26 May 2010

Monkeying Around: A Monkey Kong Review.

Developed by Mike Meyer for the PC.

Monkey Kong is a platformer endearing in its simplicity. The levels, composed entirely out of blocks and girders are intentionally reminiscent of Donkey Kong, as is the game’s protagonist primate. Monkey Kong’s mission is not dissimilar from that of many monkeys: to get the bananas. There is no player death – no deathtraps, enemies, or rolling barrels to navigate – and that’s kind of the point. As game creator Mike Meyer states on his website, “there’s no winning or losing, just platforming around.” Everything about the game speaks to this playfulness of ‘monkeying around’, from its impressive 8-Bit rendition of Tenacious D’s “Tribute”, to the comical backflip that is so integral to the monkey’s move set. And while we’re on the subject, Monkey’s controls feel just right: not too slippery, and not too tight. The screen is presented in the window of an arcade cabinet, contextualising the game as a quick, good time. And it is: there are only a handful of levels to get through at random, and once you’ve nailed the backflip mechanic it’s smooth sailing. After all, the game was developed within a very short time frame for a competition, and is presented more as an idea of platforming than anything else. And on that level, it succeeds. Given its subject matter, Monkey Kong is a surprisingly elegant platformer. You could do far worse with your lunch hour.

 (out of four)

Click here to play Monkey Kong.

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