Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Monkonomix is a curious combination of block based and physics based puzzling, with a hint of line drawing thrown in for good measure. The problem with such an interesting mixture is that it's not as easy to figure out as it perhaps should be.
The core of the game focuses on a monkey and his drunken father in their efforts to gather rare gems for the Monkey King's three queens. What this comes down to is that the player must solve numerous puzzles to progress. This is done by drawing gem shapes and letting them land in the monkey's basket. Throw too many gems in and the poor monkey gets crushed.
Each of these gem shapes form different colors depending on their size, with the need to collect a set amount of each color to progress to the next stage. The basic primary colors are easily created while colors such as purple must be made through combining relevant gems inside the basket. This is where the physics of the game comes to the forefront. The player can tilt the basket, thus adjusting where a gem lands. There's also the threat of fireflies which can destroy gems if they land on top of the insects. It's a strange mix of game mechanics and something that isn't explained quite as well in the tutorial screens as it could be.
What is there, once fully figured out, is quite a challenging puzzle game across 30 different levels between three stages. Each stage comes with its own twist so as not to bombard the player, with the first stage offering the basic mechanics, the second involving mixing of colors and the third with those pesky fireflies.
Monkonomix is an interesting title but one that struggles to compel. I found myself playing it more because I had to rather than because I was really enjoying it. While each gameplay element works well on its own, combined leaves a game that feels like it's trying to be too many different things at once rather than just focusing on one strength.