Jungle Party - Review Sony PSP29 Nov 2010
Jungle Party is a spin-off of the Buzz! series of pop quiz games but aimed at a younger audience with the quiz itself being replaced by a series of mini-games. It was originally released on the PS2 a few years ago and now it has been re-released on the PSP.
The game features a loveable gang of monkeys participating in a series of mini-games with a varying amount of bananas being awarded to the highest scoring player at the end of that mini-game. And of course the person at the end of the game with the most bananas wins. The mini-games are enthusiastically narrated by former Blue Peter presenter Liz Barker who does her best to not cringe whilst reeling off some truly awful simian puns. The games range from fuelling a rocket in the fastest time to farting in a Jacuzzi for the longest time without getting caught. However they are all played by holding down a face button for the right amount of time, pressing a face button at the precise time or pressing a series of face buttons in the right order. As you can imagine they can get pretty boring quite quickly if played by yourself especially as there are only 15 mini-games in contrast to the 40 found on the PS2 version.
The game has a big focus on multiplayer modes and encourages you to play with friends. The multiplayer works by making each player a different coloured monkey and telling you to pass the PSP round to the next person when it is their go. You can imagine how this doesn't work: First of all the PSP isn't the sort of console that four people can watch easily. Secondly, this game is aimed at children aged between 6 and 10, and I can't imagine that many of them would happily wait patiently for the game to be passed around to three other people before it was their turn again. I can't imagine many people in general would for that matter with the mini-games being as dull as they are.
I'm sure that Jungle Party was something that could have been fun for kids on its original platform: each player with a controller to themselves, playing on a TV screen. The transition to a handheld usually means that the powers that be thought they could make more money by letting kids play it on the move. The thing is I can't really think of many situations where this game would be appropriate; least of all the back of a car on a long journey which would hinder anyone being able to see what was going on until it was their turn which would result in a lot of thumbs being twiddled. Fortunately there is a game share option which allows multiple players to play on multiple PSPs with only one copy of the game. Although this still doesn't solve the problem of the game not being very enjoyable.
Despite all I have just said, the game is very colourful and is quite visually appealing. The games will certainly appeal to some children who aren't as sensitive to repetition and won't mind playing the same game over and over as long as it is dressed up as a different activity. Plus the monkeys will keep most children amused just by seeing what antics they get up to. Also the controls are responsive and the game isn't buggy in any way so even if it isn't designed well, it is made well.
I can't really recommend Jungle Party to anyone over the age of 10 and even then I might still be hesitant. However not everyone will hate it and I'm sure some children will love it
5 out of 10