Glu’s ‘Space Monkey’ is the second primate themed game to hit the iPhone. Except this time your task isn’t to guide the cheeky blighters around in glass balls. Earth’s Space Agency has a problem! Space has become a dumping ground for humanities waste, and to avoid dirtying their hands further, they have recruited man’s closet hairy relative to do the dirty work for them, You!
After a beautifully presented animated intro showing you being forcefully shoved out of an airlock into the grubby unknown, it’s down to business. It’s your job to clear each level of any garbage, while avoiding hazards along the way. The game presents your character centred on screen with planets and comets in the background of deep space. Garbage begins to float from offscreen at 8 angles towards you. As they near you must rotate your monkey so that either his hands or feet line up with a piece of garbage, monkey will then automatically grab the garbage as it floats by.
The challenge increases as garbage appears more frequently and at more angles, resulting in moments of mayhem as you spin him around to catch every piece. Once you have built up the quota bar in the bottom right corner of the screen, it’s time to move on to the next space zone. There are also hazards to avoid while you catch the flotsam and jetsam. If these hazards come into contact with monkey’s hands or feet then you will receive an electric shock and your quota will decrease. You must avoid these by positioning your monkey’s ligaments so they don’t make contact. When hazards appear from all angles at the same time, you must flick and spin you monkey faster so that he hits them away, but make sure you stop your monkey by tapping him before he chunders in his helmet!
On later levels, some challenges appear, examples include a Yo Yo and some Juggling balls. With the Yo Yo, you must catch it and avoid any object hitting it, the longer you hold a Yo Yo or two your points increase. Juggling balls is a similar concept except you must catch them with your feet and try and juggle as many as you can. Alien ships, space pirates and other enemies turn up later to further hamper your cleaning duties, but I don’t want to mention those and spoil the game for you.
Space monkey is a simple game, but it doesn’t mean that Glu have scrimped on presentation… quite the contrary. As I mentioned earlier, the game has a great animated cut scene which brilliantly sets the scene. This quality is continued in game with some great cartoon like backgrounds, and animated character art with a fun 16bit quality to it along the lines of the fantastic Earthworm Jim that appeared on the SEGA Megadrive in the 90s. Music is very catchy if a little repetitive (I have caught myself humming it several times of late), and the sound effects add to the cartoon feel.
Overall, Space Monkey is great little game. It’s simple but addictive and captures the essence of the casual market recently defined by the DS and Wii, and will appeal to gamers on the go that need a gaming quick fix.