Monkey Quest: Battle Against the Ultimate Evil!
Take control of a super monkey in the exciting jungle world of Ook and battle against evil foes in Nickelodeon's number one virtual world.
Team up with fellow monkey players online to complete challenging quests. Join tribes, enhance and customise your monkey's strength and skills with powerful magical items in this visually stunning and highly enjoyable monkey game for kids and adults alike!
Mini Chimp Madness: Monkey Quest
The land of Ook is in danger, of sorts, and it is up to you intrepid monkey to save everyone! Well that, is basically the main premise of the browser based, massively multiplay side scrolling semi-RPG Monkey Quest. The game plays a lot like other side scrolling MMOs (like Wonder King), but this time, instead of playing little super deformed human avatars, you walk and move around as little chimps. So, is this all new simian adventure worth a try, or s this something that would be a time drain? Read on and find out.
Getting Your Own Monkey
Monkey Quest starts out a lot like many MMORPGs: by making you make your own character. If it is your first time to play the game, the page will direct you immediately to the create-a-monkey window. If you have previously made an account and your own monkey, you would be brought to the character select screen (where you can have up to three monkeys in your account -from here you have the option of continuing a previously saved monkey or creating a new one in an empty slot).
So what happens when you make a monkey? Simple, you get to choose how your little simian looks. Okay, while this may be a browser based game with limitations, we are still highly peeved about the fact that your monkey selections are limited to just one. You cannot pick a monkey type -all you get a stereotypical monkey that looks like a cross between the ones from Konami's Ape Escape and Diddy Kong (from the Nintendo DK Country series). That being said, at least your only option happens to be cute in its own monkey-ish kind of way.
Choose the Monkey Parts
Customizing the monkey involves several steps: face, hair, and three layers of fur color. The hair choices are actually pretty silly to look at, since the hairstyles are designed for humans (like the Mohawk or a one-sided emo hairdo). Place these on the monkey and you would actually find something to laugh at while creating your character. The great thing about this game is that the hairstyles have all been designed to fit the character head properly, making the hair appear as a seamless part of your avatar.
Once you have decided how to carry the fur on your scalp, you get to choose a monkey face -which is not all that much to choose from actually. Most of the faces look the same, and despite some having some interesting expressions, the generic choices makes you feel like they could have done so much more (or at the very least, allowed players to select individual options such as eyes, eyebrows and such).
The next part is the monkey fur color -of which, you have to decide on three. While this may not seem like much of a big thing, choosing the fur color is actually pretty fun as this is what will give your monkey a distinctive look (aside from the hair of course). Basically, the color settings select the main body fur, the color of the lips, and lastly the color of your monkey's accent lines. We enjoyed this part and would only wish that the developers would offer more colors or even patterns to choose from later on.
Names are Serious Business
Now that you finally have a simian of your own, you are ready to send it out to the world of Ook. But before that important first step, you must first decide on a name. The interesting thing about this game is that the naming setting for your monkey is not something that you will get to type out on a text box. Instead, you must combine three various words and names from a set selection in order to create a name for your monkey.
The actual name will be a first name and a last name, with the first word being your monkey name and the last two words being joined together as a last name. Players are allowed to go through the selections so expect to see folks with names like Adam Wildwolf. You can also allow the game to choose a randomized name for you from the selections, and the output often tends to be quite interesting -in our case, we decided to use the random name given to us: Magnus Burnplank.
And there you go, regardless of whether you decide to find a good combination of words for yourself or if you would rather let the game choose randomly for you, it will actually be a fun experience. Some of us here had a laugh seeing some of the possible names one could end up with, and letting the computer choose provides some accidentally clever mixes.
Running Around the World
So once you are done make your own monkey and deciding a name for yourself, the game brings you into the actual game world -which is a side scrolling platformer with 3D graphics. Controls wise, the movement is easy using the directional controls, the action button mapping however, is not so well thought of.
