As you have probably gathered from the name, this game features Monkey’s and a whole host of Manic Mayhem. Now unlike other Monkey based games full of mayhem, this one doesn’t just seemingly trap Monkey’s inside giant hamster balls for fun (Super Monkey Ball) and neither does it force you to battle a giant reptile King with the help of a Rhino (Donkey Kong Country). Taking inspiration from Nintendo’s motion controller, Worms and possibly even Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox, the developers of Manic Monkey Mayhem have tried to create a fun game based around throwing bananas and coconuts. You seize control of one Manic Monkey out of a selection of eight, they all have very distinct personalities but when it comes down to it there is no strength/weakness system so who you choose just comes down to personal preference. Next up you should by rights head into the training missions where you are taught the games controls in a safe environment.
Your goal in campaign mode for what it’s worth is to complete around 30 levels of (mainly) Banana throwing. This could be a simple one on one duel against another Monkey or even a Deathmatch with up to six other monkey bots. Instead of using pistols you throw bananas at each other in a similar fashion to the aforementioned Boom Blox. You use the Wii Remote as if you were really throwing a banana at someone. After choosing a direction with IR Pointer you then have to hold the A button down and then swing your arm to simulate your throw without forgetting to let go of that A button again at the end of your swing. For all but a couple of the game modes the goal is to defeat the other monkeys by hitting them two or three times with a well-placed shot. Be warned this isn’t just target practice against static targets, the CPU controlled guys will be throwing bananas at you as well as each other. To survive you’ll have to learn to lean away from an oncoming projectile by holding left or right with your DPad but sometimes even this isn’t enough. As other monkeys are defeated you can spring jump yourself over to their platform and then onto another with the B buttion, this can be a great way to dodge a missile or two but while you’re in the air you can’t throw and you certainly can’t defend yourself from a well-timed banana hitting you just as you land.
Now I mentioned coconuts before didn’t I? Well if throwing bananas on their own isn’t fun enough then yes sometimes you’ll also be able to throw the much harder and more damage dealing coconut at you foes. Not only this but if you’re very lucky you can find another special weapon which is in all but name a bazooka that fires bananas, these travel much faster and more direct towards your opponents.
Ok that’s the overall basic gameplay and covers the campaign mode but thankfully there is a bit more to the game than just that:
- The Greatest Ape mode throws you into a battle scenario against all the other monkeys but this time everyone has just three lives and a limited number of bananas from the offset.
- Minute Monkey gives you just 60 seconds to successfully hit as many other monkeys as you can with your weapon, you can jump or dodge as much as you like but you’ll use up valuable throwing time.
- Ape Team is the least exciting and simply splits everyone into two teams, blue and red. Whichever team scores the most at the end wins.
- Pass The Parcel (multiplayer only) sees you throwing a box of lit TNT between each other until it explodes; the last monkey standing wins the game.
Whichever mode you love the most the great news is that you can play multiplayer with up to three other players on the same Wii console or head online and challenge your friends or random opponents. As you can imagine split screen fun is always a laugh but there is something also quite satisfying against knocking someone from the other side of the world into submission, sadly due to this being a new WiiWare game you may have trouble finding random opponents at certain times, hopefully this will change when more people buy Manic Monkey Mayhem.
This brings me neatly onto the controls. Whilst I love the Wii Remote I can’t deny that the accelerometer isn’t a perfect system to track motion controls, after all that’s why Nintendo themselves have added Wii MotionPlus. It turns out that throwing bananas long distances is much easier than throwing them further away. Whenever I tried to gently throw a banana to a nearby enemy I end up either not putting enough power through my arm and it not even registering a throw or over compensating too much throwing it too far. However this is a limitation of the controller and not the game, I experienced much the same in Boom Blox for Wii.
I wasn’t expecting too much from Manic Monkey Mayhem for Wii but I was pleasantly surprised after playing through it. It’s a low budget game created by a small but talented group of people and even without the next gen graphics and sound that some of you would be hoping for, it’s presentable enough with a nice selection of game environments and character models/animations. The main campaign does get tricky and should last a few hours but be careful of arm ache, if you do have some friends to play with then I can see you having fun in multiplayer but don’t be fooled into replacing staple multiplayer games such as Mario Kart Wii just yet. At 1000 WiiPoints I think it’s little expensive for a gamer without anyone to play with but gamers with family or friends may just find themselves spilling out for some fresh multiplayer action.
Manic Monkey Mayhem scores a good 6 out of 10.