If you were ever familiar with Size FIve Games when they were Zombie Cow Studios, you would know that they make games, BAFTA-award winning to boot. Though you might be more than a little surprised to know that the game that won an award from the British Academy of Film and Television, Privates, had to do with sexually transmitted diseases. If you were really familiar with them you would know that Dan Marshall of the one-time Zombie Cow Studios also made several adventure games: Time Gentlemen, Please! and Ben There, Dan That! But the name change wasn’t Dan evading taxes, the mob or a malicious ex-lover. There was no hostile takeover, no obscene exchange of words or messy mergers, Dan Marshall of Zombie Cow Studios just hated the name. “The way I see it, there’s no point going through life putting up with something that makes you unhappy if it’s completely within your power to change it,” states Marshall on his blog back in 2011. That quote was preceded by Dan’s admission that “Well, it turns out actually cows are stupid.” So now, with over three years of brandishing the name Size Five Games (creators of the fifth size of games, don't you know), Dan Marshall is still making comedy games, and Gun Monkeys is no exception. Though funny it may be, Gun Monkeys is an explosively engaging good time.
Gun Monkeys is a procedurally generated platform 1v1 shooter. But really they had me at Gun and Monkey(s). If being a monkey with a gun was not enough, there is actually a bit of story to go along with this relatively nihilistic view of our future of humanity. In the future, an experiment of catastrophic levels decimates humanity. This experiment created Perpetual Energy, a powerful resource that you can now send your bevy of monkeys into the future to retrieve. The game revolves around these yummy cubes of murderous energy. You collect this energy while fending off a monkey from a rival energy corporation. During the match each player’s power is ticking away, while dying drains it even more so. It costs a fair amount of Perpetual Energy to send a replacement monkey hurtling into the future. All this information enters your ears if you have patience and have the volume up while playing the tutorial. Yes, I know this from experience. Yes, I have played through the tutorial more than once. The tutorial is handily voiced by the British comedian Kevin Eldon, known for all sorts of things you may have seen on the BBC, Channel 4 or the internet. It was a pleasant gem when a bit of commentary would spring up intermittently while dueling to the death, snarking on about a particular power-up or whatnot. While my ears were being given a lovely treat of Kevin Eldon, my eyes were granted a glowing love-fest. The bright, sharp colors and use of line created an inviting playground for your monkey to trounce or be trounced.
I have been known to shout many things during multiplayer matches. Many of which I cannot repeat here, though the one that most readily comes to mind is, “I hate this map.” I can’t say that for Gun Monkeys as each map is procedurally generated. Neither player has the upper hand from knowing the particulars of the map; no muscle memory etched into the players reactions. Gun Monkeys deposits the players on an even field of play. In addition to the random creation of the maps, there is no way of predicting the location of the drops for either power-up or power cube. The only advantage a veteran player may have is from using their winnings to purchase a variety of perks which enhance the previously mentioned power-ups, movement or energy collection.
Most plainly put, the playing of Gun Monkeys is raw fun. I was nearly as pleased losing as I was winning, and I was often losing. I didn’t mind, because the games were quick and close. It was exciting, nearly chest-pounding so because of how quickly a lead can be lost or gained. If I could have bribed my fellow player hang out in the lobby, for one more rematch, I would have. Gun Monkeys got me hooked. After three or four consecutive games of not blinking and short breath from, well, not breathing I wanted more. More guns, more monkeys and more power-cubes. Give them to me, now.
So let’s see; Monkeys with Guns, Check. Random map and item generation, Check. Ability Enhancement, Check. What’s missing? You. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be playing Gun Monkeys right this moment. In fact, unless you are trapped under car without proper access to your laptop and internet you should be ashamed. Size Five Games carefully crafted these gun toting primates for us to enjoy, it would be rude to not partake.
Gun Monkeys is available on Steam. If you don’t have someone to play with you locally then you are in luck. Each purchase of Gun Monkeys comes with two keys (one in the form of a Steam gift).
Day 29 | Size Five Games