Jump is assigned to the spacebar key while the C, V, B, and N keys are assigned to your weapons (you can change the weapon designation of each key using the equipment menu). The M key is used for the pet action. The big problem with this setup is that resting your fingers on the attack keys and the spacebar at the same time is not exactly the most ergonomic setup available and it actually makes adventuring a little awkward at times. Considering that you will find yourself in situations where you will be jumping around, swinging a melee weapon and shooting projectiles at enemies that come at you from both the air and the ground, a more customizable combat interface is certainly preferable.
Once you do get used to the controls (and it certainly takes a lot of time), you will find yourself running around the land of Ook. The opening tutorial stage will orient you on the basic control setup and how to move around the monkey country. Combat is also delved into a bit as well as some advanced controls so by the time you exit the starting area, you are all set to go on major adventures.
RPGs For Beginners
This game is obviously designed and targeted for young players and those who have little to no RPG experience. This means that those of you who are a little more well-versed or experienced with other MMO games and standalone RPGs will find the first few hours of Monkey Quest's gameplay to be rather boring -if not uninspired.
Those who are new to the genre however, will enjoy the opening quests which will have you run around town doing miscellaneous errands for the townspeople. Be sure to keep an eye out for major landmarks and key NPCs as you will be returning to them from time to time throughout the course of the game.
The great thing about the main town is that once you get in, you will encounter many of the other players who are already online and playing the game as well. This simulated community environment is often encourages players to seek out other people and make friends. And make friends you will, since there are plenty of areas in the world map that will require you to be part of a party of several players in order to enter. These special challenges offer some rather impressive rewards so there is a lot of incentive for players to get together.
Visuals and Voice
The use of 3D in Monkey Quest does isolate the game to be played exclusive on devices that have pretty good hardware -this means that if your netbook has low RAM and no hardware for handling 3D models, you will want to play on a more powerful device. On a good PC however, the entire game plays like a charm. It plays on both full screen and windowed mode which allows you to switch between applications if you ever feel like doing something else while the loading screen is up (and this screen tends to appear a lot).
Should the game have been done with sprites instead? Not really. While that would have allowed it to play on lower end systems, it would sacrifice much of the visual details that appear in the game. We particularly love how the monkey actually wears the armor that you selected and how the small details that you decided on the character creation screen (such as the colors) are vividly represented in the actual game.
The animation is also superbly done -especially with the way your monkey moves and interacts with the environment. We particularly appreciate the way that the monkey moves differently when it is moving on flat ground or over an inclined surface (when inclined, it also uses its front paws to help it climb up). This gets even more interesting when ropes (or vines and chains) are used. Your monkey will automatically grab with hands or feet depending on your direction and actions being taken.
Aside from having some good graphics, Monkey Quest also sports a good degree of voice acting (which is also what causes the slow load times). The voice clips for the NPCs, particularly your lizard friend, are nicely recorded. While some of the acting feels like a page being read out, most are actually fun to listen to.
While Monkey Quest is fully enjoyable in its free to play default form, players are heavily encouraged to sign up for a Nick membership. Overall, it is not that bad of a deal since many of the site's offerings are made available and you are not limited to Monkey Quest alone. Also, in-game, players who are members have ability to fast travel to locations -this saves you the trouble of having to seek out those teleportation pads and travel manually all the way from one major area to another. In any case, play it first for a couple of days and see what kinds of adventures (and misadventures) that you and your little Latino gecko can get into before making a commitment to get some membership. If you are a parent and are considering this game for your child, it also pays to check out the other offerings on the site to see what other games benefit from having a paid membership as well.
For an MMORPG, Monkey Quest is fun, amusing and great to play -as long as you are easily amused or are not looking for anything hardcore. If a serious gameplay is what you are looking for, then you will certainly want to play something else. Given all that, Monkey Quest is definitely worth a try. It has great graphics, impressive audio and a pretty healthy online community. The controls do take a bit to get used to, but with a little practice, even that becomes a non-issue. Of course, it also helps that the developers introduce plenty of new content and promotions to encourage players to play more (and also sign up for memberships). We give this game a tired monkey mayor's 90/100.