Manic Monkey Mayhem
PSP Minis | The Code Monkeys | 1 Player |
More Related Articles: See bottom of page
7th July 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
Gameplay hasn't changed whatsoever from the WiiWare version, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Players battle atop sky-bound platforms, throwing bananas at each other and taking evasive maneuvers when necessary. All of the items, and stages have all been kept in tact as well. And surprisingly enough, the tense feel, as well as the emphasis on strategy evident in the WiiWare version is still translated into this portable release. So, what's changed? It mostly boils down to controls, presentation, and content.
To move your monkey in a given direction, you use the circular Analog Stick for a quick turn. To engage the rival in an attack, take aim, and hold the X Button to add power in the gauge on the right of the screen. When it's at the desired level, release the button and a banana will go flying into the air. Using the directional arrows in a given direction, you can both swerve bananas mid-air, and dodge attacks at the same time. To defend while in place, you can press the Triangle Button with the right timing to catch a banana before it makes impact. Pressing the Circle Button will pull up a banana tree that you can shake to get some more ammunition if you run out of bananas. And finally, you can jump to vacant platforms by making your monkey face its general direction, then press the L or R Trigger.
I felt the controls here work a bit better as a whole, and they don't take as much time to get used to like in the WiiWare version. Almost everything is nicely-mapped and they're set up in such a way that first-time users will find them to be easier to work with. One of the biggest control advantages in this release is the use of a gauge to measure distance, rather than judging by means of controller shakes. As a result, short-range attacks are significantly easier to perform, and they're certainly not as finicky as the console release. The issue I have with the movement of your monkeys is the fact that you can't switch this with the Analog Stick. If your stick has an issue with it, keeping your monkey stay in place might be a bit of a challenge. So it's a shame the developers didn't consider the ability to alternate the use of these two functions.
The game doesn't look all that bad in portable form, but for PSP owners who are used to a higher standard in their digital downloads, it may seem a bit sub-par. The character models are okay-looking, and the backgrounds never look highly detailed or too simple, just somewhere in between. The warning symbol during gameplay doesn't always appear on-screen, a minor issue that also turned up in the console release. Going through the menus is easy enough, but having to save after every match you play can seem a tad tedious. It also may seem a bit annoying to have to wait for loading screens which last anywhere from 5 to about 8 seconds. But at least the game's framerate was consistent from what I noticed, with little-to-no evidences of decline.
Mode selection is highly similar to its WiiWare counterpart. The repetition found in the Tutorial mode is good for ensuring that you have a good understanding of the controls. Upon completion of this feature, three other campaigns will open up. These will test your skills by placing various challenges before you, such as facing off against a giant monkey, or playing target practice with randomly-appearing crates. The other main gameplay modes (namely, Greatest Ape, Minute Monkey and Ape Team) make a return as well. Only difference is that the group-focused Pass the Parcel game isn't available for play. And why is that, you ask? Because the multiplayer component has been completely stripped out of this release.
No longer a party game, Manic Monkey Mayhem has been reduced to an entirely single-player experience. Without this aspect to the game, it's hard not to feel that this package feels light in terms of content and appeal. The portable release is something that you can just pick up and play for a few minutes, so in that sense it does well. However, without the ability to play with nearby friends, the value in this release goes down. And for some, this omission alone may mean the difference between a buy and a skip.
Manic Monkey Mayhem is a fun party game for the Wii, but ultimately, this version isn't as recommendable without its strongest link - the multiplayer aspect. And because of that, many will find more competent, replayable and worthwhile games to access via the Playstation Store. If the game does look appealing to you, and you don't mind the lack of multiplayer, there is some fun to be had for only $5. But if you have access to the Wii Shop Channel, I recommend that you look into getting the superior WiiWare version.
19/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Good controls, the entire set up is well done, at its best when you find yourself challenged with bananas coming from all angles
Presentation 6/10 - Looks pretty decent but some may have higher expectations, variety of stages and music tracks, little-to-no framerate issues
Enjoyment 3/5 - When you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun, not exactly a game that everyone will appreciate
Extra Content 3/5 - Lack of multiplayer may be a big deal for some, multiple Campaign missions along with fun gameplay variations
Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)