iPhone App Review: Protect the Monkeys

iPhone App Review: Protect the Monkeys

August 13th, 2011 by

From developer Yeeda Games comes a new match-three game with an explosive twist. In Protect The Monkeys you must slide the rows and columns around in an effort to match three or more symbols. Bring the three monkeys together and you complete the level. Pretty standard match-three gameplay, right? The twist is that every move you make brings the bombs on the board one step closer to exploding, and if they blow up within range of your monkeys you lose immediately.

Protect The Monkeys features hand-drawn graphics, original music, Game Center support, and there is an HD version available for the iPad (as a separate purchase).

How It Works

The gameplay is familiar to veterans of the genre: match three or more of a symbol in a row, and those blocks disappear. Rather than swapping the placement of two blocks as in something like Bejeweled, you tap and drag a row or column and slide all of its contents until you make a match. As blocks fall to fill in the empty spaces they may match other blocks already in place, giving you bonus points for making multiple combos. Bombs on the board count down with every move, and explode when they reach zero. Make sure the bombs are nowhere near your monkeys when they explode, otherwise the game is over. Line up the monkeys in order to advance to the next level.

Gameplay automatically saves and can be continued when you re-launch the app. You can listen to your own music while you play or enjoy the funky groove included in the app. A brief tutorial presents itself whenever you launch a new game.

Pros And Cons

The game itself presents a nice twist on the old match-three formula. Rather than an arbitrary timer that runs down as you play (and that runs your stress level up in the process), the bombs tick only with your moves. If you can manage to get them away from your monkeys then you can buy some more time to finish the level. It’s a nice balance between being having no time limit at all, or having a stress-timer force you to move quickly and possibly make mistakes.

The hand-drawn graphics are cute and well-suited to the gameplay. Making the three monkey icons stand out in a sea of other symbols is no easy feat, and the artists have done a great job. The music is a similarly good fit for the game, and the developers thankfully included the ability to rock your own tunes while you play instead.

While there is no universal version available, the iPhone version and the HD version for iPad are both offered for $0.99. It’s a nice change from developers asking several dollars more for a version of an app that is basically the same thing as the smaller version, only with bigger graphics.

My only issue with the app is in how much screen real estate is taken up by the banner at the top, where your score and level are displayed (along with a pair of buttons for Pause and Hint). On the iPhone 4 there is basically an entire inch of space devoted to two numbers and two small buttons, relegating the game itself to the rest of the small screen. With some tweaking of the icon graphics the gameplay area should be able to be expanded a bit.

Overall

Protect The Monkeys is a fun twist on an old style of game. It’s simultaneously fast and thoughtful, depending on your play style, which makes it a fun game for kids and adults alike.

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