From the minds that brought you “Ben there, Dan that” and “Time, Gentlemen please” comes a new type of game altogether from them. In the future we’re all dead, and because we’re dead we’ve become fuel… simple enough right? Well, add into that a bunch of dueling monkeys that contend for resources and you have Gun Monkeys. So. Shoot away I guess?
Really there isn’t too much to say about Gun Monkeys truthfully, it’s beautifully simplistic. The title alone sums up the entire gameplay structure and this is what works for it. You’re thrown immediately into the fray, each arena is a series of randomly generated blocks and there’s not really much else to them – saws and the like will line the walls creating hazards and you’ll need to scamper along the surrounding terrain, in order to evade enemy fire and gather power blocks.
So, other than killing each other the aim is to collect the aforementioned fuel and the game works on a simple scoring metric, the more you collect, the more your opponent loses and ultimately you win if you manage to deplete your enemies resources. There’s no cap but you do need to reduce your opponents resources to zero. This simple gameplay makes for an easy drop in, drop out feel and allows even newbie players to feel welcome. Truthfully, this reminds me a lot of simple flash titles that I would play with friends in my IT classes at school but this isn’t a negative statement commenting on its worth, the production quality is there.
The issue with combat however is a genuine lack of variety in terms of weapons. You have bombs, guns and guns, and that is pretty much all. You can slow down or stop time completely so that your opponent cannot escape from you, yet this is the only alternate power on display. As you get more and more points from winning matches you get to unlock a series of buffs through your earnings, these are balanced around the idea that the more you win the stronger certain skills become, I found these never to be too important ultimately which is disappointing since it never gave me a true feeling or progression with my character, or what progression there was, was limited.
Character customisation is simple, you move the sliders up and down to choose colours and the shade of your character changes based around that, you don’t really have anything else though – there’s no suits or jackets that your character equips to make them stand out, nor is there special variants to weapons that you can have.
One thing I find a bit strange is that Gun Monkeys server system does not work in a conventional manner. The servers are done through what I assume are peer to peer connections that are hosted and matched through Steam groups, in order to find another player you must belong to the same steam group as them (or the default Gun Monkeys steam group). Once you enter these groups lobbies you match up and challenge people to games. This is good for building a community but I can’t help but feel that randomised matching could have potentially worked better. The other issue is that in the lobbies there is no way to manage a round robin system of matches, making it hard to keep rotating round on a “winner continues” basis.
It’s hard to criticise the gamelpay of Gun Monkeys because it attempts to be so simple, it is completely balanced around the idea that it is no more than it is and because of that it can suffer from a lack of depth but this isn’t why you play it. Gun Monkeys has some lasting appeal but it is never a game that you would find yourself obsessed with, fast and quick fun it’s perfect for short sessions but lacks that something that would make you stick around. At the price it is going for though this isn’t a negative at all, Gun Monkeys doesn’t break the bank and you won’t feel guilty. It’s worth a purchase just to knock around with friends for a while.
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