Review: Ace Banana

Imagine if you had a load of bananas. And now imagine that a horde of monkeys are trying to get your bananas and steal them for themselves. What would you do? Shoot them all in the face of course!

That’s the concept behind Ace Banana and in essence it is the entire game. What it does in terms of offering a very single concept, it does fairly well to be fair. On the entry of new hardware to market there are often a number of low profile or low budget games on launch, of which this is one. To its credit, it does a reasonable job of showcasing virtual reality which is kind of what the launch is all about.

The world is really colourful. You have a set area and the controls are simply aim and shoot – you are using a bow and arrow, and firing things such as plungers, garlic and fish. The monkeys just got ‘pop’ so don’t worry, it’s child friendly. The vibrancy of the world plays into the comic approach, as you progress through the short levels you’ll see monkeys dressed in tutus or as clowns and it is amusing as you rapid fire a kipper into a load of them.

VR gives a good sense of scale as you have a few banana-bases to defend and can simply transport to different ones just by looking at them. When you’re at the highest base, VR does give a good sense of height and a touch of vertigo, although it does make it quite hard to see the detail at the other bases and the game doesn’t really indicate well where your bananas are getting stolen.

Graphically the game is fairly basic but the colours help make up for this. Gameplay is really simple with move controllers used to aim, shoot and teleport to different bases. After a while this is really going to wear you out so you’ll want to switch to a Dual Shock controller which works simply by aiming and using the triggers to fire.

This works much better actually (and certainly less tiring) although it presents a bit of an issue with a mini game which requires you to water and tend to your bananas. It’s all a bit weird honestly, but without using the move controllers to pick up the watering can and tend to them, you can’t do much at all. The same restriction applies to the main menus whereby you’re more or less looking around without being able to interact much.

A bigger issue is relating to your in-game view. The bow and arrow (and ammo of choice) is presented right in front of the screen. It is translucent but the many layers will impair your view depending on where you are looking. This is a bit of a shame and a sizeable stumbling block for a game which exists on the basis of being able to look around in a VR world.

Ultimately, Ace Banana is a fairground game. At your stall, you shoot the various monkeys for points. That’s it, there’s not a lot more to it. Levels are short and you will see all the game has to offer fairly quickly, with repeat playtime based on how excited you are to spend your time in this particularly VR space. Novelty soon runs out, but for a quick blast of what fun can be had from VR environments, it’s a reasonable showcase.

Reviewed on PSVR

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