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REVIEW | Rhythm “Jungle” Game Crumbles Instead of Rumbles

By
Posted on May 21, 2014 AT 09:10am

At PAX East this year I went hands-on with Disco Pixel’s Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas. During my time I was having a blast moving my monkeys to the beat of the game, not to mention knocking out a bunch of bad apes with my coconut arsenal. Now after playing the final form of the game only one question pops through my mind: what happened?

In Jungle Rumble players take control of a bunch of monkeys who are being invaded by a rival group. Your banana horde is being stolen, and it is up to you to keep your fruit away from the grasp of the enemy apes. Later on you discover that the other ape tribe is being forced out of their homes due to the fact that someone is cutting down their trees, leading one to wonder who would do such a thing.

As this is a rhythm game you are tasked to move your monkeys to the beat of the music. Tapping on your mobile device you are to charge your chimps into battle towards your bananas. On many occasions you’ll have to go head-on with the other ape tribe, which will require grabbing coconuts to launch at your opponents’ heads. As you progress throughout the game you’ll learn new tactics that will help you on your journey, including how to jump more spaces per turn and take down more apes per attack.

Early on in Jungle Rumble the game played very smoothly, with the monkeys moving nicely to the beat of the music and the touchscreen controls responding well. As the game is about rhythm I had to time my pokes right to move my monkeys or send them out to attack the enemy monkey tribes. Out of nowhere, however, the difficulty of the game spiked to a height best suited for the hardest of settings. What was once a fun rhythm game quickly turned into a test of how frustrated I can get with cartoon monkeys.

If the difficulty spike wasn’t enough the game then started to hiccup on me during moments when I needed to move my tribe around, forcing me to lose the level every time that happened. (It also didn’t help that the screen wasn’t moving up fast enough so I can see what was ahead of me.) Losing over and over again then introduced me to a game-crashing bug, which erased my current progress of that specific section. At first I thought it was merely a fluke experience, but when I went back to play the levels again the game crashed on me once again. It happened a third time, a fourth, a fifth, and…well you get the idea.

It’s a shame that Jungle Rumble is filled with these bugs. Despite the big difficulty spike the game has a lot of charm. The graphics are very cute to look at, reminding me of something from the Tokidoki brand, and the music is very catchy. However these elements don’t overshadow the fact that the game is broken in its current state.

PROS:

  • Fun rhythm mechanics
  • Cute graphics
  • Nice story

CONS:

  • Get too difficult early on
  • Game freezes, crashes very frequently

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas has a lot of potential. Sadly in its current state the game not only feels like a chore to play, but its repetitive crashes will cause massive aggravation to those who are close to beating a certain area of a level. Perhaps with some elbow grease and tightening up via a binary monkey wrench Jungle Rumble can be a better game, but until that time comes I cannot recommend this title.

FINAL GRADE: 4.0 (out of ten)

iOS review copy provided by The Bohle Company. Played on the iPad 2.

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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