Bonkies (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

While it may sound like a breakfast cereal, Bonkies is actually a game where you help space monkeys build structures on distant planets.  Guide your monkey in a space suit as you fly around with a jetpack, picking up blocks with a special claw and putting them in the designated spots before time runs out.  Bonkies is available on most current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Use the L stick to fly around, and the face buttons will point your claw in various directions, handy when you need to grab onto a block at a specific point.  Hold down the R trigger button and you’ll grab onto a nearby block and carry it around.  Release the button to let it go.  If the block you’re carrying is too heavy, you can hold down the L trigger button for a boost of speed from your jetpack.  You have a limited amount of time in each stage to place blocks inside an outline.  If you can’t do so, you’ll have to start the level over again.  You’ll have to deal with special blocks as well, like breakable glass blocks, hovering blocks, and frames which are handy for stacking.

The game says right at the beginning that it’s best played in multiplayer, and I can see why.  There is a single player campaign, but they don’t give you enough time in it to complete objectives unless you make no mistakes at all, which is hard in a physics based game such as this.  But even in multiplayer, you have to deal with others getting in your way and such.  The game was so hard that I couldn’t even get past the tutorial planet!

This game actually reminds me of another title called Part Time UFO, a crane game styled challenge from HAL Laboratory (makers of Kirby and Smash Bros.), and it’s available on mobile devices and the Switch.  Even though Part Time UFO only uses one button to grab onto things with your claw, I think it’s a much better kind of game than Bonkies.  Sometimes less is more.  I hope the developers of Bonkies can go back and play Part Time UFO to get some ideas on how to improve their game.  It’s not that Bonkies is bad, it’s just way too hard and the controls are overly complicated.  I’d say, try Part Time UFO first, and if you like it and want more of a challenge, then you can go Bonkies!

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.  Bonkies is rated E for Everyone.

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