Monkeys are awesome, this is a fact. Guns also happen to skew a little bit towards the radical side. And to take it a step further, combat is usually pretty fun too. One can only assume, that giving guns to a bunch of monkeys, teaching them how to shoot, and then unleashing them upon one another should be pretty splendid. This is the very concept that the simply and literally named Gun Monkeys pursues. Humanity has discovered an infinite energy source, that is trapped in the future. In order to harvest it, they send monkeys. Armed with guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Gun Monkeys at the core is a very simple game. Players will participate in single round, one-on-one battles in which they are tasked to simply kill the enemy monkey. As an enemy monkey is slain, the reserve count (displayed on the players base) will decrease. Putting this reserve count to zero is of course the primary objective. Players will have to keep themselves busy though, as they will be able to increase their count by grabbing tiny cubes that are scattered about the field. Once these cubes are returned to the home base, your life count increases. Juggling this resource gathering with the core shooting creates a very frenetic experience.
The platforming in Gun Monkeys is an integral part of the play. Mastering the floaty jumping, and using it to navigate the randomly generated levels will keep players alive and give them an advantage during gun play. This sort of quick arena navigation will also allow players to stumble upon some of the games pick-ups – either power-ups, or weapons. These items, which vary from sniper rifles to absolutely day ruining homing rockets, but nothing feels so strong as to ruin the balance or flow of the game. Instead, they encourage strategic movement to gain a dangerous advantage.
Gun Monkeys is strictly a player versus player experience. This can be done either on the game’s servers, or in local play. The local play may be the game’s saving grace, as the servers are very sparsely populated, making finding a game somewhat tedious most of the time. Once can’t help but think that the inclusion of bot play may have improved things to a degree. In fact, the only single player aspect of the game can be found in a very brief, but amusingly voiced-over tutorial session. This will teach you basic platforming, how to harvest energy, and of course, which button shoots things.
Gun Monkeys’ visuals are very, very cartoonish in nature. Backgrounds and stage themes are brightly colored and can be a bit distracting at times, though rarely to the point of issue. The monkeys sport suspenders, have spiky and pronounced hair, misshapen nostrils and for some reason, tails that match their suspenders. The colors of your monkeys can be customized to your liking, which is one of only a few small customization options. The only other way this is achieved is by purchasing perks as you level up. These perks can be used to increase weapon damage, manoeuvrability as well as survivability, and a player can have up to four active at one time. Though you may find that it is actually fairly hard to notice these perks at play.
For what it is, Gun Monkeys can be an entertaining experience, if a limited one. Gunplay comes down to jumping around and repeatedly smashing the fire button, and luck plays a huge factor. And of course, actually playing the game may prove to be a bit of a task, though you will find time to play eventually, as there definitely is an audience for the one-on-one experience. Its biggest drawback undoubtedly is the single mode, which does not encourage repeatedly coming back. Regardless, Gun Monkeys is a fast-paced and precision based death match experience that one can actually enjoy. Even if it’s just in small bursts.
Gun Monkeys is out now on PC.
- Bright and powerful visuals
- Amusing, light-hearted atmosphere, though tense and fast-paced action
- Great price point ($5.99/£3.99/€4.49, plus a second Steam key is included so you can get a friend involved)
- VERY limited experience, no reason to return
- Gunplay often breaks down to quantity, not quality
- Near non-existent community makes finding games a challenge in itself