Do Not Feed the Monkeys (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 18.11.2020

Review for Do Not Feed the Monkeys on Nintendo Switch

Now that's a change of style! From the bleak, post-apocalyptic world of Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, Fictiorama Studios goes into the cartoony, and wacky world of Do Not Feed the Monkeys, where players are essentially tasked with becoming peeping toms, with their victims being a bunch of apes living their lives in their cages. "How wacky can watching a bunch of primates be?" some are probably asking right now. Well, you have no idea…

Congratulations! You've finally entered the secrety-secret world of the Primate Observation Club. Want to ascent the hierarchy, and make some really big bucks? The task is simple: watch over a bunch of monkeys, as they live their typical monkey lives, in their many monkey cages. Of course, this being a Ponzi pyramid scheme, one also needs to purchase more cages too observe, and then even more. Using MonkeyVision 2.1 can be very addictive, though, so make sure to eat healthy, and get some shuteye. Caution: whatever you do, "Do Not. Feed. The Monkeys." Or else…

Note that the apes that have to be surveyed are actually those of the fifth kind (aka humans), and that regulation translates to "don't interact with them." Taking its cue from the notorious Night Trap, this mainly consists of switching between different CCTVs, and watching people do their thing, whether that's working, or something that's weirder - and, yes most of the time they'll do something weirder. These are monkeys, after all. Voyeurs that take nudie shots of celebs; accountants that dress in drag after work; a suspiciously-looking old man with a passion for genetic purity, and many, many more.

Screenshot for Do Not Feed the Monkeys on Nintendo Switch

Admit it. There's something surprisingly intriguing in snooping on people, and Do Not Feed the Monkeys certainly manages to capture that weird sensation, even when there's nothing there to see, and the view on screen is that of a dark, deserted room - or of a scary doll that stares right into your soul. This can also get extremely immersive, mainly because of the many realistic touches; first the first-person perspective, and secondly that everything is done via a virtual desktop, with the camera feed having the necessary amount of noise and distortion to look more lifelike. It's also nice that a variety of muffled sounds from other apartments or the road can be heard, adding a lot to the overall atmosphere.

The little stories that'll unfold before your electronic eyes marvellously blend a quirky sense of humour, with a heavy portion of - relatable - darkness. Remember the accountant who secretly dresses in drag? This understands the funny aspect of the situation, but also makes sure to point out that this man is in pain, making you want to help him out - which is something that you actually can. Further enhancing this microcosm, players get a daily dose of some socio-economic commentary through a frequently updated newspaper, which does some fine world-building that, like with the tales that the "monkeys" will tell, deals with some heavy issues through satire, making fun of political corruption, and dangerously larger-than-life mega-conglomerates - you know the ones…

Screenshot for Do Not Feed the Monkeys on Nintendo Switch

Beyond all that, this is basically a unique twist on the point-and-click adventure formula. The gameplay loop revolves around accruing keywords (rather than items) from the things that your specimen spew out, and trying to gather more of those by writing a keyword (or a combination of those) on the game's Google spoof, hopefully amassing more info, that can then be cross-referenced to create the necessary name/telephone/number/address/whatever that can be used to solve a particular problem, and in exchange getting money to spend on cages, or secondary necessities, like food and rent.

One needs to keep many balls in the air while on the job, whether that's a growling stomach, a set of heavy eyelids, or the annoying neighbour visit, forcing you to tactically choose when to do what, so that you won't, say lose an opportunity for more money or info just because you went away from your screen to answer the door, run to the grocery shop, or go to work. Thankfully, while this was obviously made for a mouse and keyboard, the way the Switch's controls have been integrated make using all that a piece of cake - and if everything else fails, just use the touch screen.

Screenshot for Do Not Feed the Monkeys on Nintendo Switch

Sadly, while a novel idea, and one which has been mostly pulled off fine, there are many flaws to talk about, the first being how it's impossible to complete this without the appearance of a game-freezing bug - with the blow lessened by the frequent auto-saves. This technical problem put aside, the gameplay isn't without its fair share of issues. Its connect-the-dots mechanic, for instance, can be very frustrating, as many times it is less about skilful deduction, and more about "randomly" discovering the required keyword. For a lack of a better term, this leans on trial-and-error quite a lot, which results in subsequent play-throughs becoming disappointingly easy, as players will now know when to do what, and if it's safe to "feed the monkeys" by intervening in their lives, or when it is not.

This was made with replayability in mind, and it kind of succeeds in making you eager to start all over again and try new things, so as to get different reactions from the monkeys or your own masters, and thus receive different outcomes. Unfortunately, apart from a lack of challenge, repetition soon kicks in, as there's not enough wiggle room to experiment, with most of the gameplay loop feeling exactly the same from the last time. Sure, Do Not Feed the Monkeys, like it's in-game app MonkeyVision 2.1, can be very addicting, but the fun sort of decreases with each subsequent run. The whole process never becomes so bad that it makes you want to stop, but it's surely annoying how the vast potential of the concept at hand was kind of thrown into the sharks. Or, maybe, chimps.

Screenshot for Do Not Feed the Monkeys on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a testament to the capacity of independent developers to create something unique that makes major league, triple-A products feel trite by comparison. However, while being a paid voyeur turns out to be quite entertaining, this title is not without its flaws, with the most serious one being that, although something that was supposed to have a high replay value, it actually becomes increasingly less enjoyable the more you play. Nevertheless, do get it if intrigued by its original concept. The fun will last for two-to-three play-throughs, but it's definitely worth it.

Developer

Fictiorama Studios

Publisher

Alawar Entertainment

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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