Monkey Tales Games
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

If you have kids aged between 7 and 11 who need some encouragement with their mathematics and logic then Monkey Tales might be just what you need. This collection of five games does a good job of disguising the educational content in a colorful and engaging package. It is obviously not meant for older players, but for younger kids it serves as a great educational tool and a nice introduction to proper gaming.

Gameplay: A nice blend of education and entertainment.

Graphics: Bright, colorful and with surprisingly good animations.

Sound: Thankfully not too annoying

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 8
Summary rating from 1 user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 8.3 Outstanding

Monkey Tales Games

Developer: Larian Studios | Publisher: Larian Studios |Release Date: 2011 | Genre: Adventure, Indie, Casual |Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Educational games tend to be hit-or-miss affairs that either appeal to kids or end up gathering dust after a cursory scan. Any parent that has tried to get a child hyped up about an educational title, especially if maths is involved, will know it is not as easy as the advertisements would have you believe. Monkey Tales Games (which is actually a compilation of five titles) has a bit more credibility though. Not only was it developed in close collaboration with professional institutes, but it surprisingly enough comes courtesy of Larian Studios. Anyone that has played their recent smash hit, Divinity: Original Sin, can attest that this studio knows what they are doing when it comes to game design.

Monkey Tales Games is not a new title however and neither is it aimed at adults, but if you have any kids aged between 7 and 11 years old you’ve come to the right place. Instead of trying to teach kids anything new, which is usually where educational games fall flat, this game aims to help children rehearse and improve their existing math and logic skills. This means that, surprise, surprise, the game is not a substitute for paying attention in class or doing homework, but instead will supplement these activities in an enjoyable manner.

According to the developers, the game mechanics are based on proven educational methods as well as four years of research, which basically boils down to a mixture of mathematics based mini-games and a colorful fantasy setting. The package includes all five of the Monkey Tales games, with each one suitable for a different age group. For the 7 year olds, there is The Princess of Sundara, where your character must save a princess held captive in an Arabian palace by a dragon. Meanwhile, 8 year olds get to explore The Museum of Anything and thwart the evil dinosaur that took control of the building. This continues all the way to the Egyptian themed Valley of The Jackal for 11 year olds. Each of the games is self contained, with their own characters and storylines, but there is also an over-arching plot about some nefarious villain called Huros Stultos who has his heart set on conquering the world (or perhaps even the whole universe!)

The good news for parents is that the games do a pretty good job of explaining everything in a clear manner to the kids and then let them get on with it. For smaller kids you will probably have to be on hand to lend some assistance (and ensure that they don’t somehow format your hard drive in the process) while older kids will be able to handle things themselves. The game is split into levels, with each challenging you to defeat a monkey in a mini-game and then making your way to the exit. If you beat the monkey it is sent to your personal zoo to which you can return whenever you feel like gloating over your captive simians. If you are feeling benevolent, you can also collect all the bananas on each level, which increases your score as well as the happiness of your primate prisoners. Going after the bananas involves solving puzzles and evading enemies though, which is often more entertaining than the mini-games.

There is actually quite a wide selection of mini-games on offer and while they are all based around maths, they do a good job of actually being entertaining. If you are older than the age of 11 you will obviously find them a little repetitive, but from what I’ve seen children seem to enjoy them. One of the games involves shooting the correct answer at the top of the screen to a mathematical question shown on the bottom while dodging toxic drops that slow you down. Another requires you to catch and drag the answer to an assignment to the correct spot on the table, and there is even a shooting gallery where you throw balls at correct answers. All the mini-games are played on separate screens and are fairly simple affairs, but this is to be expected considering the target demographic. The interesting thing about the mini-games is that the difficulty is adjusted automatically as the child plays, which ensures that the game never becomes too easy or too hard. Previously played mini-games can also be “practiced” from the main menu without delving into the levels and the game keeps track of all your high scores, so kids can compete with each other for bragging rights.

Visually the game looks much better than your typical educational fare and despite the age of these titles the graphics still hold up well. The upside is that the game will run even on a modest system, so you can set it up for the kids on a spare computer or laptop without having to sacrifice your gaming rig. The levels are viewed from an isometric overhead perspective, although you can hold down CTRL for a zoomed out overview. The levels are all themed around the world that you are exploring, so you can expect to see plenty of skeletons, gargoyles, ghosts, knights, dinosaurs and mummies stomping about. The focus is on puzzle solving and not combat, so enemies must be avoided unless you want to redo the level. Fortunately, enemies will leave you alone if you stay out of their line of sight, which is clearly marked. Overall, the visuals are more than sufficient to keep the target audience enticed and the character animations are also very good. Personally I became very tired of seeing the loading screen that flashes up every time you start a mini-game or new level, but this is a minor irritation and something that kids don’t really seem to mind.

