Monkey Quest Review: A Monkey's Playground in a Virtual Game

monkey quest game

To say that Monkey Quest is aimed at the younger audience would be stating the outright obvious; this means that the older gamers might want to go off and read something else now. On the other hand, if running around a fictional world of chimps while performing the occasional random RPG job quest seems right up your alley, then this might just be the game for you.

Monkey Quest is a 2 dimensional platform action game with RPG elements and an MMO system. In this game world, players make use of a custom-made monkey avatar that allows them to interact with the NPCs of Ook and to take on an assortment of platforming game challenges. Since the game is designed for kids, expect to see plenty of light-hearted content and language. Story-wise, the game is as basic as it could possibly be –with the player sent off on various random quests while the game constantly points at the vague presence of an evil threat that looms persistently in the horizon.

Bright and Cheerful World

Say what you will about games that list children as their primary demographic, but Monkey Quest still dishes out some pretty good visuals regardless of who is viewing it. The 3D models are well detailed and the animations are as smooth as silk. The amount of content on the backgrounds alone is actually worth staring into the screen for –vast distant mountains, ruined structures, forests, waterfalls flowing into rivers. That being said; do not expect to play this game on a weak netbook device with low RAM and a video card that does not have pixel-shader support.

Getting back to the eye candy, those of you who love animations should take notice of the lead monkey’s 3D model. The movements are well designed –particularly when interacting with the environment. If you decide to run, jump, slide, or simply just walk slowly, the monkey will adjust its legs and arms depending on where you are. Solid ground allows the monkey to move around normally, but at times, instead of just using its legs, it will hunker down and start using its knuckles to help it move forward. Walking across a rope, or hanging from a vine allows you to see other moves that are quite different from its regular animations (the monkey will either tiptoe on top of a rope, or hang with its arms and legs underneath it).

Children will certainly enjoy dressing up their monkey avatars. The game’s 3D character models will visually reflect whatever clothes and equipments were chosen to be placed on the character. Add in the fact that the Monkey Quest has plenty of interesting tie-ups with various franchises allows for the presence of collectibles that are based on popular children’s series. Some of these items are free, while some may require some payment.

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A Monkey for You

The game does not immediately start you off in the game world of Ook. Instead, you must first make your own monkey. Creating a monkey is done with a few simple steps: deciding on the look, deciding on the name, and then finalizing the decisions. It all sounds simple, but there are plenty of mini-steps in between which players will find interesting.

First off: deciding the look. Okay, if you were expecting to see a wide variety of monkeys, be warned; there is only one kind of monkey in the game. You cannot change the height and shape of your monkey –the default model is all you will get.

However, this does not necessarily mean that you do not get choices. Your monkey is more than just the form, it is also about the colors and textures –and that is something you get to decide. Whether you want a greyed-out little chimp, or a rambunctious red avatar is all up to you. The fur color is what will define your monkey above everyone else (well, that and the items you equip of course).

The color of the fur is determined by three different selections: the first one allows you to choose the primary color of the monkey. This selection will determine your overall color and it will be seen the monkey’s whole body (well, most of it anyway). Regardless of the colors you choose in the next options, this is the one that determines what you main color truly is.

The second color allows you to choose a highlight for the monkey. These fur highlights may be hard to appreciate during the character creation stage, but once you are in, you will notice that these slight details actually look pretty good on the monkey when you see it moving around (the accent colors emphasize the movement –provided you chose colors that are different from your primary choice).

The last set of colors allows you to change the fur on the monkey's face. Of all the three options, this is the least important of all since the monkey’s face is rarely highlighted or shown for most of the game. Nonetheless, players should still make a selection here that fits their tastes well. After you decide on all three colors, you can move on to choosing a name.

Random Names are Fun

More often than not, multiplayer RPG games will allow you to choose your own name. The rule still applies to Monkey Quest, though name selection may not be a straightforward as you might think.

In this game, creating an online moniker for your monkey requires you to make use of a special naming system. This system involves coming up with three completely random words to string together. The three words are a combination of a name, an adjective, and a noun (or sometimes, a name and two nouns, or some other random combo).

Anyway, the end results will provide you with names like Benedict Stinkwater, or Ashley Whitewolf –you get the idea. As for us, we found that the our first random draw sounded pretty cool so we decided to stick with Magnus Burnplank.

Getting Around Town

After creating a monkey, the game finally lets you set foot on the land of Ook –which is apparently under some danger from a nasty dark force from somewhere really far away. The good thing is, this encroaching evil is such a long ways off that it is not your immediate concern. The bad thing is, the local town is already chock full of miscellaneous problems that you will still have to address.

And thus begins your adventure; with your trusty little iguana sidekick and a giant laundry list of your typical RPG-newbie-fetch-X-number-of-items missions, you must venture away from the town and into lands unknown (well, you will be coming back to town often, but that is besides the point).

Moving about is a matter of moving from one teleporter to another –making each area seamlessly connect with the next. Sadly, the game system is not as seamless as the world map is. The persistent load screen in between areas is very noticeable especially when the network connection slows down. Fortunately, the in-game action is not affected so badly by slow load times –once you get inside the map, everything functions as it should.

Should I Enter Monkey Quest?

Despite the fact that the presentation of this game is really good, we still cannot help but feel that the developers have alienated a much broader market for this game by making it solely for children. The lack of a proper storyline, repetitive quests, unimaginative enemies, and mediocre challenge levels will certainly prevent the more experienced players from appreciating this game. On the other hand, if you are a parent or an older sibling looking for something light and easy for the little ones to play with, Monkey Quest should definitely be on top of your recommendation list.

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