Monkey King: Hero is Back Review

This game was definitely one of the more random ones that I ended up grabbing from Gamestop but when a title is just a few bucks you’re inclined to take a few risks right? Odds are that this would be worth the few bucks and naturally that was the case in the end. This is the kind of game that may not be great but it’s good fun and by the end you realize you had a good time with it. I’d definitely be down with a sequel to this one someday.

The game starts off with the Monkey King getting taken down by the gods so his powers have been sealed. A kid unseals him and the hero, Sun saved him but a girl gets kidnapped by the villains. The kid begs Sun to help out and at first this Monkey King can’t be bothered but as the adventure goes on he realizes that it is finally time to step up and be a hero. Without his famous powers will he really be able to win though? Only time will tell! One thing’s for sure, he will need to eventually find a way to remove those chains before it’s too late.

The story of the Monkey King is a classic one and this adaption does a good job of going through the motions. He gradually learns about empathy, kindness, and humility as the days go on. At first he is very gruff but gradually becomes a team player. It’s all handled rather well here even if it may come across as just a little generic. The story is fairly barebones as it is. Even the trio of characters have a fairly old dynamic with Sun being the gruff one, you have the guy who talks tough but is actually weak, and finally the kid who means well and is super cheerful but isn’t really cut out for tangling with the others even if he has the heart for it.

So you’re playing this one more for the gameplay which is fortunately pretty good. It’s a 3D action game where you take out enemies with hand to hand skills or use one of your attack powers. I highly recommend using a bench to fight most of your battles. Yes, you heard me right…. a normal bench. It’s surprisingly effective the whole time. It has a longer reach than your normal blows and also deals more damage so it’s kind of a no brainer right? Once you get hooked on it then you won’t want to use anything else. The only exception is a staff that you should unlock by the very end of the game. Once you have it, it is an immediate upgrade over the bench so you’ll never use it again.

You can upgrade all of your special abilities as you play through the game so choose the ones that you want to max out carefully since by the end of the game you won’t have enough points to max everything. Mainly if you go with a maxed out bench and staff then you should be okay. There are other fun abilities like your projectiles but they all just feel a whole lot weaker. Also, the game is more fun with those items because otherwise the game can feel a little too slow and clunky the whole time. I do have to say it’s a pretty valid complaint against the game. The core combat doesn’t feel super balanced or organic at times. Mix that in with how the game can actually be rather difficult and you can have a rough time here.

I only barely beat the final boss after a lot of cheesing and was nearly out of magic meter. Just one or two more hits and I would have lost. It makes for a spectacular story down the road of course and you feel good when winning a real nail biter like that but I can’t help but feel that I would have done better if the game was just a bit more polished. At times it can feel like you dodged an attack when you get hit or an opponent launches an attack with no real way to dodge it. The enemies also have a whole lot of health at their disposal and you feel like they would have calmed down on that a bit.

The free roaming parts of the game where you pick up collectibles and find things is okay but I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of effort put into that. The focus is definitely more on the combat. I do give the game a lot of props for making the final, final boss a blast though. There is a whole different gameplay style created just for that fight and it ends up making a real big difference. See, you can actually feel the power and high stakes behind the final boss due to this. It is worlds different from every other boss fight and that’s exactly the kind of feel and atmosphere you’re supposed to be going for with this. The game understood the assignment here.

Overall, The Monkey King is a fun game. I’ll admit that it gets off to a rocky start and you have to get used to the game so initially it was leading up to more of a 6 star slot but by the end the game came into its own and really surprised me. It’s still a fairly short game so you’ll likely have it beat in around 10 hours or less but it’s a complete title. It also helps that I got the game for around $5-10 which is a fair price for this title. If you see it for a price like that then I recommend grabbing it. There’s not a lot of replay value here beyond aiming for the platinum so I’d say to just enjoy the gameplay/experience and call it a day. At the end of the day that’s really all that you need/want here. The wii Monkey King game I played was more fun but this one still gave me a good time.

Overall 7/10

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