The audio in the game is also of a high standard and while there are the usual upbeat tunes that you would expect from a title aimed at children I was also surprised to hear some appropriately eerie tunes playing on some of the darker levels. The sound effects are very audible and even the voice acting is pretty passable. When it comes to controlling the game you have to make use of the keyboard for movement and interaction in the gameworld as well as the mouse for some of the mini-games. It is somewhat annoying that you have to use the arrow keys instead of the more familiar WASD layout, but once again this makes sense for children. I found that a controller also worked for maneuvering the character, but not during mini-games, which limits its usefulness.

While there are no shortage of free educational titles available online, Monkey Tales Games offer a more polished and enjoyable alternative. Younger children can focus purely on the mini-games and completing the levels, while older players will enjoy the added challenge of solving the puzzles and avoiding the enemies to collect all the bananas. The game is obviously going to have limited appeal if you don’t have children, but if you are a parent with offspring in the right age group for this title it is certainly worth a look. If your brood are finicky about the games they will play you can also visit theofficial website and grab the free demos for the individual episodes to try out before breaking out the credit card and buying the full pack on Steam.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3 or higher
  • Processor: 1.6 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX-compatible 3D graphics with at least shader model 2.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1
  • Processor: Intel i5 or higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 550 ti 1GB ram or or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 6XXX or higher
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant

Related posts

The Room Two

The Room Two

Like the original PC version of The Room, the sequel took a couple of years to make the transition over from iOS. Players impatient after the cliffhanger ending of the game had to turn to the iOS version for the sequel, and indeed third installment of the game, but those who held out for the PC version are in for a treat. Fireproof Games once again took the time to create an enhanced high definition version of the game instead of simply releasing a quick port. Gameplay: The larger playing areas make for more puzzle variety. Graphics: Once again vastly improved over the original mobile release. Sound: Creepy and unnerving, but very fitting.

WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC

WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC

Join Narumi Kouki, a hardworking manga author who is still a student as he tries to juggle work and studies. To complicate matters for Kouki, he is pressured into joining the student council where he finds himself with more responsibilities as well as the only guy among a group of beautiful girls. Wagamama High Spec is a typical slice of life visual novel with a school setting, but the charming characters, humor and different routes make it stand it from the competition. There’s nothing really new here for people who are tired of the setting or tropes, but the writing is good and the visuals very polished. Gameplay: Not a lot of choices, but they do lead to four very different story paths. Graphics: Beautiful illustrations, tons of CGs and some nice backgrounds. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting along with plenty of great tunes.

The Deer God

The Deer God

The Deer God challenges you to live life as a deer while atoning for the sins you committed as a human hunter. Don’t expect to spend your days peacefully grazing though, the game is a puzzle platformer at heart and you will have to fight hostile creatures while performing quests. The 3D pixel art visuals are a definite highlight and despite the combat the game has quite a relaxing atmosphere. It might fall short of living up to its full potential, but The Deer God is still well worth checking out. Gameplay: Gallop and double jump through different environments while solving puzzles and performing fetch quests. Graphics: The 3D pixel art visuals really make this game stand out from the crowd. Sound: Nice sound effects and a very fitting soundtrack.

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn is a thrilling chapter in the Warhammer 4000 saga and packs a very engrossing story. The game also makes the most of the license by packing the space hulk with all the major foes. Space Marines are designed for combat and Legacy of Dorn certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. It is still a gamebook though, so if you don’t like reading or expect cutting edge visuals it is better to steer clear. Everyone else should definitely let their imagination run wild with this title. Gameplay: The story is fast paced and thrilling although a little jargon heavy at times. Graphics: Atmospheric, but mostly text and not that easy on the eyes due to the color scheme. Sound: The game features no speech, but the ambient soundtrack is fitting and unobtrusive.

Vector

Vector

Vector allows you to experience the thrill of being chased and pulling off some wicked parkour moves without the need to memorize millions of button combinations. Things start off very simple, but the difficulty ramps up quickly and perfecting the levels require patience and practice. This is definitely a game that offers a lot at and at a very reasonable price. Gameplay: Easy to play but very challenging to master. Graphics: The game looks good in high resolution, but the animations steal the show. Sound: The audio is good for getting the adrenaline flowing.

Concrete Jungle

Concrete Jungle

Concrete Jungle offers an interesting mix of genres that all combine to offer a compelling gameplay experience that is also much more challenging than you would think. In the versus modes, city planning turns into a vicious game of sabotage and dirty tricks, while the solo mode requires players to think ahead in order to survive. Multi-player is unfortunately local only, but even so this game will keep players busy for ages. Gameplay: The game is very addictive and truly a joy to play despite sometimes being as hard as nails. Graphics: When zoomed in the visuals look a bit fuzzy, but overall the amount of detail and variety is top notch. Sound: Great tunes and some surprisingly good voice acting.

Leave a comment

twenty − 8 =