Bonkies is the latest in the line of couch co-op, relationship-testing, party games. If you’ve got a few gamers in the house then it can be a lot of fun, but it’s almost as fun alone – if anything, it can make playing that bit easier, though the raucous chaotic joy of a full four players can’t be matched.
The crux of Bonkies gameplay is all about balance; specifically, stacking various shaped objects to fill in a pattern. Each player controls a Bonkie – a chimp in a jet-pack wielding space suit equipped with one gigantic grabbing arm – and have to work together to place the items in order without toppling the whole thing over. There are some delightfully floaty physics in play here, and a big part of the fun for me was just flinging items up and around to catch them again before placing them down. Of course, with four players all trying to manoeuvre within the fairly small work space it is easy to knock into each other, or even undo all of the teams hard work with an errant side swipe of the final piece of the puzzle.
Some items are too heavy for a single player, so co-operation is key to place it down gently (these bits usually end up being placed precariously high up). A jet boost helps get these items up too but over use will see our Bonkie spiral out of control for a few seconds, and likely into our delicately balanced tower. There are also various other blocks to help prop things up, from anti-grav boxes that float in mid-air to non-essential supports that can remain outside of the shaped area, and even a few tricky items such as bombs that’ll explode if we put too much force onto them.
Each level generally has a few stages within too, so while our initial tower might have barely stayed upright, the next stage might then be that much harder as we need to build off of this already shaky base. And of course, the more sections we’re introducing to a tower, the more opportunities there are to knock it flying as we drop a section too early or are bonked on the head by another players building block (which also sends us flying around for a few seconds). Add in a time limit (and a par time) and it all adds up to some fun chaos as players try to work together to build quickly.
All that’s to say that Bonkies is a lot of fun with friends and family. Working together to build is fairly intuitive, but my kids had just as much fun knocking our structures over, or grabbing our arms and dragging us away from the blocks we’re trying to pick up. There’s definitely the case for trolling here, but even at the most frustrating parts we were still laughing (mostly) and having fun.
Solo is a slower paced fare, but as said above it’s probably a little easier at times. Any mistakes are our own doing, and outside of the time limit we can take our time to get things just right – sometimes it really is just easier to do it yourself. Not as fun though, and while I still enjoyed playing it solo, the manic chaos was much more entertaining in long bursts.
The only thing that really lets the side down a little is also what makes the gameplay fun in the first place: the physics. I like the floaty feel to it, but it also only takes the slightest touch to send stuff flying over. There are also some levels that require some fairly precise actions that don’t gel well with the imprecise physics on hand. We are able to lock our arm into place by holding the relevant button, which helps, but at times it can feel a little hit or miss whether we’ve picked an item up in just the right way to allow us to carry it.
Fairly small nit-pick aside, Bonkies comes highly recommended, especially if you’ve a house full of gamers that fancy something in the vein of Moving Out! or Overcooked. The action provides plenty of laughs to counter and annoyances, and some of the stage designs will really test even the most ardent of builders.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.