Two of my favourite things combined into one. No, not Porn Sandwich, but Bass Monkey. That funky monkey. This is one of those indie games I’d never heard of unless the dev reached out. I’m glad they did.
Let’s be upfront, though: this isn’t going to blow you away, and the repetition of button-mashing, lagging, and seemingly endless supplies of rodents might even put you off. They’re all not-so-cool things. However, this hack and slash from Jacob Weersing is oozing with charm.
First of all, it’s the visuals. They remind me of the cover disks (spelt correct – I’m talkin’ floppies) you used to get on mags like Amiga Format. No slip of the tongue on the format itself as Bass Monkey feels like an Amiga game and no doubt why I liked it.
They’re a hand-drawn style that’s sketchy – both meanings – but charming, nevertheless. Without a doubt, the monkey of the title was my favourite, and the fact that they sport a bass guitar makes it so much better. But who gives a monkey’s about the visuals – what do you have to do in the game?!
Well, that’s the second part of the charm: you’re going to release a five-song EP. Bass Monkey is a relatively seamless side-scrolling platform game where each area is separated by a mic stand (that triggers your song), or blocked off by elephant bouncers. The aim is to survive an onslaught of fans seeking autographs, place your set and then hopefully get on the scoreboard.
That’s pretty much it, and that notion of repetition is a large factor. Your character has three attacks, a dodge and a jump. Combining the attacks makes for better gameplay, but for me, it was incredibly laggy, and I eventually was mashing the buttons without employing any skill. You’ll be awarding points for each kill, the same when you collect bananas. However, when you trigger a song, the enemies will spam you until the time is up.
Chaos ensues big time, and if it weren’t for the infinite continues, this would be a challenging game. That said, one of the achievements is to get through the game without dying once. Good luck with that. Though Bass Monkey is a short game, for a couple of the songs, I found some exploits where standing still until the timer ran down removed all the threats. Naturally, there’s no fun in that, and you won’t be the top banana on the leaderboard, so get stuck in.
Button-mashing and lagging might have you scrolling to the end looking for a score (good luck, I don’t give them), but I enjoyed my time with the game. By the second song, it was like reliving the 16-bit era again, but from the perspective of indie development, or if we’re talking Amiga references, public domain titles and freeware. It’s no coincidence that Bass Monkey is free-to-play, so there’s no reason not to check this out. Here’s the other reason: the music.
It could be argued that this is a very clever way of getting an EP out there, and I’m all for it. The score doesn’t grab you by the genitalia and puke down your throat (yum), but it has enough hooks to chill to it and click that link in the menu to find out where to get it from. The music here really is good. Unique, catchy and fun – very much like the game.
So, there’s no need to clamp your fists around your wallet/your folks’ credit card – Bass Monkey is free. Your time isn’t free, but stop being so arrogant and give yourself at least 30 minutes to run through and not be amused by animals with the shits, crazy bananas, co-op play for up to four people and a bass and a monkey. FTW.