Banana Bliss: Jungle Puzzles is a very simple and straightforward $4 downloadable 3DS eShop game that has a ton of content and easy pick-up-and-play gameplay. The adorable graphics are matched by the cutesy plot premise – playing as a monkey that cannot jump, you are tasked with bringing all the hearts in each stage to your pink monkey girlfriend. It is undoubtedly kid friendly and worth playing in short 3-5 minute bursts.
There are well over 300 levels to grind through with the first 50 acting as one giant tutorial. Some early stages can be finished in less than two seconds and are painfully easy but the later stages will require thought, strategy and patience.
Each level is played on one stationary screen so the player can see everything all at one time and there is a zoom button if desired. Every level contains a different puzzle and a different amount of hearts to collect but each stage has only one optional invisible bunch of bananas to collect. Stages are unlocked in groups of ten at a time once five bunches of bananas have been collected. Going after these bananas will almost always increase the amount of time it takes to complete a level and might even require backtracking since the monkey, strangely, cannot jump. Instead, the brain teasing puzzles require the pushing of blocks to climb to new heights, air vents to fly upward, some blocks fall back into place after a few seconds, and enemies must be avoided. No matter how to look at it, avoiding horizontally floating snails is just plain weird and completely random; at least goombas walked on the ground.
This entire game is based around clever level design but sometimes it is purposely tedious. For example, each stage is complete once all the hearts are collected and you bump into your pink female monkey girlfriend. However, the level designers often placed the invisible bananas behind this level-ending monkey. But since there is no way to jump over or bypass this female monkey, the player must avoid gathering hearts, walk pass the girlfriend monkey, collect the hidden bananas, then double back and then collect all the remaining hearts and return to end the level. Thing is, this style of level design isn’t challenging, it isn’t fun, and it isn’t entertaining – it is unnecessarily tedious and happens more often than you would like. At times, it feels like work.
For some reason if you collect the bananas the game will ask the player to save a movie of the level you just completed for later viewing. But the question, why? No one is going to want to go back and re-watch a video clip of a stage they just completed especially when there are no online leaderboards and there are hundreds of levels to complete. This worthless feature only gets in the way since the game asks you to save this clip each and every time a stage is finished and since it might only take 3 seconds, literally, to complete a level this because movie options gets annoy quick. At least levels load quickly if you reach a dead end and need to start over.
Banana Bliss: Jungle Puzzles is easy to just pick up and play and stands as one of Teyon’s higher quality published games but there are some odd design choices that ultimately hold this simple puzzle game back.
Not As Good As: Super Monkey Ball
Better Than: the smell of the monkey cage at the zoo
Also Try: Super Meat Boy
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com