Developer: Pangea Software
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Considering how much of a worldwide phenomenon Angry Birds has become, absolutely no one should be surprised that others are looking to cash in on that formula. With that in mind, it would be pretty easy to just write off Monkey Bongo as an Angry Birds clone. However, while it does use the Angry Bird's gameplay at its core, Monkey Bongo expands on and deviates from it so much that it becomes its own, arguably better, game.
Things start off simple enough. Dragging across the screen makes a monkey throw a banana to a toucan instead of flinging a bird into a pile of pigs. Then stuff starts ramping up as the game starts introducing its quirks slowly and intelligently. Sometimes the monkey will have to break boxes with coconuts. Sometimes it'll have to bounce the banana off of a bongo. Sometimes it'll have to pass the banana to another monkey or swing on a vine to get a better angle. Sometimes it'll even have to blow some stuff up. By the end of the fifty levels spread across five themed world like the forest and the city, players will be jumping through a lot of hoops to get that toucan that banana.
These complications make the game quite varied and satisfying. However, the unfortunate cost is that occasionally the puzzle the game asks one to solve is a little too vague. Plus, some of the hit detection is a little off and that combined with a low tolerance for player imprecision leads to many difficulty spikes, lost bananas and accidental deaths. The easy mode alleviates some of these issues by showing the arc of shots but that also limits the score that can be earned.
At least it has monkeys though and who doesn't love them? These polygonal monkeys are cartoonish in a way reminiscent of the old Ape Escape games. The environments too are colorful and bright with some particularly nice fire effects on the torches and TNT explosions. As for the music, it's upbeat and tropical and full of steel drums. It does the job but doesn't really stand out.
Anyone looking to see what happens when Angry Birds gets a healthy injection of creativity should check out Monkey Bongo. Its flaws are small but persistent enough to keep it from being one of the best iOS games around but not enough to stop it from being an incredibly enjoyable one.