Monkey Vs. Robots (lite) is a nicely presented, 16-bit retro style, trajectory shooter game available as a free download on the app store for iPad, iPhone and iTouch (find it here) as well as PC, Linux and Android platforms. The character you control is an American football helmeted monkey whose task is to defeat the army of robots who have descended on his jungle habitat. Armed with only a sling shot and a variety of coconut projectiles, it is your task to smash the robotic invaders occupying each screen.
The trajectory of your projectiles is the key to your victory as coconuts ricochet from your target to form robot-busting combos. It is thus possible to clear each screen with one neatly aimed shot giving a score of three out of three bananas, and a selection of bonus levels are only unlocked by completing all stages in this fashion. A line of sight helps with your shot targeting by revealing the path your coconut will take even after it rebounds from multiple targets. It soon proves to be an essential concession to the player, especially when you are up against moving targets and yet others which blink in and out of visibility. It can prove to be a frustrating exercise to score maximum points here, as not only do you have to find the essential trajectory, but you also have to time it precisely. The variables of trajectory and timing when combined with moving targets and briefly invisible enemies are soon vastly multiplied. Fortunately, there is an icon on the top left of the screen which enables you to restart the level quickly, but you’ll soon be pulling your hair or virtual fur out in frustration. Ultimately, whilst the game mechanic is similar to a Bubble-Puzzle style shooter, if you set your heart on unlocking the extra levels you will have to focus more on skill shots. Whilst it can be played more casually, for fun, you won’t be unlocking those bonus levels.
The sound and music in the game are incredibly lively, setting a fun and atmospheric tone for the proceedings, and I found the graphics reminiscent of my Amiga gaming days playing Toki. The animations are also full of nuanced detail and character. The game is ideally suited towards casual play with each stage only taking a short amount of time to play. The later stages pack a real challenge for players that wish to unlock the bonus levels.
Currently, gamers can only play this as a lite version, available now for free on the app store. If the developers hear positive feedback, they have agreed to develop the game further.
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