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Review: Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha

December 31, 2009



Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha is a new path drawing game that attempts to infuse some new life into the genre. Monkeys are floating around in space, and you need to draw their path back to their space station. There are different colored monkeys to direct to the appropriate colored space station. monkeys_map


Four maps are included with the first map having two types of monkeys: yellow big ones and small red ones, and the red and yellow space station. The next level includes a planet which increases gravity, and the third one has asteroids. The fourth map provides a third monkey, a big blue baboon. The maps are unlockable by rescuing a certain number of total monkeys. When drawing paths it's always a straight line unlike all of the other path drawing games that follow exactly how your finger goes. The straight path is a tractor beam that pulls in the monkeys. New monkeys are indicated by a small green circle with white exclamation point. monkeys_of To really boost your score the game is all about chains. You can try to chain together as many monkeys as you can, by just drawing paths to each of the monkeys. A path of six monkeys for example has the first monkey worth 1 point, the second worth 2 points, and sixth worth 6 points. OpenFeint is included for high scores for each of the maps as well as longest chain, and total monkeys rescued. Many achievements are also included for reaching certain chains, total number of monkeys rescued, and so on.

The Good

Monkeys in Space truly is a fresh take on the genre with only slight adjustments. With the chains being straight it makes it much tougher for quick avoidance which consequently requires more attention to the incoming monkeys. Also the perspective is relatively large so the bigger monkeys take up quite a bit of screen space so there is less room to maneuver in tight squeezes. monkeys_chain The chain mechanic is what really separates the game, as only geoSpark shares that mechanic, and it's a whole different type of game. As you chain monkeys together they take up more space, and are more difficult to move out of the way. The monkeys flow in small numbers so you will need to keep a chain of monkeys on screen for as long as possible to build up a nice long chain. It adds more strategy to the game to decide if you want to make chains for more points or just draw each monkey to the station as they come in one by one. The four maps each provide a different challenge, and each play is always a good time as you compete to better your own scores, go for the OpenFeint scores & achievements, and each move deciding to chain or not. monkeys_blue The gameplay is great, and so to is the amount of polish of this game. It is extraordinarily well done from the opening menus to the actuals game. Each monkey is designed so well to be completely adorable with their colored space helmets, and matching belts plus their curly tails. You want to rescue each, and every monkey. The space backgrounds are nice, and deluxe as are the tractor beam chains, that are constantly animated as you would think of a tractor beam. If that wasn't enough a wonderful soundtrack is included which combines a space type atmosphere with a jungle monkey bop like in recent Donkey Kong games. As monkeys approach each other or asteroids they do the classic monkey shriek, and waves their limbs. This game is perfect for any spare minutes with a simple, and fun mechanic. Multiple leaderboards and achievements give you plenty to do as well. A great save system is included as well that picks up with the exact monkey positions you left off. monkeys_crash

The Bad

Really nothing not to like with this game. The chain mechanic keeps it fresher than other path drawing games, and it's worth way more than $0.99 in the time you will spend with it. One concern is that same colored monkeys lose the game for you if you don't draw them together instead of just linking up automatically. Also the game does take awhile to get some good action, though the chain mechanic keeps you active in the early stages. There is no fast forward button, though it would only cause problems with the scale that is employed. Also just one mistake, and it's game over making you start over at the beginning.

The Verdict

Monkeys in Space is another great path drawing game to grace the iPhone, and provides a fresh twist with the chaining mechanic as well as requiring straight lines. It's exceptionally well made in every aspect of the game, and the only potential problems are a few features seen in other path drawing games that may not even work with this set up. The four included maps, openFeint and engaging gameplay make this well worth $0.99. Monkeys in Space is a must buy for the amount put in for the small price tag. If you're looking for a new path drawing game Monkeys in Space should be near the top of the list. Find out it's placement in the path drawing games appguide.

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