by Chris Brown
Finding an iPhone or iTouch game app that captures your attention with fun and compelling game play in short bursts can be difficult in the growing ‘needle in a hay stack’ iTunes app store. Let me save you some time and suggest that Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha is an app that won’t soon be leaving your iPhone or iTouch menu. For those gamers that loved similar game apps like Harbor Master and Flight Control, Monkeys in Space will also scratch that itch but offers new ideas to get players hooked on rescuing monkeys floating in the vacuum of space. It is hands down one of my favorite and most compelling gaming apps this year. Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha is developed and produced by Streaming Colour Studios which also created the game Dapple.
The object of the game is to get monkeys safely to their respective space bases. There are two sets of space-faring monkeys: smaller red space monkeys and larger yellow space monkeys. The monkeys can not touch one another, even same colored monkeys, or the game ends. However players can link a chain of similar colored monkeys to one another and then direct them to their same colored Banana-shaped bases. Chains of monkeys will increase the score for each monkey in the chain. So the first monkey in a chain to reach the Base will be worth one point, the next monkey will be worth two points, the next three, and so on. These chains of monkeys can be advantageous to building up an impressive score. As the game progresses more monkeys float onto the screen more quickly as the difficulty increases. My only negative comment is that I hope in future updates to the game there could be a way to either indicate which color is coming onto the screen or not spawn at the same time two monkeys too closely together thus colliding as they barely appear on the screen. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does it is a bit of a let down. The current version of the game features three different levels: Deep Space, Asteroids, and Planetary Chaos. Each level has a different element or tweak to the game play. For instance the Planetary Chaos level adds a planet in the center of the screen which the Banana bases rotate around. In addition this planet also has an element of gravity that can affect the monkeys as they pass by.
The art and design of Monkeys in Space is light-hearted and entertaining. The game is very easy to jump into from the start. While the background music is a tad simple, players can turn down the music volume in the options screen. The noise the monkeys make as they appear on screen or come close to other monkeys were entertaining and helped game play. The game does not have a versus mode like some other similar game apps. Like many other similar games, players can use social media to let friends know of their scores, but Monkeys in Space is using a new feature called OpenFeint which connects players with friends to compare scores. OpenFeint also brings unlockable achievements to Monkeys in Space (and other games as well) in which they can attain a gamerscore much like Microsoft’s Xbox Live achievement system. Players gamerscore increases from various game to game. OpenFeint also uses Twitter and Facebook Connect so players can keep others in the score chase.
Monkeys in Space offers hours of fun that stands heads and shoulder above other similar type of games. The addition of OpenFeint give the players a feeling that their time rescuing monkeys is rewarded even when they travel onto other OpenFeint enabled gaming apps. The chance to unlock achievements continues to make me return to the game to work on attaining all the achievements. Regardless of the achievement hunt, it’s the light-hearted monkeys that add a sense of character missing from other similar gaming apps and the use of chaining monkeys that really makes this games easily one of my favorites this year.
Monkeys In Space is available on the iTunes app store for 99 cents. A download code was provided to TMG for the purposes of evaluation and review.
Married Gamers Rating: A