I always feel a sense of dread creep in when I’m playing something terrible on ye olde iPad, as I realise I’m duty bound to write several hundred words of criticism though the game in question has been produced by presumably good people with presumably good intentions.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas.
I’ll be referring to Disco Pixel’s debut effort by the full name on its birth certificate, so that’s Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas – not to be confused with plain old Jungle Rumble, or indeed David Haye’s Jungle Rumble.
Anyway, yes, what’s the deal with Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas? Well, it’s part rhythm action game, part puzzler, with a tiny sprinkle of stealth for good measure.
Spread across dozens of levels and three different worlds, the goal in each Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas stage is either to defeat the enemy monkeys, or simply reach the goal – whether it’s a bunch of bananas, or – in the case of the city levels – a bulldozer.
In terms of controls, the music is key. Each tune (not that there are many) is split into sections of four beats, and any manoeuvre you perform – jumping, double jumping or throwing coconuts – must be tapped out across the four beats.
And that’s Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas in a nutshell. Now let’s commence the criticism.
Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas is a fairly shallow rhythm action game, with very few tunes, and only three manoeuvres to perform.
Meanwhile, as a puzzler, Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas proves irksome, in particular because the enemies’ movements are unpredictable. A mad dash for the exit might prove fruitless on the first attempt, but perfectly acceptable on the second. What’s the message there?
Worse still, I encountered performance issues on my iPad 3 (compatibility is stated as iPad 2 or above), with the game frequently becoming sluggish and occasionally crashing.
A quick reset of my iPad (three separate times in around three hours) seemed to fix the problem, but clearly there are optimisation issues in play here, and for a rhythm action game in particular, that is frankly unacceptable.
Throw in a fairly rudimentary presentation, tedious story, and uninspiring level design, and it’s tough to recommend Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas. I can see the good in it, and there’s the occasional hint of charm, but it’s nowhere near as fun as it should be.
- As a drummer, I do enjoy a spot of rhythm action
- Occasionally borders on amusing
- It’s, eh, colourful?
- The tedious story
- Sluggish performance and occasional crashes
Summary: I had high hopes for Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas, but it's an incredibly shallow rhythm action game and a flawed puzzler. Throw in performance and design issues, and it’s a No from me.
Developer: Disco Pixel
Price: £2.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.