Crazy Monkey Spin
| Crazy Monkey Spin

There's a definite waft of deju vu hitting us while we play Crazy Monkey Spin. This crazy spinning monkey we're jumping from one wooden peg to another in order to collect bananas is very similar to another famous videogaming primate you might be familiar with - yes, Donkey Kong.

More precisely, Donkey Kong in the game Donkey Kong: King of Swing (the one where you jump a spinning DK from one wooden peg to another in order to collect bananas). Of course, there are differences between the two games, but you can't deny the concepts are more or less the same.

Nintendo lawyers get ready to take notes - this is how Crazy Monkey Spin works.

You take control of a monkey named Momo whose zoo friends have been kidnapped and put in tiny cages - presumably from the tiny cages they were already living in in the first place. Momo needs to rescue his friends, by finding and reaching the cage they're being held in and busting them out.

This isn't as straightforward as it sounds, however, because Momo is a monkey with a distinctive and slightly problematic way of travelling around.

His main form of travel is swinging around pegs. An arrow indicates in which direction he will let go of a peg when you press '5', so to progress you need to line him up in the direction of another peg, which he'll grab automatically and start swinging around (in the opposite direction to the way he was spinning on the previous peg).

It's a simple control method, but one which requires good timing. However, as soon as you've mastered it the game starts to throw in more advanced techniques. Pressing '5' again when Momo is in the air, for instance, makes him jump higher.

He can also wall jump and bounce off trampolines like a simian pinball. Falling doesn't spell death - but it can undo a lot of your progress. Stringing together multiple jumps is preferable and lands you combo points as well as more momentum to jump further.

There are intriguing objects in each of the game's 50 levels too. Like boxes to smash, spikes to avoid and fast-flowing air which sucks you in one direction. And, of course, there are bananas to collect. What game starring a monkey would be complete without bananas to collect?

You don't have to collect them - you can just reach the animal at the end of the level and move onto the next one instead - but doing so lets you spend them on special hats in the gift shop that unlock special powers, and there's also the gratification gleaned from collecting every banana in a level.

Onto these hats: they come with various powers, and in various colours. There's one which lets you change direction in midair, one that lets you stick to walls and a space helmet which makes you immune to gravity.

None of their powers lasts forever - they need constant recharging with more bananas. Which is yet another reason to collect lots of these yellow fruits.

There's no denying that all of this makes for a great little game. Despite its one-button play, there's a lot of complexity lurking in Crazy Monkey Spin. There's also a fair bit of frustration when you miss a peg and Momo goes falling back down past three minutes worth of hard swinging.

This quite retro-feeling game is definitely one that harks back to platform games of the olden days, when you didn't have namby-pamby characters that grab ledges to stop themselves falling, or buttons that rewind time and let you instantly retry tricky sections.

What really nails home Crazy Monkey Spin's high score though, is the Quick Game mode, which ditches the animal rescuing and simply gives you a timer and a number of bananas to collect before it counts down. It's massively addictive.

Add it to the already more-than-decent main mode and you get a game that's more fun than a monkey's tea party - and far more politically correct, too.

Crazy Monkey Spin

A likeable and fun old skool style monkey swinging game. Its one-button gameplay is deceptively simple on the surface, but builds into a game that everyone will enjoy