Gun Monkeys has surprise jet pack rounds.
I just want to make that clear: every time you play a game of Gun Monkeys there’s a chance you and your opponent will be wearing a limitless jet pack.
To hell with Skyrim’s infinite dragons. That was 2011. Monkeys strapped to tanks of kerosene is the future.
Gun Monkeys is a one-on-one arena shooter. You control a monkey who’s been sent into the future by an energy corporation to collect free and abundant energy that you can then teleport back to the present to power kettles, toasters, and inconveniently power-hungry time machines.
You leap about a randomly-generated level picking up blue cubes of energy and plonking them into your time machine for points. And what do points mean? Trapping your opponent’s monkey in an apocalyptic future with no hope of returning home and forcing the collapse of a rival energy corporation in your own present, of course.
You both begin a game with a reserve of points which trickle away with each passing second. Collecting energy cubes adds more points into the reserve and has the added benefit of reducing your opponent’s stores, too. So the more energy you collect the closer you bring them to zero. At zero you win, they lose, and your monkey can return home for champagne and/or dissection.
Your energy company in the present doesn’t just sling its simians into the future without aid. Each monkey has a cannon strapped to its arm. It’s not a one hit kill, these monkeys are the best of the best, after all.* Killing the enemy monkey reduces their points reserve and can win you the game.
Aid from the present also comes in the form of powerups. Most of these are snazzy weapons – nukes, rail guns, laser-firing miniguns – but some are ridiculous abilities. There’s a powerup called no arms. It literally takes away your opponent’s arms. You can fight an armless jet pack-wearing monkey in this game.
Shoot it with a nuke and it will paint the level in blood. I hope you laugh as maniacally as I did when you see it for the first time.
The absolute best weapon of all, though, the one which will fill you with joy to get a hit with, has to be your monkey bombs. Press shift and you drop an innocent-looking black rectangle. Three seconds after hitting the ground it explodes into three level-spanning plumes of smoke, one vertical and two horizontal. It’s basically a maxed out Bomberman bomb. Anything caught in the smoke dies instantly.
There’s nothing I’ve found more satisfying than seeing your opponent (who may be a close friend or colleague… Jeremy) running for their time machine, three energy cubes in hand, cubes that will win the game, and dropping a mine that lines up with the portal. The monkey’s blown to pieces, the cubes are destroyed, and their points are knocked down by another 35.
I’m telling you this because I want you to feel as baffled as I am that you aren’t playing Gun Monkeys. No one is and it’s killing something brilliant.
It’s multiplayer only and requires players to function. Without them you log into an empty server and cry because you will not be blowing up monkeys today.
Empty servers are usually the sign of a bad game or one that’s been around for far too long. Gun Monkeys is neither. It simply suffered from a poor launch. There weren’t enough players around to guarantee a multiplayer match. This meant people who logged in and couldn’t immediately find a game left unhappy and didn’t log in again, which meant there were fewer people on the servers, meaning fewer matches, meaning more unhappy players, meaning the game’s current situation.
Developer Dan Marshall clearly loves this game desperately. He’s tried to solve the problem by cutting the price to just £3, giving away a second key with each copy of the game, and running a free weekend on Steam. Hell, he’s even made it so that when you play the game it generates more Steam keys which you can give away to friends.
This game needs players and you should be one of them. Buy Gun Monkeys today, give a key to your friend, start a game and instantly feel your purchase vindicated.
What are you waiting for? A hilarious trailer? Fine. But then buy buy buy.
*Or the result of horrendous genetic experiments (it’s not a distinction the game dwells on).