OK, so what can you tell about this game from itâ€™s name? That itâ€™s got stars in it? Yep. That itâ€™s got monkeys in it? Uh, no it hasnâ€™t actually. Itâ€™s a vertically scrolling shoot â€˜em up in the tradition of Flying Shark and Slap Fight (remember those?) Star Monkey is the name of your ship, tada! The game is a downloadable Indie game for PCs by Small Rockets and I got mine via my Real Arcade Gamepass â€“ it was a â€œrealâ€ (sorry) bargain at Â£5.95, I can tell you that for sure.
It has 3 levels, which doesnâ€™t sound like much, but they are very big and each level has 2 bosses (a small one and a big one) so itâ€™s more like 6 levels. Also the viewpoint is classic overhead 2D, except itâ€™s all rendered in amazing 3D. This means that you have parallax effects and cool explosions/particle effects that light everything up in a 3D way. Also, the gameplay area is slightly wider than the screen so it scrolls left and right as you move towards the edges of the screen. The graphics are really lush and the sound and music are good too.
I used an old two button analogue joystick to play the game and by the time the demo ran out, I had cramp from gripping it so tightly. I bought the game immediately as I knew it was a winner. The power ups are nicely balanced so that as you get more powerful you slow down and have to get more speed power ups to compensate. Also, the more powerful you are, the larger you are and are therefore more likely to get hit and loose it all, sob. Except that once you reach a certain level of power, you drop back to that when you die instead of nothing (a bit like â€œWho wants to be a millionaireâ€) â€“ this is cool. Also, if you hold down the fire button you get a quick burst of fire that slows down to more pedestrian stream, so you are encouraged to fire in little bursts and aim your attacks more carefully instead â€“ this is cool too. The first level wasnâ€™t too hard, but the second and third got a lot harder. It took quite a few hours before I beat it, but I was never bored because itâ€™s such a satisfying game.
A small side note: it did bomb out on me a couple of times and I think I had to reset the PC. Also certain sounds sometimes seem to go really loud – Iâ€™ve no idea why. However, donâ€™t let this put you off from getting a great game thatâ€™s a real blast with itâ€™s modernised retro feel.
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.