|System: X360, PC, Wii, DS, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Brash Ent.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Brash Ent.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Space Chimps is the very definition of a cheap movie tie-in title. Mix one part summer children's animated film, one part simplistic and repetitive gameplay, one part ugly graphics, and then make sure it hits shelves at the same time as its theatrical release. Although this formula often results in a profit, it also usually produces many subpar and generic video games. Even the plethora of children who are likely clamoring to play as their favorite space faring chimps may be disappointed, as this game is rated such that it is deemed inappropriate for anyone under the age of ten. Sadly, I believe this virtually eliminates most of this game's potential fan base.
The basic concept of Space Chimps sounds like a pretty terrible joke. How many chimps does it take to save a planet? The answer is three, one chimp to get kidnapped by an evil dictator and the other two to break the first free by overthrowing said dictator. If this lame joke describing the storyline behind this game doesn't make you laugh (which it shouldn't), then chances are this game's fairly weak gameplay won't win you over either.
Space Chimp's gameplay is made up mostly of platforming, with some combat and very minor puzzle elements scattered throughout. The puzzles found in this game can barely be qualified as puzzles. The solution to almost everything in the game is find the Zartog (evil dictator) statue located nearby, activate it, grab the Zartog head that is produced, and then use it to advance. These statues will produce either yellow or blue glowing heads, used as keys, or a big head, used to weigh down switches. There isn't any variety to be found here, just these same types of puzzles over and over again.
Combat is equally as repetitive since you only have one attack button. You can press the B trigger once for a basic attack, press it three times for a combo, or jump and press it for a ground pound maneuver. Aside from the game's Luna levels that will have you utilizing a strange creature named Squirt as a makeshift acid-spitting gun, these attacks are all you have. Since your arsenal of moves is extremely limited, combat is a fairly painful experience. Brawling with enemies is also a risky affair, as foes tend to come in groups and love to hit you from behind. Luckily, besides a few rooms that require you to defeat the present enemies to proceed and the final boss, players can just run past most enemies and continue on with the platform jumping that makes up the rest of the game.
Platforming fares much better than I would have expected, giving players a decent variety of maneuvers to perform. Playing as either Ham or Luna, you will get to climb poles, scale vine covered walls, slide down rails, double jump, and even run on green goo-coated walls. With all of its acrobatic similarities to the popular old-school franchise, I wonder why they didn't just call it Primates of Persia, besides the inevitable lawsuit. Later in the game, Luna will acquire her own set of flutter eye wings, which allow her to fly somewhat. When taking to the sky, players will need to keep a close eye on Luna's flutter eye meter, as she will plummet like a brick once it runs out.
Unfortunately, even these somewhat entertaining platforming mechanics are hampered by this game's complete linearity. During any of this game's levels, there is only one path that a player can follow. If you happen to see what appear to be multiple paths, don't be fooled. These only exist so that players can collect a couple different Zartog heads to solve a "puzzle", thus allowing them to continue down the level's only real path once again.