Monkey Barrels is a twin-stick shooter from developer Good-Feel. You might recognise their name from some of their previous titles, including Kirby's Epic Yarn and Yoshi's Crafted World, but this is the first game they've developed and published by themselves.
The premise of Monkey Barrels is that a pair of brave monkeys have set out on a quest to rescue their kidnapped friends from a bunch of robots. You play as one of the two monkeys - interchangeable within the hub world with seemingly no advantages to either (o feel free to pick whichever one you like) - and within the hub you can purchase guns and sort through everything you've unlocked along the way. Alongside the main 22-stage story mode, you can also play online in matches with up to six players, adding another element of play to the mix.
There are just under a hundred weapons to unlock and use, each with their own stats and strengths to take advantage of in battle. Two weapons will be equipped at any one time, mapped to the trigger buttons, with sub-weapons such as explosives or shields being available too. Weapons sadly cannot be used simultaneously, which definitely feels like they missed a beat there, and they have to be reloaded individually also.
The online mode, Banana Scramble is a fun and totally frenzied mode where you'll find bananas scattered all throughout the levels, and all you have to do is make sure that when the match ends, you're the monkey with the most bananas! It's a nice change of pace from the main game, unlocked only once you've progressed far enough in the story. A couch co-op option for this would have been a fantastic option, but sadly for now at least, online is the only way.
With a whole host of different enemy designs to keep things interesting and fresh, you have to constantly keep on your toes as to how you will battle against them as they require different tactics to defeat. You'll often have a horde of enemies coming at you at once, so it can be quite easy to feel trapped, but if you can handle bullet-hells such as Enter the Gungeon, you should be able to hold your own here.
Artistically, Monkey Barrels is visually intriguing. With delightful colour palettes, and an adorable 3D pixel-art style, the game looks gorgeous. Environments often felt quite samey, but with varied character designs, this helped to make up for that somewhat. At £11.99 on the Switch eShop, there are definitely a lot of other games out there that would satisfy the same itch that this does for less, so we'd possibly recommend waiting for a slight price drop before jumping in on this (after all, the eShop does love its sales!). It's a fun game, don't get us wrong, but just doesn't have a lot to keep drawing us back for more.
In the end we decided to give Monkey Barrels the Collecting Asylum rating of: 6/10.
Have you played Monkey Barrels? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!
- V x
Thanks to Good-Feel for the Monkey Barrels Switch review code!