Being a Hero is no Monkey Business

When evil grips the once peaceful jungle and its inhabitants, there is only one man or in this case monkey, who can save the day, Spider Monkey. You play the role of this mutant chimp, which has the ability to stretch his arms to grab, grip or stick to pretty much anything - just like a spider. While chilling in his tree lair, Spider Monkey receives a distress call and springs into action. Help our heroic primate in his quest to save the chimps from the clutches of the evil gorillas.

Watching the Jungle Book

A Spider Monkey would be pretty much powerless if he does not have anything to grab on to, with this being said, it is a good thing the designers handling the stages in the game knows how to make a good jungle; with lots of things to cling on to like tree trunks, branches and in some cases fellow animals, the sights in this jungle are a wonder to behold. Colors and shapes fill the screen as our hero flings himself from tree to tree - and these trees are varied to say the least. Different kinds of trees can be seen in the jungle and the same can also be said in the game. While a lot of the designs are obviously well thought of, sadly most of the things you will see are static - meaning no animations are present. While there are three main stages available in the game, the other two can only be unlocked once the first stage is cleared. These stages might have different designs all together but they still share the flaw of the first area. This is really disappointing since the designs were good and adding some animations to the environment would have truly brought the game to life. While our hero himself is animated, it seems only his elastic arms and legs are the only things moving, this is ok I guess since everything else is stationary anyway. A lot of things can be done to make the game more visually appealing, not just colors and designs. Hopefully a sequel with better focus on animations gets produced in the future.

Chimps and Chatters

Spider Monkey's audio department seems to have gotten the long end of the stick this time. This is pretty rare in flash games, since most developers seldom prioritize music. Still, Spider Monkey's music is nice and fits very well with the setting of the game. The use of different instruments, despite all being synthesized, gave the game some great jungle tunes. While the variety left us with some desires to hear more, still with the amount of stages in the game, it was to be expected.

Sound effects are adequate and give enough audio candy to give the game some depth while playing. From the monkey screams to the sound of a banana being eaten, almost anything that can be interacted with has a sound. Everything seems to be in order in regards to Spider Monkey's audio effects, until you realize that they neglected to give sound to one very important thing in the game, Spider Monkey's stretching arms. Seriously, this was something we thought would be the first get some sound effects since it very integral to the game and is pretty much the only thing you see moving in the whole game.

Swinging from tree to tree with the greatest of ease

The gameplay of Spider Monkey revolves around our hero's ability to grab on to certain objects and use his stretchy limbs to swing him from one point to the next while rescuing the captured chimps. Using the Left mouse button, clicking on a solid object, like a tree trunk or a branch will make our hero grab on to that object. While this mechanic seems simple, there are a lot of cases that Spider Monkey just does not want to grab the object we clicked on with our mouse. At first we thought that may be we were missing the object entirely when we clicked on it, especially since the screen tends to move erratically after a big swing. But after several attempts and trials, making sure that we were spot on with our left button clicks, we still got the same issues. It seems there is a limitation to Spider Monkey's ability to stick to objects, whether it is a gameplay mechanic that was not explained or a glitch, we are not entirely sure. The best way to go around this is have our hero entirely stationary first before clicking on an object you want him to grab onto or do only small distance swings to make sure his arms reaches the object properly.

While swinging through the jungle canopy, our hero will come across items that provide points, such as bananas and gold stars. This of course adds to the total score you get after finishing a section of the level. The scores collected can then be uploaded to a leader board at 2DPlay.com. Players should also keep their eyes peeled for the clock that adds extra time and the all important bonus life that is represented by our hero's own face. Check point rings are also seen on all levels, but these can activate even without physical contact with Spider Monkey.

To clear a level, a certain number of captured chimps must be rescued. The total number of chimps in captivity is indicated at the top of the screen, right next to the timer. The map option is very important if you happen to miss any of the chimps and would need to retrace your steps. Check the map thoroughly to see if there are sections of the area that you might have missed since some of the captured chimps are hidden. Access the map by left clicking on the MAP icon at the lower left corner of your screen.

The Result of the Rescue

Spider Monkey is a unique game that mixes a bit of platforming and a bit of puzzle solving - knowing the right angle to swing and the judging the distance of each swing can be considered a puzzle. While the game looks appealing and fun, with its colors and lush jungle background, it is not for everyone. Novice player who get easily frustrated with inconsistencies with gameplay will have a hard time getting used to playing the game. Still, people who cannot get enough of monkey games are welcome to give Spider Monkey a solid swing. It may have a few flaws, but it still manages to be fun; who knows, you might even be the hero this jungle deserves. We give this game a not-so-ripe banana's 78/100.