It is not often that a game comes around and delivers a sort of ‘new’ gameplay to enjoy. This is especially present in puzzle games which are often copy-and-paste or try and follow a certain trend. However, the same can’t be said for Bonkies – an out of this world physics-based puzzler where I had to drag and drop objects in an area to fit into a specific shape why avoiding collisions, bombs and clumsiness of my co-op partner.
For the most part, Bonkies premise is simple. You are a monkey travelling through the galaxy completing puzzles while you’re are it. Instead of using your hands and feet to carry stuff around, players rely on a mechanical arm and a spacesuit powered by a jet pack. Every stage has the same goal and that is to carry things around the level and build the required shapes within the time limit.
This may sound simple but it is far from it. A Bonkie (the monkey things) is tough to control and even harder to master but that is where the majority of the fun comes in. You use the triggers to boost the monkey up and down using its jetpack like thrusters. The jetpack is then controlled with the left stick and it is determined by the thruster’s angle because you know, physics. The d-pad then controls the robotic arm which is the grabber. This is not the usual control scheme you would expect but it is fun nonetheless.
The objects make up the bulk of the work in Bonkies and players need to pick up and carry them across the area and place them down to form the shape required in each stage. Once you match the silhouette you win. The more players you have, the easier it is to carry the larger and heavier objects around but it works just as well solo.
Levels range in difficulty and while I started building basic shapes, the later levels not only changed these up but also added in objects that could another make or break the level. For example, there are bombs that can explode if you slam on them with enough force and blocks of ice that shatter when you hit them too hard. If you have not guessed yet, it gets tough and all these various mechanics arrive one by one for a while until they are thrown at you all at once.
While Einstein was able to understand physics, it is not everyone’s forte and throw a clumsy family member into the mix and you have yourself pure chaos. Bonkies can be played with up to three friends in couch co-op which means your solo and peaceful building experience can easily be disrupted when someone “accidently” thursts themselves into your tower knocking everything off the build. There’s also no gravity so one wrong move and that block you spent a minute placing will slide off into the lava.
Bonkies in co-op is pure joy. It relies on players working together but if you all want to do your own thing then you can easily do so. However, this is where self-centeredness can be a player’s downfall. Some levels rely on weighting panels down equally, and placing objects in the right order to avoid chaos. A solo player who “thinks he has got this” won’t really “have it” unless he plays fair, eats some humble pie and asks for help.
You also need to keep in mind that every level has a timer so you can’t just take things slowly. It is the perfect recipe for utter couch co-op madness. With that being said, Bonkies is not something everyone can just pick up and play. Couch co-op games have this level of accessibility to them. Take Mario Party, for example – simple buttons with easy-to-master mini-games. Bonkies will require that players have some sort of gaming background and understanding of a controller.
When you do have a team of players around, Bonkies shines bright and the levels are fun if not often clumsy. It relies on teamwork and solo players who prefer to do things alone will have a rough time pretending to be a badass while secretly wanting to ask for help.
Bonkies Review Verdict
Bonkies is loads of fun and if you love co-op games, as I do, then you are going to find something to enjoy here. There’s no online mode which can be a downer for some. However, you can PlayShare on PS4/PS5 and on Steam so while you won’t have your partner next to you to punch on the arm, they will still be with you in the game.
This Bonkies review was based on a code sent to us by Crunching Koalas
Available On: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 | Release Date: 29 January 2021 | Price: R269