The endless runner genre has exploded thanks to ultra popular titles like Temple Run 2, and it seems like every week there’s at least one new endless running game to play.
That means the genre is a bit saturated, so successful new games in this category should be fun, innovative, and addictive, adding never before seen gameplay elements. While Banana Kong, a new endless runner from FDG, delivers in the fun category, it is sorely lacking in the innovative and addictive categories.
Essentially, the game borrows a theme from Donkey Kong and combines it with gameplay that you’ve experienced a hundred times before.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right? I can appreciate paying homage to Donkey Kong, and I enjoy endless runners as much as the next person, but as someone who plays a lot of the newly released apps, this one just felt uninspired and unoriginal.
If you’ve played an endless runner before, you will be able to pick up and play Banana Kong right away. You tap to jump and tap and hold to activate a parachute mechanism. The goal is to continue through the game collecting bananas and avoiding obstacles.
There’s a giant pile of bananas chasing you, and running into barrels or spiderwebs will slow you down. That can be deadly, but the game has a mechanic to counter the slow speed – as you collect bananas, it fills a power up meter. You can swipe to activate it for a burst of speed that will put you ahead once again.
In addition to spiderwebs and barrels, you will need to make sure to avoid running into walls, rolling logs, and stones, all of which are deadly. If you do hit one, it ends the level. The game also incorporates rope swings and flowers to jump on. I found the controls to be a bit sluggish when navigating these obstacles, which was frustrating at times.
Banana Kong has a series of missions to complete, like collecting a certain number of bananas or traveling a set distance. Completing these missions will reward you with extra bananas. All of the bananas that you collect can be used to purchase power ups.
Though Banana Kong has a lot of obstacles to overcome, it is not a challenging game. Navigating the flowers and the swinging ropes is more of a chore than a difficulty, which one of the main reasons why I was unimpressed with the gameplay. Those obstacles slow you down and I thought Banana Kong was paced far too slowly for an endless runner, and I really felt the lack of a double jump.
I may not have cared much for the game’s mechanics as far as endless runners go, but I did love the graphics. The jungle setting works well, and the star gorilla is cute. I also appreciated the Game Center integration, which provided both leaderboards and achievements.
Though I had mixed feelings on this game, I can confidently recommend it to fans of Donkey Kong Country. If you play a lot of endless runners, be aware that this ranges on the easy side and it’s a bit slow, but since it’s only $0.99, it is still a worthwhile download for a casual game you can pick up and play.
What I liked: I liked the theme of the game and the graphics, along with the chipper music.
What I didn’t like: I had an issue with the controls – at times, the game didn’t register a swipe as a swipe or a tap and hold in the right way, leading to deaths. I also didn’t care for the pace of the game – it was too slow in comparison to other endless running games.
To buy or not to buy: It’s only $0.99, so if you like Donkey Kong, give it a try.
- App Name: Banana Kong
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.4
- Category: Games
- Developer: FDG Entertainment
- Price: $0.99