We here at sevengames.com have high standards for ourselves. In our Quick Byte, we want to jump into a game for 30 minutes and share our impressions. Sure, it is not the most thorough possible review, but sometimes half an hour is all it takes to have a very solid opinion about an online or mobile game. For this Quick Byte, I chose Ubisoft’s Monkey King Escape. Unfortunately, I was torn between wanting to escape from the game and actually enjoying it…
Solid Presentation and Easy to Get into
Oh endless runners, I don’t really know what to do with you. You look like a platformer, you feel like a platformer, and you play like one. However, you are not a true jump and run game. Your levels don’t end. They are procedurally generated. You don't want me to beat them, but to simply last as long as possible. Compared to masterfully developed Mario, Sonic, or Rayman games, this seems like the cheap way out. I chose Monkey King Escape as my first endless runner, and while I partially enjoyed myself, I quickly felt an inner frustration build up inside me.
Sure, the tutorial was short and sweet and the gameplay simple to learn. Swiping in the right direction in the right moment pretty much did the job. I was really excited when I started playing the app: Solid graphics, a lovely presentation, easy controls – I thought nothing could go wrong. Then, I died. I was pleased when a free “continue” allowed me to continue my run. Then, I died again. I had to learn that after that one random “continue”, another one would have to be purchased with real money. No thank you, I’d rather try my luck again - which I did, over and over again.
In Monkey King Escape, you start off from the beginning of a level every single time you decide to go for another run. While the stage is slightly different every time you restart, I couldn’t help but feel a little lost. In regular jump and runs, I jump back into a tough level because I want to beat it; I want to reach its very end and be rewarded for it. How do I scramble together the same kind of motivation for a game that is endless? Sure, collecting “meters” will allow my monkey king to travel further on a world map where he can collect prizes, but will I play through the same beginning of a randomly generated level over and over again in order to collect some rewards?
Not to mention that Ubisoft seems quite keen on draining me of my money in Monkey King Escape. In-game purchases are hidden behind every corner. The user interface also struck me as unpleasant since it was quite overloaded and full of buttons that I dared not click for fear of purchasing something that I didn’t want. All of this makes me put on a doubtful face and give the endless runner a side thumb.