You might just have heard of this new King Kong film. Featuring a big ape beating his chest whilst blurting out "ooh ooh" for hours (no, it's not the latest Michael Moore polemic), it's the big new Hollywood blockbuster which is truly epic in scale, costing over $200 million to make and running for longer than 3 hours. All of which leads us to ask how it could possibly transfer to the small screen of the mobile world? Squeezing such a great lunk of a monkey into your handset is a challenge for any developer, and turning the tide of lacklustre movie conversions is equally audacious a task. So praise be, then, that Gameloft has pulled off some true monkey magic.
From the opening screen with Kong's face all wrinkled with rage, as though he's swallowed a wasp that's been swallowed by a hedgehog that's been eaten by a porcupine that's just got stuck to a giant cactus, you're immersed straight into the movie's atmosphere. The menus are excellent with clear direction as to your options, drip-feeding you the controls wherever possible so you can get straight into the action. Unusually for a mobile game, even the music is good and adds to the mood surrounding the scenarios. The in-game controls are where King Kong really excels, though. Through the use of intuitive buttons for certain actions, you're able to play as Kong and run around, beat up, bash and, just for the sake of it, eat dinosaurs (tastes like chicken).
With detailed animation and smooth scrolling, along with the addition of shaking screens as the big ape jumps from platform to platform, there's a real sense of fun and adventure. If that wasn't enough, you then take control of Jack, the famous author, trying to protect Ann, the very famous, well, female, whilst jumping from ropes and shooting the natives with blowpipes. In fairness, Ann does have her uses and works busily in the background opening doors and putting out fires on your behalf. She doesn't seem to want any assistance, happily extolling the virtues of girl power until a scary native comes along and kidnaps her. She's soon screaming for your help.
And so it carries on, with the well thought-out missions kept beautifully short to keep up the frenetic pace. From the depths of Skull Island to the heights of the Empire State Building, the story takes you on the same journey as the film with all the action and excitement bundled in for good measure. The only possible criticism we could make is when you're fighting the later T-rex dinosaurs, which requires rapid whacking of a button. It may give you good thumb muscles (to say nothing of RSI) but doesn't require much in the way of brains. Although, as you're playing as a giant gorilla, it is quite fitting, getting into character and all.
So, if you fancy playing as a big monkey and rescuing a blonde broad, as they say in the 1930's, then this really is worth checking out. A game that's been crafted with great effort and skill, King Kong is sure to guarantee enjoyment for many weeks.