Saturday, January 30, 2010

Video game number twenty two: Space Chimps

Game review number twenty two in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Space Chimps".

Part two in my Saturday Chimp Saga is Space Chimps. I played them in this order on purpose, because I figure you should get to be president and THEN go to space (I chose to rank the jobs in order of excitement).

This game is apparently based on a movie, only I've never heard of it. I'm sure I saw the preview for it at some point, but it has been completely erased from my mind. I'm sure the space in my head that once stored information on the Space Chimps movie has been replaced with some more important fact....such as "Did you know Shia Labeouf flipped his car while driving drunk during the filming the Transformers sequel? Yeah, that's why he had to wear that silly hand bandage during the part of the movie where he goes to robot heaven".

Anyway, this game is a pretty decent platformer. You are a chimp named "Ham", (presumably an astronaut if your uniform is any indicator) and apparently, you're trapped on some crazy planet for some reason. There are other characters in the game, and they have silly conversations that I didn't much care for in the cut scenes.

The game itself was entertaining enough to continue for at least a little while. You run, you jump, you pick up bananas for power and little gumdrop things called "Globhoppers" can be found hidden all over the place (I think all these things give you is achievements). There are Dole brand bananas that you can collect to unlock costumes (I unlocked a mime outfit, which was pretty funny). If I had to compare this game to a platformer I had played...I'd have to go back to Munch's Odyssey. Not great, not bad....just..good.

I will say one thing for Space Chimps. It has succeeded in making me feel more retarded than any other video game has in recent history. On the second level, you switch from the "Ham" character to some female chimp named "Luna". Right off the bat, you notice she doesn't seem to have a weapon. I assumed that maybe that's a part of the level and carried on. A very short time into your journey, you are asked by one of the in game characters to find "Squirt". I look across this chasm, and I saw an icon I haven't seen before. I assume this icon is "Squirt". I jump to it, and now I'm getting in game instructions to press the "X" button to attack. The "X" button isn't doing anything. The enemies kill me, over and over again.

I restart this level, my "X" button still isn't working, and eventually...I think maybe there's something wrong with my controller. I pop the battery out and in. No dice. I reboot the game. Still no dice. I search the internet. There is no walkthrough for this game anywhere online that I can find. I search forums. No one mentions anything about not being able to attack in the second level. I've literally spent 20 minutes trying to figure out why the fuck I can't hit anything with this stupid girl monkey.

Finally, I find a post on the Xbox forums from someone having the exact same problem. Turns out that "Squirt" is a little lizard I didn't see....and he's standing right next to the dude who told me to find him. When you pick him up, he turns into a "Squirt Gun". OMG LOLZ. Getting through the rest of the level was cake after that, but man did I feel stupid.

This game is filled with difficult jumping puzzles, and although you can get a ton of gamerscore just going through the campaign...the bulk of it seems to come through beating levels in under a certain target time. The story wasn't compelling to me (I have no idea if it's based on the movie or an entirely new adventure) but after 3 levels...I'm calling it a game.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 10. Simply average.

Kid factor: I can't see this being a fun game for small kids, as it's kind of difficult. Even if you find that lizard that I missed, there are still a bunch of really tough jumping puzzles....that take excellent timing. I died a LOT while learning them.

Retro-factor: This is more the kind of game that someone my age might want to play to remember the golden days when there was an endless selection of platformer games for the Nintendo, Sega and Turbographx-16. Or hell, even the days of the N64 when they all turned into 3D platformers. It's simple, it's fun...and it's a nice change of pace from all the shooters out there right now. It's deeper than an Xbox Live Arcade game, and after a quick search around the looks like it's priced around 20 bucks these days. Not bad I suppose.

Aside from the 20 minutes or more I spent stuck on that one level, I only played this game for about an hour or so. In that time, I was able to unlock these achievements:

I think I might go back and finish this one. Maybe. Someday.


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