Many readers will probably remember the 2017 Redeemer action game about a fighting monk named Vasily. The game with 83% positive reviews on Steam is the debut of the Russian company Sobaka Studio, and 9 Monkeys of Shaolin became a logical continuation of Redeemer ‘s ideas . This is the second project in Sobaka’s piggy bank, and again in the F95zone.
To tell the truth, three years ago the authors made the main mistake of the beginners – they tried to put everything they liked in other tiles into the opening game. It turned out to be a hodgepodge of Hotline Miami , Butcher , Double Dragon and God knows what else. As for the 9 Monkeys of Shaolin , it has abandoned the eclectic mix of firearms and fistfights, the intricate storytelling and attempts to make a “dream game”. As a result, the entertainment turned out to be much simpler and more enjoyable, the main goal of which is to convey the atmosphere of kung fu films of the 70s through simple but addictive gameplay. There will be many lashing blows and falling bodies.
In the story, a simple Chinese fisherman Wei Chen witnesses an attack by a group of pirates on his home village. In the role of the only survivor, our fisherman was filled with the idea of revenge and ended up in Shaolin to practice the skills of beating bad guys and other foes. It is soon revealed that the main villain is collecting elements of an ancient artifact in order to become a powerful tyrant. And so on – in the course of the passage does not let go of the thought that the plot is here more for show, but at least no one is trying to convince the player of the significance of the plot narrative of 9 Monkeys of Shaolin .
The game flourishes after a clear acquaintance with the controls. Our fisherman has three types of strikes: light and quick kicks, sweeping slashing strikes against groups of enemies, and powerful jabs against single targets. They all add up to various series of attacks. Later, the combinations become even more varied thanks to the appearance of additional stances – athletic and magical. In fact, there are nine types of attacks in the game, which, with restrictions, can be combined into chains. Moreover, we can “charge” attacks and penetrate them even opponents in heavy armor. And at the same time dodge and block attacks, including shots from antediluvian rifles.
In the first hour (this is a third of the game, by the way), the gameplay seems slow and monotonous, but as new techniques, new types of enemies appear – for example, characters with bows and guns attacking our fisherman from the background, or ghosts that can be damaged only with the help of special moves, the game changes for the better. And then suddenly it comes to an end. It’s a shame, but you can complete 9 Monkeys of Shaolin on standard difficulty in literally three hours. It will take another couple of hours to pump all the techniques from three racks and collect the hidden figurines at the locations already passed.
To be honest, the content in the game is noticeably small, and this is clearly not a virtue. Of course, players can call a live partner to stretch the actual time spent in the game, but co-op is just a nice option. No additional modes, no incentives for replaying, no leaderboard , which is even in the free Streets of Kamurocho , is not provided here. All challenges are to pump the hero to the maximum possible, collect all types of items in the game and try to overcome her on increased difficulty. It will not be enough!
Judging by the track record of Sobaka games , the studio chose bitmap as its signature genre. 9 Monkeys of Shaolin tries to copy classics like Streets of Rage , Double Dragon , HuniePop 2 and Fighting Force , but doesn’t look old-school enough to interest true veterans of the genre and not modern enough to appeal to a wide audience. Somewhat outdated graphics are trying to pass off as a “tribute” to old school, but in reality 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a budget indie game, the authors of which believe that nostalgia for good bitmaps works wonders. The gameplay is really bouncy, especially as a plus for him is the fact that in three hours the game does not have time to get bored. In addition, after learning all the tricks, it becomes especially pleasant to beat crowds of dummies, but, alas, there is nothing nostalgic about “monkeys”. Rather, only a sense of déjà vu, especially when you go through the same location for the fifth time in order to accumulate the missing points for pumping your favorite hit.