He shoots, he scores…bananas!
VR is fairly new in the grand scheme of gameplay and mechanics. There are plenty that are attempting to add or breathe in new life to gameplay we have seen before, but now bringing players into their world. Shooting gallery style gameplay seems to be popular with VR, especially with the use of the move controllers. Ace Banana takes a wave based shooting concept and brings with it some zaniness and a great weapon feel, as limited as it may be.
The goal is simple. Defend the stockpile of bananas against the horde of monkeys. As the waves progress, players will have to defend them using the bow and arrow style weapon. It’s really a snake and plungers, but it works all the same. The monkeys will come in various styles. Some normal, some dressed in clown masks, and more. Some of the monkeys take stronger hits, taking 1 to 3 hits from arrows. This also depends on how far back players pull the string. Yes the farther back the string is pulled with the move controller, the harder it hits, eventually landing the controls into an almost zen like experience where it feels as if the motions of using a bow and arrow transcend the controllers and players are actually use one. I swear I literally felt as if I was a master bow man at one point, defending my bananas at all costs. In the actually world I looked ridiculous doing so, but in the game I was a pro.
Price I’d Pay: $5.99
How long to beat: 2+ hours
The style of gameplay isn’t anything extremely varied or unique, but the bow handling with the move controllers in combination with the super colorful and bright world made for a very engaging experience. There are also moments where the waves of enemies start attacking other banana hordes. All that takes is a quick aim and shoot with the arm band and players are lifted up and transported to the new location to defend. It’s going back and forth between these shooting areas that add just a tinge of variation. Eventually a boss battle, with a monkey controlling a robot comes into play, and it’s big, in players’ faces, and required even more tact in being able to hit the bad guy. It’s one of the most challenging aspects of the game, but it’s a blast all the same.
Visually the game offers a very easy and colorful world to look at, with funny looking monkeys running around. Even the bananas have smiles. It’s easy to use the bow and arrow like weapons, and there are plenty of power ups that allow for different ammo types or even a panda attack. The feel of the bow is great and adds to the experience more so than I could have expected. That said, when the bow went wonky due to me moving too wild or out of view, it could cause some minor moments of aiming issues. This was usually my fault, and I had no problem correcting it.
At the same time, I felt there was very little content here to keep me coming back, other than the novel feeling of the bow and arrow, which is absolutely amazing in fact. Aside from this and maybe the visual style, I don’t see a huge reason I’d return to it, especially if other games adopt this bow and arrow feel. Yet at the same time, I can’t complain, it’s a simply game with colorful graphics and is appropriate for players of all ages. Just don’t expect it to kill hours of time.
Did it make me sick: No issues with nausea or motion sickness.
Favorite moment: The bow and arrow rhythmic feeling of popping off shots.
Worst moment: Using the bow becoming erratic due to tracking/movement issues.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.