The humble Endless Runner genre has been given multiple face lifts but ultimately they’re the same game. Whether you’re swiping Sonic from left to right to avoid spikes, tilting Nathan Drake to collect bottles of Coke Zero, or flicking Guy Dangerous over logs, you’re still getting the same experience but with a different character. So when I read about the release of Tiki Monkeys and how Milk Cap have created a game that is a “fresh take on the runner genre, adding action and strategy elements” I wanted to find out more.
Milk Cap are a new and fairly small London based studio that comprises of three co founders all with a strong background of AAA titles under their belts such as The Sims, SimCity, Need for Speed, Harry Potter, Burnout, Pet Society, and Restaurant City. Tiki Monkeys is the first game from Milk Cap but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.
The game itself is fairly simple. It is an endless runner, but not how you’re used to. The game begins with a short cutscene, similar to Angry Birds, that briefly explains the game. Some cheeky monkeys have stolen the pirates treasure and have stored it on their island, so your goal is to help the pirates get back their treasure.
So as I mentioned it’s an endless runner but not how you’re used to, by that I mean if you’re skilled enough you could just go on and on, but that’s not the aim of the game. The game is comprised of stages which you must get through by tapping on monkeys in order to get the pirates treasure back, but it’s not as easy as it sounds, there are plenty of obstacles in the way to trip you up and if you’re not careful you can fall at the first hurdle.
Now there’s a huge sense of strategy in this game. It may seem easy to go all guns blazing and tap away at everything on the screen but if you tap a spikey fruit your score gets knocked down and if you accidentally touch a lava ball or a lava totem, it’s game over. It’s also much more beneficial for your score if you work on getting combos, you do this by dragging your finger from one monkey or box to another and your little pirate matey will fire at them in order.
To make the game more difficult each stage has a different type of Monkey, you’ve got a basic Monkey that takes one hit, you’ve got a mean looking Ape with a saucepan on his head, that guy takes two hits, there’s also Monkeys who throw things at you – no not poop, fruit – This is something you need to keep an eye on because if you get hit by a banana or coconut, it’s game over. This gameplay mechanic reminds me a lot of Fruit Ninja as you’re required to slice the fruit in half, there’s also the ability to purchase different swords once you’ve collected enough coins.
This also brings us onto our next point. In app purchases and the store. Premium currency can be found in Tiki Monkeys in the form of Rubies, but they’re not essential. In fact, you don’t really need them for anything other than continuing where you left off which I think is brilliant.
The only other thing you use to purchase upgrades, pirates, and swords is the in-game coins that you collect whilst playing the game, or if you’re impatient you can purchase a double coin upgrade for £2.99 which will forever give you a 2x coin bonus, a bag of 33,250 coins for £2.99, 175,000 coins for £13.99 or 500,000 for £34.99. But again, this isn’t necessary unless you really want Wally the Pirate for 250,000 coins.
The more you play this game the better you’ll get as you’ll learn what does what, and who needs to be tapped on twice, your gameplay will also improve thanks to the power-ups that you can purchase with coins, these come in the form of single-use and permanent upgrades.
The single use upgrades offer things like, Mystery Boxes, Score Bonuses, and Area Skips which can be used in-game. The permanent upgrades are the ones I’ve spent the most on so far as they improve the duration of the in-game power-ups that you collect during play, things such as 2x multiplier, the Coin Hook, and Coin Rush.
Overall Tiki Monkeys brings some fresh gameplay mechanics to a frankly worn out genre. There’s more than meets the eye in this game and that’s what I love about it. You’ll find that each area will challenge you in some way whether it’s trying to link up every monkey and box, or getting each and every last coin before you move onto the next level. There’s also the ability to link up to Facebook and see how your friends are doing which adds a sense of challenge to the already challenging game.