgy" or "whatever" nowadays. Much like Towerfall, Gun Monkeys seems to have its priorities in order and is focused on providing an enjoyable, memorable experience by stripping itself to its core components and delivering, simply, a great time. It's hit some hurdles as far as saturation, but that's where we - you, I, anyone who wants the fun back in their games - come in. Gun Monkeys is now only $5.99 on Steam, and you get two game keys. Do yourself a favor and buy it; do someone else a favor and gift them a copy. If we all do our part we just might nip this energy crisis in the bud and get to see some exploding primates in the process. What else could you ask for?
Posted by Colin Lalley