I’ve been playing the latest game from Streaming Colour Studios, Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha [iTunes] since the day it came out in late November. At the time, I bought it solely based on the reputation of the developer to deliver a solid game. Their other app, Dapple [our review], is one of my favorite games on the iPhone, so I hoped to be similarly entertained with the new offering. And, I am happy to report, I was not disappointed in the least.
The rules are simple: color coded monkeys (red and yellow) need to be guided to their correspondingly colored space station without touching each other (or any of the asteroids which fly about in one of the levels). As the level progresses, the action gets fast and furious, requiring nimble fingers to achieve high score success. The game also utilizes multi-touch, allowing complex maneuvers to be carried out if you possess the appropriate dexterity (or a trusted friend)!
Scoring values are increased when you are able to "chain" together several monkeys of the same color to enter the space station as a connected line. Any monkeys on the same chain are also allowed to touch each other. Three levels are immediately accessible: in Deep Space, it’s just monkeys and space stations; in Planetary Chaos, a gravity inducing planet occupies the center of the screen, warping trajectories and flinging monkeys into each other at high speeds; in Asteroids! you have to avoid collisions with a few space rocks as well. In a mid-December version 1.1 release, a fourth level was added, Threes a Crowd which is unlocked when you have saved 750 monkeys. This advanced level features a third monkey, the large blue baboon which, as you may have guessed is paired with a blue space station.
The game looks fantastic and plays super-smooth. The sound effects and music are also are top-notch. The monkeys panic and begin screeching when they are in imminent danger of colliding, giving you just enough time to attempt evasive action before their "personal space" is invaded. The game also lets you play your own music from the iPod, a feature which is always appreciated. For you high-scoring, competitive types, the game interfaces with the OpenFeint system to record your accomplishments.
Monkeys in Space: Escape to Banana Base Alpha is a great addition to the pantheon of iPhone games, providing an abundance of entertainment value for the price, which at the time of this writing, is just 99 cents [iTunes].