What made me pick Chimpact this week? Let’s see… it looked “colorful” and had monkeys in it. Wow…my standards are slipping.
Chimpact has two modes, both of which follow the vertical platforming genre: the traditional reach the top and collect items mode, and a challenge mode. With both, the mechanics remain the same. Get on a platform, pull down on your platform to power up your jump, move your finger to aim, and release to send your monkey (who’s name is appropriately, Chuck) sailing upwards toward the next platform/collectible/banana.
Gem Mode, has you focus all your efforts on collecting gems (surprise!) to unlock more levels and so on. It’s pretty standard stuff, perhaps too standard. And even the basic fundamentals here aren’t solid. First off, the gems themselves aren’t that hard to find. The levels are linear enough that the only place the devs can really hide them are behind clusters of leaves, and the remaining gems will only be slightly off the main path. A mildly slower second playthrough will net you the rest without much effort. There aren’t any obstacles or enemies until later, and if you somehow manage to hit them, your only punishment is losing some of your “precious” bananas. There isn’t even a timer, so you can make your way up to the top with no hurry or threat of a countdown. You’ll get bored of this mode early on, and probably roll over to the Challenge Mode.
Challenge Mode doesn’t seem that bad, at first. Here you are tasked with completing five challenges per level, each with a different objective. Some have you collect bugs, hit clocks before time runs out, or race a “ghost”, and so on, but the refreshing dose of change wears off eventually. The “variety” is revealed to be just superficial, as pretty much every challenge at its core will fall into either “race/destroy object/avoid object” none of which are anything with lasting appeal. And it was in this mode that Chimpact’s dirty secret came to light…
Chimpact has in-app purchases (or what I consider to be the cancer of Apple gaming), which rear their ugly heads in the form of a powerup store. Among other things, you can buy “time boosts” that give you more time in countdown challenges; magnets that attract more bananas to Chuck, or a light that shows nearby gem locations. You can buy these powerups with those bananas you’ve been collecting (admittedly, it isn’t that pricey), or you can buy bunches of the fruit with real cash. Sticking with my IAP rule, I didn’t buy any. One: because I will be thrown into the sun before I support IAPs, and two: because I actually wanted the game to remain FUN.
So what do we have so far? A boring main mode, a slightly less boring challenge mode, and the presence of in-app-purchases. At that point, the only time I had even seen glimmers of fun were when I played the challenges, when some of the races came down to the wire. But even with that small shine of hope, you could easily counter: “they just give you less time to make you want to buy the powerups.” That could be true, and my cynical side (my only side) is inclined to believe that. Lesson to developers: stop putting IAPs in! It makes me question your motives, which shouldn’t be any concern of mine when I’m playing a GAME!!!!
You’d think with all of the other letdowns, at least the polish would be nice. Well, although it’s certainly not the worst part of the game, it doesn’t help out either. The graphics and sound aren’t bad, just repetitive. The “worlds” are just the same jungle at slightly different times of day, and the sounds are likewise generic. Even the controls are a bit touchy at times. Since you have to pull down on just the right spot to power up, and since not touching on the right spot moves the camera, you’ll sometimes find yourself running out of screen to pull down on.
Chimpact is not a horrible game, in that I didn’t want to shove pens into my eyes when I play it (ahem, Clumsy Pirates), but I wouldn’t classify it as good, either. It’s nothing memorable, and is flat-out boring (the cardinal sin of games). You might get small doses of enjoyment from it (small), but you’ll know you could be having more fun elsewhere