Bonkies Nintendo Switch review: monkey business

While the Nintendo Switch has innovated with bringing back some great franchises and making them into instant sellers, it’s also seen its fair share of indie co-op-supported games. Overcooked! and its sequels are easy recommends; and the just-released Moving Out is a bit of a blast too.

And now we have Bonkies, a visually charming co-op adventure where you guide a bunch of monkeys in a game of Jenga of sorts, as they attempt to build a specific structure across a variety of stages, using somewhat clumsy robotic arms to get the job done.

It’s not the greatest when it comes to single player content, but when it comes to having a few laughs with friends while trying to build something, you might just have fun with these monkeys.

It starts right and keeps on building

Right off the bat, Bonkies introduces a fun, playful tone that’s ideal for all ages. There are puns aplenty, including a few groaners that you might chuckle at anyway; along with fun animations that really give each of the monkeys something to have fun with. On top of that, the levels are neat, with unique structures to put together, as well as obstacles and pieces that can break apart trying to wreak havoc. And that’s on top of trying to put the structure together in the first place.

We played a few rounds in local multiplayer and it’s a lot of fun. There are times that the “we almost had it!” factor of the game may be frustrating to some, but it’s also enough motivation to get back into the match. There’s a good level of addictiveness here, and hardly anything mean-spirited to turn you away.

The only downside to the multiplayer is that it’s local co-op only. There is no online multiplayer, as Studio Gauntlet didn’t have the chance to implement it. Hopefully, they’ll get a chance in the future, because some folks are just stuck without others to play with, especially in the face of COVID. And that brings us to…

Single player just can’t find structure

There’s single player support for Bonkies, complete with their own levels and certain challenges for players to overcome. And while it has its moments, it just can’t measure up to multiplayer. That’s because the game’s lackluster AI doesn’t really help you get through the stages as well as you could in the co-op levels. It just feels like it’s trying to catch up to the game’s main attraction.

Now, in theory, you could give single player a try to get used to the gameplay and then apply what you’ve learned from that into the multiplayer, so it’s not a complete waste by any means. But I can’t help but think that the developers could’ve twisted it around a little – or, again, thrown in that online multiplayer so that some folks aren’t left out in the cold.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys?

If it weren’t for the lackluster single player support and the missing online multiplayer, Bonkies would be an easy recommend right up there with the previously mentioned party games. As it stands, it’s good fun if you’ve got family or friends around and want to, ahem, “monkey” around with them. But if it’s just you, you may want to look around to see what else on the market. There’s a lot you can put together here, but it helps to bring a crew along instead of trying to do it yourself.

RATING: 7/10

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