What happens when Peggle’s ball-bouncing-onto-peg gameplay meets a bouncy monkey? The answer’s Crazy Monkey Spin, which was the highlight of our recent visit to Digital Chocolate’s Sumea studio in Helsinki.
The basic idea is that you control a monkey who spins around pegs using his tail. Using one-touch button presses, you launch your spinning monkey into space, aiming him at the pegs dotted throughout the 2D zoo-based levels.
Aim correctly - an arrow will give you a rough idea of where he’s heading when you press the button - and he’ll hook onto a new peg, probably picking up bonus bananas in the process. Bananas are the in-game currency that you collect to buy power-up hats.
But even if you miss the peg you were aiming for, the monkey will just bounce around, off the floor, and eventually rehook himself to a peg. This isn’t a game where monkey suffers horrible falling death.
As with all one-touch games, the complexity comes from the way you interact with the various objects in the environment. For example, you can generate longer and more powerful jumps, building up chains by getting into a regular one-button rhythm.
There are also special items that will enable you get to where you want to go, such as the hippo you have to ride in one level.
As for the game’s concept, you’re trying to save the zoo animals from a computer that’s gone mad, or something. This means you’ll have to spin around 50 levels set in five themed areas - Antarctic, Jungle, Savannah, Bamboo forest and Aquarium - unlocking the caged creatures as you go and taking care of five boss characters.
As well as the main mode, other options include a quickplay timed mode.
So far, so Digital Chocolate you might be thinking, and indeed it’s difficult to get across with words why our time playing Crazy Monkey Spin was such fun.
There was a real satisfaction to the bouncy physics, even when launching the monkey around the level and not bothering with completing the mission. Of course, this experience was nicely topped off with the typically great Sumea graphical and audio style too.
Crazy Monkey Spin will be out for mobile, as well as iPhone and iPod touch, and web sometime during May.