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Monkey Tales (Mac) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: Mac, PC
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Final Score
8.5
8.5/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


Tons of levels and action that grows with your child.

Not so much?


Some kids may feel a bit stressed about timed areas.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Your kids will go bananas for this educational adventure from Larian Studios. If you’re a parent (or a teacher), you’ve likely been frustrated many times in the search for a perfect blend of educational and fun for kids. Oftentimes, the quest to cram knowledge and learning into a game results in a finished product that […]

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Posted September 7, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Your kids will go bananas for this educational adventure from Larian Studios.42351_scr

If you’re a parent (or a teacher), you’ve likely been frustrated many times in the search for a perfect blend of educational and fun for kids. Oftentimes, the quest to cram knowledge and learning into a game results in a finished product that isn’t actually all that fun to play. If it’s going to do its job properly, an educational game has to be something that kids actually want to play. Larian Studios has put a lot of work into making Monkey Tales fit that bill, and it shows in the colorful look and engaging gameplay that keeps kids coming back. Those bananas won’t collect themselves.

As you start the game, you’ll be asked to choose an adventure. These are separated by age, and kids who choose to play all five  adventures have over fifty hours worth of gaming at their disposal. Once the game begins, you’ll choose a character (from two choices – boy or girl) and be on your way.  Each level combines a couple different elements to keep things fresh. Each level has a number of bananas hidden around it, and you’ll need to puzzle out how to get to all of them if you want keep your monkeys well fed (more on that later). There isn’t a penalty per so for not getting all the bananas, but you’ll get a shout out of encouragement if you do get every one.

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Collecting the bananas often involves pushing blocks onto switches, going through transporters, and avoiding bad guys, so you get plenty of action from working your way through the levels, and they’re short enough that younger players won’t get frustrated trying to get through. Though collecting all of the bananas is optional, rescuing the monkey trapped in each level is not. Once you locate the monkey, you must beat him at a math game to set him – and you – free.

These games aren’t just punching in the answer, and I think that’s the key to making them fun for young gamers. You’ll shoot the answers with ray guns, throw balls at tiles before the monkey gets them first, and drag them into their proper spots. Whatever the game, it’s rapid fire mathing that makes sure you’re thinking fast and acting faster. If the monkey wins, you’ll go out of the game and try again. If you beat the monkey at his own game (ha!), he is now yours and a door opens to let you both of you escape.

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What do you do with the monkey once you get it? He goes into your personal zoo, and you can visit him anytime to see how he’s making out. Each monkey you rescue – one for each level – goes to the zoo, and suddenly the need for all those bananas makes sense. The more monkeys you have, the more they’ll need to eat, and their sole source of sustenance is those monkeys you pick up in the levels. The bananas as given to the monkeys automatically – no need to go in and feed them – but if your stock gets low your monkeys will be unhappy. This is easy enough to spot, as there is a monkey icon in the corner of your screen showing their current mood. If you visit your zoo when they’re unhappy you’ll find despondent monkeys with sad looks on their little monkey faces. What kind of monster wouldn’t work double time to get more bananas and put smiles on their faces?

It’s the perfect blend to draw kids in and keep them coming back for more. The math aspect is so entwined with the more standard gameplay that it doesn’t come across as the only thing to do. The monkey zoo will be a hit with animal loving kids (don’t they all love animals?), and there’s plenty of puzzling and adventuring to keep kids engaged. It’s fun to play, the math is challenging but not overly so for the age level, and everything is cute and colorful. What more could you want to keep kids and parents alike happy?

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Monkey Tales from Larian Studios is screen time well played. With animals to collect and feed, bunches of bananas to keep completionists happy, and loads of math games that are actually fun to play, Monkey Tales is an educational game that kids will beg to play. And with five different adventures for five different age levels, it’s a game that will grow right along with them.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)