Simple yet really fun!

I love games like Streets of Rage. Side-scrolling beat em’ ups, it’s something that I think the industry has lacked in recent times, but Streets of Rage 4 proved there is still an audience for them kind of games. They’re usually short and sweet; very easy to pick up and play. Sobaka Studio enter the scene with 9 Monkeys of Shaolin. Koch Media were kind enough to send us the game and after a few hours with it, if you liked the old style Streets of Rage, you’ll absolutely love 9 Monkeys of Shaollin.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin sees you take on the role of Wei Cheng, whose little village was destroyed by pirates. With the help of the Monks, Wei Cheng sets upon the journey of avenging his loved ones who were killed by the pirates. It’s a rather simple story, yet an enjoyable one. Between the chapters, it’s narrated really well and you’ll easy get to grip with the story right from the outset.

I really liked the visuals that were present in 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, they really shone through, especially the background. They are fantastic to be a part of. The main characters and enemies aren’t detailed very much, but it wasn’t something that bothered me throughout. Narration is drawn by fantastic hand-drawn backgrounds, and each mission really impressed me when playing it on my Xbox One X. I found the voice acting a little bland if I’m honest, but again, it wasn’t something that put me off entirely as the dialogue is easily skippable.

Gameplay wise, it’s what you would expect from a game like this. You basically go from left-to-right, with enemies in each section of the game waiting to try and kill you. You’ll also have different boxes in each level, where you can collect different teas which replenish health or your QI power. As you go through the game, you’ll learn new abilities along the way, which make use of your QI power. X, B and Y are basically the buttons that you’ll be using most. Although, LB is also needed quite a lot as you’ll be fired projectiles from distance from pirates. Holding LB at the right time will fire that bullet back and kill them.

After each mission, you’ll go back to the Monk’s base where you have the ability to upgrade your skills and also get new weapons. Whilst the new weapons made for an easier battle, you could have easily gone through the whole game using the stand weapon. However, there are harder difficulties and I do plan on going through them. There is also the ability to play local or online co-op, something that I think is a really good option.

Overall, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a really good game if you just want a few hours of fun, not so difficult gameplay. It definitely took me back to the older days of Streets of Range. There may be a lack of longevity with a game like this, but I definitely think it is worth 1 or 2 playthroughs. Give it a go, you won’t regret it.

An Xbox One review code was provided by Koch Media.