The second PlayLink game I played at EGX (Wordhunters being the first), Chimparty offered an entirely different experience and was really rather fun, if not particularly spectacular.
Using phones as our controller we threw in a picture of ourselves (what is it with PlayLink and taking pictures of yourself?) and selected our chimp, ready to do battle. The mode we played was Board Game mode, which tasked you with getting around a board game by playing a variety of minigames in a very Mario Party kind of way. The stars you win in the games determine how far you can move up the board to the ultimate goal of erm, sitting on a sofa.
These minigames can vary from attempting to get balls into goals, throwing your monkey into a slingshot to see how far it goes with the furthest winning the game, using your colour to paint an area the most over everyone else and much more. The humour comes from not knowing exactly what you’re doing at any given momet, and randomly pressing the great big single button on your phone screen. You can’t miss it. It’s really big.
The game is clearly designed for party nights and it was certainly good fun, with a variety of minigames, the simple controls (though they can be awkward, particularly when your chimp is consistently spinning and you have to hold down the button on your touch screen to get them to move in a desired direction, never really feeling like you’re in control) which allow you to jump, float, run and more. The visuals are bright and breezy, particularly the animation of the chimps themselves is terrific.
Throughout my playthrough I noticed that I could customise my chimp with a bunch of hats, shoes and accessories that I’ve been unlocking throughout the game. That’s a nice touch though in the heat of the game it seems like that would have completely passed me by had I not noticed it myself. I got the feeling the PlayStation rep just wanted to get the demo over with so I ignored it. Hopefully I can get a better look when the game is on my console at home.
I feel like I had played it all before though. PlayLink is very smart and Sony have been choosing some decent games to showcase the tech, but as I was playing Chimparty I didn’t feel like it was all that different from Frantics, the PlayLink party title from last year. Arguably, that’s a better game and Chimparty doesn’t seem to be doing enough to differentiate itself, which isn’t all that encouraging. It’s definitely fun and Sean and I had a good laugh outdoing each other and jumping over our chimp avatars on the board to claim first place but I didn’t think all that much about it for the rest of the day.
In terms of the new class of PlayLink titles that were on display, Wordhunters had the edge for me. Chimparty will no doubt be a good game upon its arrival but at least from what I played at EGX, you’re going to struggle to find anything it does that Frantics doesn’t do better.
Chimparty is available on November 14th on PS4.