Nitako's Rasta Monkey [App Store] arrived in the App Store early this morning and we've since had a chance to sit down and play this interesting iPhone title.
The game is a 2D platformer in which you play a Rastafarian monkey. Your job is to swing through the branches to collect fruit and navigate obstacles. You control your monkey by way of the multi-touch screen. Pressing on the right or left sides of the screen provides you with movement, while holding down on both sides of the screen allows you to start swinging in a circle. Let go at the right moment, and you catapult yourself into the air. This swinging/jumping maneuver is central to the gameplay and you'll have a chance to practice it -- a lot.
Even in the weeks leading to its launch, this title was often compared to another iPhone swinging-platformer Sway. After playing both of the games, the comparisons become even more pronounced. The early play (and frustrations) of the games do feel similar. You'll find yourself falling -- a lot. You'll also find yourself trying the same segment over and over until you make it through. The game controls and overall feel, however, are quite different.
Rasta Monkey is a relatively simpler affair in both graphics and gameplay. The game comes with only 10 levels of progressive difficulty, and the first few levels are rather short and easy. The most challenging portions of the game come primarily from the aiming and timing of your launching abilities. Thankfully, checkpoints are frequent, but there can be a level a high level of repetition and frustration to these portions of the game. And it wasn't until the last few levels that we saw some fun and interesting level design elements that we wished we'd seen sooner.
At only $1.99, it's hard to be too critical of the game and many of our forum users seem very happy with their purchase. The gameplay, however, simply didn't capture us enough to make us feel that this is a "must have" title even at this price.
The developers do provide a web demo (click on Play tab) if you have the Unity web plug-in installed. The demo provides a reasonably accurate taste of the early levels with keyboard controls.
App Store Link: Rasta Monkey, $1.99