Indie Quickie: Gun Monkeys

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

GunMonkeys_1

What is it? It’s all about monkey on monkey violence in this procedurally–generated, multiplayer-only 1v1 online deathmatch of physics-based shooting and platforming.

Who made it and where can you get it? Size Five Games created Gun Monkeys which is now available on Steam for $5.99. One cool thing to keep in mind is when you buy a copy, a second copy is included to gift to a friend so that you have someone to play against as soon as you both install it. Size Five recently slashed the price and added the second copy to help further bolster the game’s sporadic online player base.

How much did we play? I have played short sessions of about 15-30 minutes each off and on for the last two weeks. I typically found there to be a very short waiting period before another opponent was available to duke it out against, but results may vary depending on the time of day you attempt to search for a match.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? I have had no issues playing the game with my current PC (although I know Matt experienced trouble—but his aging video card is likely the cause). The game can be played locally with two people sharing a keyboard (remember those days when a keyboard was the only way to play a competitive game on a PC?) or input can be mapped to a gamepad. I played with both devices, and found that in the heat of the moment my gamepad withstood aggressive mashing better than my keyboard. Response for input using a controller did feel a touch laggy at times, though, so a keyboard may be the way to go if yours can take a thorough bashing.

GunMonkeys_2

Why should you play it?

    • Monkeys. With Guns. ‘Nuff Said: The premise alone makes this game a winner: In the future scientists use monkeys to time warp to the future to collect energy for our over-consuming, power-starved society. Corporations battle each other with monkeys while they collect pure energy cubes to send back for human use. Each player is their own corporation and each battle won earns money to pay for bigger and better weapons to fight for more energy. The trick to the game is to collect energy cubes to maintain your corporation’s power while avoiding your opponent’s attacks. For each win you earn, a chunk of money is taken away from your opponent. That money can then be spent to utilize buffs during the next round. Some bonuses are constant while others are dependent on a mystery crate to drop (and the assumption that you can collect the crate before your opponent). Adding to the challenge of your opponent and whatever perks they’ve purchased and implemented, some random levels litter the battlefield with mines or explosive crates which can be blown up by your own attacks if you’re not careful. (Not that that ever happened to me…)

    • More Fun Than a [Gun]Barrel of Monkeys: Gun Monkeys is a pure old school deathmatch game. Watching monkeys jump around on screen with machine guns and Big Nukes gibbing opponents into a shower of bloody pulp is a blast. Playing locally with a friend is very reminiscent of a couch co-op/competitive experience where if you lose, you can easily smack your friend for totally obliterating you in a match. Playing online offers a post-battle lobby to taunt or be humiliated, which can almost be worse than a smack from a friend sitting right next to you. Something about time-traveling monkeys engaged in battles of cartoon hyper-violence riles the competitive spirit.

Parting Thoughts: Learning how to play from the tutorial doesn’t really give you the sense of urgency or what to expect once you join a real online match–although it is quite a charming training session thanks to the narration of English actor/comedian Kevin Eldon. Since each level is new and random, you really have to stay on your game in order to win. While in the lobby prior to a match, any opponent that is also waiting can be examined to see what bonuses they have applied (as well as their win/loss ratio). Seeing what bonuses an opponent has equipped can help you strategize a game plan for the match ahead. Sadly I found that many of the better opponents all seemed to use the same group of bonuses which in effect cause a constant damage over time to your monkey, so you either have to totally avoid getting hit or scramble to retrieve energy faster than they can. Winning is a lot of fun for obvious reasons, but mainly because earning more money allows you to keep buying better bonuses. Losing sucks a fat one, not only because you have to live with the shame of sending your monkey to the slaughter, but also because you lose the extra cash that could be spent on more power-ups.

About the Author

Tim has been playing video games for more than 20 years. He manages to find time to game in between raising three kids and working as a network administrator. Follow Tim on Twitter @freemantim.