“Monkey, hurry up!!” Better get used to hearing that throughout the game as you are enslaved and led around by a techie wind farm girl to do her bidding. When I re-read the previous sentences, it makes the game sound like something totally different than what it is supposed to be. The short of it is, buy the game, play and enjoy it. If you want more details, read on…
Here are my starting tips for the game that you should keep in mind –
– Play the game on Hard difficulty because the game is really not that difficult and you get 3 achievements (finishing game on easy, normal and hard mode)
– Never listen to Trip(short for Triptaka) when she tells you to hurry. Instead take time to explore the areas around you for red orbs (in-game upgrade currency)
– When fighting bosses, pick up orbs because you will not have a chance to pick them up after the fight is over
– To get the Invincible achievement – restart from last checkpoint if you die
The game starts with you (Monkey) escaping from a slave ship. It turns into a journey back to Trip’s home that then becomes a journey for revenge after the village is discovered destroyed by slavers. I love how the developers used the same graphics engine to do the cut scenes thus giving a better flow. There is no doubt that the environments and in-game graphics are amazing. Besides the colorful and lush environments, each of the characters has very descriptive facial expressions when talking. The slave headband that is put on you allows a HUD to appear on your screen that not only keeps you updated on your health and shield but also establishes an audio link between you and Trip.
A nice touch was how when you are close to Trip you hear her voice clearly but as you move away from her, it turns in to a radio transmission. The background/environment sounds fit the game well. During combat music and attack sounds help give you a pumped up feeling. The soundtrack was especially chill when you were floating and moving around on water while using your Cloud. The only issue I found with sound was when audio volume would go down during certain cut scenes.
As far as controls are concerned they are pretty much standard and easy to learn. No complicated combos to learn but the combos you do learn are essentials when you are surrounded by enemies. You also get to issue commands to Trip to act as a distraction by being a decoy, providing you with combat/skill upgrade options, and pumping your energy back to full(rarely used) using serums you find in the game.
The game play was pretty linear and it was a shame not to be able to explore the world freely. However, the combat was varied and interesting enough to where the button mashing was not tedious. Though, there were times when wished I could knock enemies off ledges. To make up for it you get a stun ability that you have to charge up or you can shoot stun ammo that has the same effect. With upgrades, these abilities become extremely useful in fighting multiple enemies and you’ll need these stuns to attack shielded mechs or quickly take out mechs broadcasting for reinforcements. Another way to take out shielded enemies is to use evade and get behind them to attack. A wide attack is also provided in the beginning which allows you to create breathing room for yourself. You also have the opportunity to sneak by enemies which is one of the in-game achievements. Besides being able to shoot stun ammo, you have plasma ammo to take out the pesky ranged rocket mechs. If you find mechs targeting Trip, you can also use your distract ability to draw them to you.
Not all upgrades seem to be available in the beginning as they are tiered, or open up as you progress through the chapters. The red orbs you get from killing mechs (automatically get drawn to you when are in proximity) or collecting them along the way are used to speed up the upgrade process. If you intend to go back in a chapter to collect leftover orbs, carry Trip with you as sometimes you can trigger the pain sequence for being too far from her. Along the way you will come across white masks that trigger memory sequences. Their relevance is revealed at the end of the story. Collect half or all of them and you earn a couple achievements.
Some of the quirks you’ll encounter are invisible terrain that block your movement, the need to be at a certain spot to jump up or off ledges, quirky camera angles and the foremost, the lack of a save option. The game chooses when to save to a certain checkpoint so unless you want to redo the section from the last checkpoint, you’ll have to play up till the next one to save. This was especially frustrating when trying for certain achievements and having to wade through the same content to get to the one area you need.
[Spoiler Alert – highlight text to view] At the end of the game, you discover that the slavers are driven by Pyramid, the collective memories of one man who is trying to be an ark to save mankind. The white masks you encounter during the game are the images from this archive. The slaves are all freed and you are freed. It would have been nice to see a video of the aftermath.
But in the end, the game was great to play and floating around on the Cloud along with music was really fun. Plus I learned a new word from this game – Clamber. Also, check out the huge gallery of high-res screenshots and concept art!