App of the day: Don't Steal My Banana review (iPhone)
There's a lot to be said for monkeys, particularly ones wearing shades. That's the prime reason that we downloaded Don't Steal My Banana, an app in which you need to hold a line of defence by lobbing fruits to fend off a variety of hungry mammals whom, as the title suggests, want to eat the giant banana that your character's sitting on.
Don't Steal My Banana
Rather than single taps to launch the yellow fruit, the game works by a press-and-hold mechanism which charges up how far each throw will go - a bit like those golf games where you need to get the angle and power right. But in rapid fire mode. And with fruit.
A short tap of the screen means those defensive bananas will land near to the left side of the screen, while longer holds - which obviously take longer to account for - launch the fruit further across to the right from where the onslaught of hungry foe comes streaming in. You'll need to be precise - and a bit lucky - to stop a mass of enemies eating up that giant banana which, over time and as the mass of bite marks clearly reveals, results in game over. Finito. Kaput.
But there are additional options of defence: there's a nuclear banana bomb used to clear the screen of all enemies which is essentially a single-use tool, but does then slowly recharge over time to become available for use once again.
As with so many "freemium" games it's also possible to buy extra "magic bananas" - the game's currency - in the shop or to try your hand at gambling luck by spinning a giant wheel of fortune. Magic bananas can otherwise be acquired by levelling-up, which is achieved by pummelling enemies with fruit in sequence to gain combos and greater points. We're generally opposed to unnecessary money-nabbing ventures so sacked off the concept of buying extras from the very moment the game optioned it.
Don't Steal My Banana's enemies come in waves and get tougher to fend off as the game continues. Single-hit monkeys become red-coloured ones which take two hits to dispatch, while already tough gorillas eventually turn blue/green and are a right pain to keep at bay. The tougher, multiple-hit enemies tend to be the slower ones which gives you more time to selectively kill off each one.
As the waves of enemies get tougher to handle and more plentiful you also acquire a greater range of fruits to hold up your defence. Green bananas continue to drain enemies' energy as they march forth, while there are guavas - at least we think they're guavas - which freeze enemies on the spot, and others which can smack through a multitude of foes in one go. The more powerful weapons take longer to recharge, whereas the basic banana is always available.
It quickly becomes apparent that this game is a toughie. Fend as you might, the outcome is unavoidable: that banana will get eaten. We challenge you to last longer than a handful of "waves" into the game - by this point there'll be a bottleneck of foes munching away and the inevitable will happen.
It's the frantic fun of trying to last out that makes the game entertaining, but without more magic bananas available we suspect it will be difficult to ever get deep into the action - and even if you have honed your precise banana-lobbing skills the whole concept is on the repetitive side. Still, it's fun to dip into here and there - even if just to see a monkey in shades.