After playing all the deep and sophisticated games that most gaming pundits rave about, there is much comfort in playing something that is straightforward and simple. There are plenty of games like that, which you can enjoy with friends, and Gun Monkeys by Size Five Games could be added to that list. Perhaps it’s unfair to label the game as a “no-brainer”, and perhaps its gameplay does open up some tactical possibilities, but it really is pretty simple as a game.
Gun Monkeys is a 2D sidescrolling action game that has you control a monkey with a gun, literally. That premise in itself should already open up a world of imaginative violence, and perhaps that’s what makes this game appealing like the movie Snakes on a Plane. This game is quite aptly named as it really is about monkeys with guns shooting at each other. Of course, you need to get bigger guns as the basic weapon doesn’t really do much. The controls are simple enough to understand for anyone, and the learning curve in this game isn’t steep at all.
Simplicity and directness are its main strengths as it really is just about 1v1 monkey action. It doesn’t really attempt to be too deep or sophisticated and serves as a game that you can just get into and go nuts with, like Zen meditation that punches you awake from more serious games that must have put you in a coma. Perhaps they’re also its greatest weakness since you get nothing but 1v1 monkey action. Monkeys are awesome, but we may need some variety as well over time.
The visual presentation style is like a combination of Limbo in the foreground and the Dejobaan game AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity with the fonts used. The art style used is angular like that of Samurai Jack, which fits well with how it depicts the monkeys. Its use of neon colors as highlights makes the monkeys and other important details stand out of the level and background, which is good to have so you can keep track of what’s going on once the bullets start flying. Some may want to turn their brightness and contrast down though if they find the neon colors too searing to the eyes.
Sound effects are just enough so that they match what’s going on in the gameplay, but doesn’t overpower everything else in the game. In the settings, you can turn Kevin Eldon’s voice acting on or off, which is thoughtful. The camera though does tend to move about in a slightly disorientating way like in Hotline Miami, so people who get motion sickness easily may not appreciate it, but it does accentuate the chaotic gameplay.
The replay value of Gun Monkeys is heavily reliant on its local and online multiplayer, so you better be willing to go up against either friends or other players on the Internet. This is what the game is about in the first place. If you want to just have a straight up 2D action game, then this has the bells and whistles you’re looking for. As basic as it may seem to be, they’re pretty good bells and whistles, and with monkeys shooting guns to boot. It’s now available on Steam for about $6, which isn’t too bad for what it has to offer.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7.5/10