With its vibrant art, colorful graphics, and simple yet ingenious mechanics, Bonkies brings laugh-out-loud fun to couch co-ops with a touch of ridiculousness. After all, you play as a space-traveling chimp with a robotic arm and a penchant for jetpacking like mad when the going gets tough—and it really will, because what’s a co-op game without a good old-fashioned fight breaking out between friends?
From the brilliantly crafted physics puzzles alone, suffice it to say that developer Studio Gauntlet and publisher Crunching Koalas really took this game to heart—it’s a labor of love indeed, and the effort really shows. In general, all you really have to do is to fill predetermined empty templates with building blocks to match that shape. Each level gets progressively more challenging, as you’ll go from your basic block to heavier objects and more complicated dynamics like glass cubes, frames, and magnets. Sometimes, you’ll need to counter-balance certain weights in order to match the shape you’re supposed to form; other times, you’ll need to calculate (mentally, mind you) the weight differences between objects to figure out the most optimum way you can match that shape with time to spare.
Now, while initially, you might think that all you really have to do is move around (or jetpack around) and you’ll be good to go, it’s not that simple—nothing satisfying ever is. Your jetpack lets you zip away through space with reckless abandon, but if you fly around willy-nilly or go too trigger-happy on that boost button, your jetpack can overload and cause you to spiral down to your demise, decommissioned for the few precious seconds your teammates may need you.
Controls are pretty simple—you can move around with the directional button, with one button to grab with your ultra-cool robo-arm and another button to boost. Here’s the catch, though—you can also change the direction that your robotic arm is facing, so that you can maximize where you’re clamping to really handle all that weight.
Yes, the weight is everything. Some objects you can lift all by yourself, while some you’ll need to enlist the help of a willing participant. Some objects you’ll need to lift at certain angles to make them fit into your shapes Tetris-style, while some will require you to stabilize what you’ve already built, because adding another weight on top will send your proud accomplishment toppling down and flush all of your hard work down the drain.
You can unlock more planets with each level you complete, and add new characters to your team as you progress through the game. Space construction isn’t the least bit simple, and much like in real life, you need to map out your plan of attack before you tackle any new project. Top it all off with a timer for each level and there’s really no way for you to take things easy...or is there?
The thing is, I never thought I’d see the day I’d obsess over repeating levels countless times just because I wanted to score a banana (finishing the level under a certain time limit awards you with bananas, because why the heck not). But while I wanted so badly to zero in on the goal with laser focus, I couldn’t, mainly because I played this game with my nephew and he’s just too darn fun to play with. We’d fly around and bump into each other like we’re totally bonkers (or bonkies) and then laugh our butts off over something as ridiculous as him being named “ASS” in the game.
Don’t get me wrong—my nephew gets things done, and he gets them done right. There were many times when he’d tell me to just sit still and look pretty or stand in the corner while he did all the work, fearing I’d only make things worse if I meddled. It’s an absolute joy, really, but the fact that we had a blast each time we picked up the controller is good enough for me.
Speaking of controllers, you can play with up to three other chimps and can use either a full keyboard or a shared keyboard, which I do not recommend. For the love of all that is good and holy, use a controller—a keyboard will only injure your arms and maybe even drive your family members or friends to disown you for ruining a perfectly good game with your clunky controls.
Why would you even want to build stuff in space all by your lonesome? That’s just bananas.
That said, Bonkies may look all light and fluffy from the outside, but it can challenge you to the very core and squeeze your brain for all it’s worth. For instance, at one point, we had to use a magnet to stabilize a structure and make it fit into a rotating shape floating in anti-grav. Buzzer beaters that we are, we got it done until the clock wound down to the very last second—then we promptly exclaimed our triumphant jubilation even if the caption simply said, “Stable enough.” Still counts!
Bonkies | Final Thoughts
Overall, Bonkies scores top marks in my book mainly because it gave me more reasons to hang out with my family, which is similar to the experience I had with PHOGS!. We laughed, we cried, we conquered—with a couple of frustrated finger-pointing mixed in there along the way (because if you can’t blame your teammate for your co-op failure, then what’s the point, right?). If there’s one thing I’d complain about, it’s that this really isn’t a game you can play alone. The more players you have, the rowdier and more chaotic things get, which makes the game more fun. Then again, why would you even want to build stuff in space all by your lonesome? That’s just bananas.
TechRaptor reviewed Bonkies on PlayStation 4 with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox.
- Hilarious Gameplay
- Challenging Physics-Based Puzzles
- Adorable Art And Lovely Music
- Difficult Keyboard Controls
- Playing Alone Is Crappy