Review: Space Monkey by Glu Games
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Five Sci-Fi Games, From Space Monkey to Star Wars. Additional details may be found in the original article.
$2) is definitely in the latter category, though it has surprising production values given how utterly simplistic and now inexpensive it is. You control a monkey who floats around in the center of the screen collecting space garbage and avoiding dangers, starting out with batteries that can give you fatal electric shocks, and eventually much bigger, badder threats. You can turn the iPhone or iPod touch on either axis to play, but the game is basically the same: swipe on screen to use the monkey’s ever-outstretched hands and feet to catch things, and turn the limbs away when bad things are flying through the air. The monkey’s movements are all on 45 degree angles, and junk always appears on either a 45 or a 90, so there are only two positions you need to master to grab or avoid initial items.
There are 50 levels of Space Monkey, and they’ll appeal to casual game players, but as experienced gamers, we found the slowly-evolving gameplay and highly similar backgrounds deterrents from wanting to go all the way through. Glu breaks up the stages with boss encounters—such as an early one with the robotic Brass Monkey, complete with an animated cutscene—and different types of items to pick up, such as yo-yos and juggling balls that rack up points but keep your hands and feet from grabbing other junk. You also eventually need to turn in a certain way to grab specific types of items that are only hand- or foot-friendly, and can touch certain floating pieces of background junk to add them to a readable library of debris.
Even if you don’t find that description or the gameplay super compelling, there’s no doubt that Space Monkey has cuteness on its side: the art, the occasional cut scenes, and the theme are all charming. There’s an actual sound track, actual sound effects, and a legitimate level structure with ascending challenges, so for the revised $2 asking price, it’s a good enough value to keep casual gamers wondering what’s next. We wouldn’t have recommended it for $5, and serious gamers won’t love the pacing, but as a cheap little way to pass the time, it’s good enough to merit a flat B rating overall. iLounge Rating: B.