Chillingo never fail to bring a smile to my face with their game ideas. Their latest effort involves a monkey riding a motorcycle and performing stunts. I mean, what's not to like?
Of course, the big question is; is the game any good? It certainly looks the part with a side on semi-3D angle which mimicks games like Joe Danger and a design that hints at a Trials HD style experience. The graphics are bright and colourful, as you'd expect from the subject matter and the monkey himself is a lovable little scamp, all wide eyed and ready to ride.
But this is no Trials clone, which soon becomes clear when you start playing. After a quick tutorial that takes you though the ropes, you'll need to think fast and move faster to keep going. Yes, it's another endless runner, but one that takes a new approach to the genre with the stunt based bike antics. Throughout the level are hills which need to be climbed. Take them with enough speed and your simian friend will jump and get air time, allowing you to pull off tricks which, in turn, give you boost when you land.
Controlling the bike is pretty straight forward. There are left and right controls on the left of the screen, though these are sometimes small enough that I found my fingers slipping off them once or twice, and stunts are performed by swiping and swirling actions with you finger while the chimp is flying through the air. Nothing overly complicated and it all works just as it should.
In between these stunts there are go faster spaces, coins to collect and obstacles to avoid such as spikes and walls to smash in to. Once you crash it's game over and you'll need to start from the beginning. You do get to keep all your coins, though, which go towards new power-ups and costumes in the shop. Some of these power-ups are essential for getting just that bit further in the game. You can go for extra air time, quicker landings or more power.
In addition to this there are Mario-style boxes that offer up limited power-ups during the course of the race. These are often pretty basic but do come in handy when trying to gain the high scores needed to keep you on top of the global score charts that Chillingo are running for the game.
Wait a minute, did I say race? That's right, there's a big evil looking gorilla who joins you on the circuit once you get going and he will stop at nothing to push you off the track or into a wall. Avoiding this guy is just as important as hitting the next jump and so building up your own strength by spending more of those coins is required.
There are even Jetpack Joyride-style missions that will challenge you to perform certain tasks on your next race, though they never feel as if enough reward is given for completing them and there is currently no list of those that you've already completed.
Nitro Chimp is a great little time waster that rides on the success of having a monkey on a motorbike as much as the thrill of the stunt-based racing. Although it always feels as if there should be more to the game, it's still fun to pick up and play.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
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