Jungle Party
Developer: Magenta Software
Publisher: SCEE
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-4 pass-around
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Jungle Party is just what it sounds like; a pass-around party game (let’s face it, it’d be really hard to designed a PSP game that allowed 4 players simultaneously) that consists of 15 simple but fun minigames. They’re all easy enough to play for younger gamers and will all test even the best on the hard setting. Here’s a list of them all with a brief description:

1. Bubble Bath - There’s you, three other monkeys (the other 2 players are AI controlled if you play solo) in a hot spring bath, and you all have terrible wind (too many bananas perhaps.) All you have to do is hold down ‘X’ to fart while the Gorilla is asleep, if he wakes and catches your bubbles rising he’ll give you a thick ear. The trick is to quit farting regularly to bank your hard-earned bubble points.
2. Card Counting - Each monkey holds a card with a certain number of fruits on it, all you have to do is identify the high scoring card and press the corresponding symbol button (X, Square, Circle or Triangle.) The one with the most points after 90 seconds wins.
3. Crate Surprise - There are 4 crates hanging in the trees, you must pick one to stand under by pressing the matching symbol button. There might be something good inside or something bad, you gain points if it’s good, lose if it’s bad. You can change crates any time during the countdown, so it’s a bit like kiddies classic TV show Runaround, only with monkeys, and no Mike Read.
4. Elephant Baseball - The 4 monkeys are sitting on elephants, which lob baseballs up in the air. You must time your swing of a baseball bat (press ‘X’) perfectly to hit the ball and smash a rock face that exposes a stone statue (of a monkey) to score. Get into a rhythm and this one’s a doddle.
5. Jungle Hurdles - A hurdles race with a twist; you have to press the symbol that matches the one on the upcoming hurdle to clear it, press the wrong one and your monkey will stumble. There are also random banana skins with symbols that must be avoided too

6. Lethal Lily Pads - The 4 monkeys are sitting on top of lily pads in a pond. By pressing ‘X’ at the right time you aim and gauge the distance that your monkey throws a coconut, the object unsurprisingly being to knock your fellow monkeys off their lily pad or sink their spare pads. Turtles will occasionally swim in and if you hit them you‘ll get a power up like multiple coconuts, coconut bombs or a shield.
7. Lion Taming - Similar to the Bubble Bath game only more dangerous. You must hold ‘X’ down to make your monkey stick his head in a lion’s mouth. If he chomps down you have to press ‘X’ rapidly to make him let go. Just like with farting, banking your head-in-gob time regularly is the way to win.
8. Monkey Bomb - It’s basically ‘pass the parcel’ with a bomb. Hold onto the bomb to build up your time, but be sure to pass it on before it blows. As long as the bomb is in another monkey’s grasp when it blows any time you held it for is banked. Keep an eye on your nearest rival’s score and try and blow them up as this will lose them any unbanked score.
9. Monkey Catapult - Launch your monkey at a target and try to outscore the others. A ring rotates around the target and you stop it with a press of ‘X’, you can then stop it again as it zooms in and out of the target to set the direction. There are bonus balloons tied to the target that mean hitting an outer ring and popping the balloon might score more than hitting the bulls eye, but beware, only the first one to hit the balloon gets the score…
10. Odd One Out - As the curtains draw back to reveal four hippos, examine them carefully (and quickly) as they appear with new outfits, spot the odd one out and then press the corresponding action button. This game seems inordinately hard compared to the other games but then, I’m not used to looking at hippos in tutus and spotting which one has the different tiara.

11. Ostrich Eggs - Try to sneak up on the mummy ostrich and steal her egg by pressing ‘X’ when she has her head stuck in the ground (as they do.) You have to sneak all the way up to her and back, and if she catches you it’s gonna hurt…
12. Primate Penalties - It’s a soccer penalty shoot out, just pick a corner with one of the action buttons, and when keeping goal you do the same, it seems to be purely down to luck whether you score or not. This is a disappointing game and probably has less skill involved than any of the others.
13. Rocket Riders - Press the action button that matches the symbol at the top of your rocket pump. This builds up the pressure inside the rocket and the best pumper shoots the highest (that sounds a lot ruder reading through a second time.)
14. Totem Poles - Press the action button that matches the symbol on your totem pole to knock the stones out until the head of your pole is on the ground. If this sounds a bit like Rocket Riders in reverse then that’s because it is just like that, only with a totem pole and no rocket.
15. Whack A Squirrel - Can you guess what you have to do in this ambiguously named game? There are four holes in a tree stump and a cheeky squirrel will poke his head out of one holding a sign with a symbol on it and score 100 points. Tap the matching action button to score, but watch out for sneaky snakes—whack one of those and you’ll pay a 50 point penalty.

You can play any of the games as a one-off practice, or play short medium or long solo game (5, 10 or 15 games) and you create tournament made up of just the games you like or do a short, medium or long pass-around multiplayer game for two to four players. The game is announced and commentated on by Becky Boxer, and it’s really well done in a kids’ TV sort of way but she can be annoying and heckles gently if you’re not doing so well, and always seems to praise the other monkeys more than you. While this is fine with (most) adults and may be taken for what it is I’d imagine that it could certainly get on younger gamer’s wicks pretty quickly at the very point where they’re learning how to play the games—not a good idea. The controls for all the games are extremely simple and so all in all this is a perfect game to play with the kids as long as you don’t mind cartoon violence and crude, if good natured, humour. Don’t go expecting to be playing Jungle Party for long though, unless you’re a bit of a monkey when it comes to games yourself.

Best Bits

- Lovely and colourful, if simple graphics.
- Nice and easy for younger gamers.
- Sounds great with good jungley tunes and an enthusiastic commentary.
- Another fun pass-around game for the PSP.
- It’s got monkeys in it!
Worst Bits

- Games are very shallow.
- Typically intrusive PSP loading times.
- Single player mode won’t keep your attention for long.

by: Mike Honsole

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