In the distant future, the human race is wiped from the Earth following a failed perpetual energy experiment. Well, technically it succeeded – energy now rains from the sky – but the whole everyone being dead thing kinda puts a damper on it. Not that it’s going to stop clever entrepreneurs like yourself.
In Gun Monkeys, a two-dimensional, one-on-one multiplayer shooter, you head-up one of many power companies attempting to harvest that sweet future-energy. You do so by sending a bunch of heavily armed monkeys to retrieve it. Why monkeys? Why not! They’re efficient, expendable, and too stupid to revolt. Besides, all the rival corporations had the same idea, so…
As such, you have to fight tooth and nail to nab any power, the armed primates ripping each other to shreds to do so. A rifle and a couple landmines are your primary weapons. Power-ups and limited use weaponry appears periodically via crates, each granting brief but powerful advantages. Magnetize yourself and draw all unclaimed energy cubes toward you or literally disarm (as in, no arms to carry anything with) your opponent and watch as they run around helplessly. Or grab a cryogenic rifle and freeze them in their tracks, maybe a mini-nuke and outright decimate them. What the crates produce is random, of course, but you can never go wrong with either gun or power-up.
Both can be buffed through perks bought with cash earned from winning matches. Damage boosts and prolonged status ailments makeup the array of options available, all providing key enhancements to help ensure victory when employed correctly.
Earning cash proves difficult, however, due to the lack of server traffic. Gun Monkeys sees few players cross paths, inviting friends your best bet at regular match-ups. The game suffered from some dreadful connectivity issues for its first couple weeks (which have since been fixed; every game I’ve played recently has gone off without a hitch), no doubt a cause of the low player population. A shame, as the game is good fun.
Gun Monkeys is a game of tug-of-war. Each power cube collected awards one player with points while subtracting the same value from the other. Three blocks can be carried at a time, more points gained/lost depending on how much power is deposited at a time. Energy manifests constantly, ensuring no one player can easily hog it all for himself.
Randomly-generated levels keep each game unpredictable. Jetpacks and flooded arenas alter the level gravity and movement, while saws weaponize the environment, energy often dropping in their midst. The stage always remains small and simple, the placement of platforms and terraformed ground never the same between matches. It seems insignificant, but is actually very crucial as the environment drastically changes the dynamics of weaponry. Explosives won’t do much good in cramped spaces, for instance, always containing at least a few crevices to hide in.
You have to be quick and decisive with strategy. Matches begin as swiftly as they begin, a well-placed landmine all that stands between you and victory. Respawning takes just long enough to give your adversary a strong advantage, especially if the energy has been dropping near their vortex. You can bounce back, of course – the best games always move back-and-forth – but that lost time really puts you behind.
Win or lose, however, Gun Monkeys entertains. Deserted servers are an unfortunate setback, but the resulting manic play make the long wait for matches worthwhile. Just rope a few friends in to be safe.