Monkey Pirates (Wii U) Review

By Kyle Henderson 27.06.2014

Review for Monkey Pirates on Wii U

Monkey Pirates is the first game by new French developer Henchmen Studio. As a small game designed primarily for multiplayer, there's very little here for a single player. Players will control ships around a small map, firing cannonballs at each other and collecting power-ups.

Party games don't need to be polished to a high level of sheen and laden with interesting content, yet they do need to get the foundations correct. There has to be an impulsively playable but simple centre that core gamers can find satisfaction in and mums can enjoy without having to get too in-depth. Monkey Pirates takes a good stab at this…and mostly succeeds. Although it probably won't be a mainstay amongst adult gatherings, there's enough here for families.

As such, the gameplay is very simple. Players control sail ships that are governed by a Wind Waker-type wind-compass-metre thing in the corner of the screen. Striking out in a direction that has the wind blowing into the sails will see the boat flying across the screen and vice versa. This is the main interaction the game offers and it really needs to feel good for the game to have any worth. Luckily, it does. Ships feel weighty and the push of the wind is keenly felt; it's very gratifying to feel in full control of the elements, even in a small game like this.

Players will also collect power-ups in the form of sunken treasure. It's all fairly rote stuff: being able to fire more cannonballs at a time, oil slicks to leave at vital spots on the map, speed boosts, and so on. They serve to add a bit of variety to the gameplay but pretty much anyone who's played a competitive multiplayer game before will have seen this all before.

Screenshot for Monkey Pirates on Wii U

Three modes are offered across both single and multiplayer: a handful of score attack scenarios for solo players and two fairly distinct multiplayer modes, one making use of the GamePad and the other just for Wii Remotes. Said GamePad mode is the best thing Monkey Pirates has to offer, which is nice to be able to say for the Wii U's sake but maybe not for this game. The GamePad player controls the goal that regular players must meet and is able to chuck in power-ups to help or hinder. It gets to the simple appeal of asymmetrical multiplayer with the GamePad; it's enjoyable to pass it around and take turns being in control of everyone else's fate. Unfortunately, there's nothing so unique about the other multiplayer mode, which is simply a deathmatch.

While the gameplay and content are very slight, Henchmen Studio has clearly given a fair amount of attention to the art style and music. The cartoony, colourful graphics and cheery-but-nautical tunes complement each other well and may well be the main thing players will remember. Children will enjoy the bright colours and breezy characters but adults are likely to be annoyed by the many grammatical and spelling mistakes, obviously a remnant of a less than professional translation job from the original French language.

Anyone after a simple multiplayer experience that's short on intensity but generous with mindless fun will find some value in Monkey Pirates, but the Wii U isn't a platform short on party games. Social gamers would be much better off seeking out copies of Nintendo Land and Wii Party U before resorting to the seas.

Screenshot for Monkey Pirates on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Good controls, decent art design and a single interesting gameplay mode just aren't enough to save Henchmen Studio's debut effort. With plenty of other far more interesting party games available for Wii U, there is little reason to recommend this. Monkey Pirates is competently made but thoroughly average in almost every way.


Henchmen Studio


Henchmen Studio





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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