Do Not Feed The Monkeys – Review
Follow Genre: Point-and-click adventure game
Developer: Fictiorama Studios, Badland Games
Publisher: Alawar Premium
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Do Not Feed The Monkeys – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Multiple endings for each story
Bad: Almost unplayable with a controller
User Score
5.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.7/10 (3 votes cast)

The arrival of Do Not Feed The Monkeys on the Switch caused a bit of a controversy, as the game launched with an E for Everyone rating despite featuring quite a lot of adult content. Needless to say, it was pulled rather quickly. It’s back up now, with a rating that reflects its intended audience. So is the game where you spy on the unsuspecting public really that offensive for little Timmy? More importantly, is it any good? We joined the Primate Observation Club and found out what Do Not Feed The Monkeys has to offer.

Story

You’ve been selected as the latest member of the Primate Observation Club, a mysterious Illuminati-esque society. The Club’s activities are centered around observing “monkeys” in their “cages”. The “monkeys” are in fact unsuspecting people, and the “cages” are hidden cameras. At the beginning of the game, your associate, who hides behind the online handle “MaskedMaiden” explains the Club’s rules: keep buying cages, rise in the Club’s ranks and most importantly: do not feed the monkeys e.g. interact with the people you’re interacting with. 

There are plenty of stories here, and the game is chock full of references to real-life characters. Throughout your run, you’ll meet a David Bowie expy, a fraudulent granny and a retiree who may or may not be Adolf Hitler, among other characters. It’s a game that hits all the beats in a good way, and although the characters might feel a bit one-dimensional, their stories are well-written and the various ways you can influence the stories ensure replayability.

Graphics

While Do Not Feed The Monkeys doesn’t boast the most impressive graphics, there is a charm to the pixel-based illustrative style utilized here. It’s reminiscent of old-school PC point and click games. There appear to be some stylistic discrepancies between the various cages, with cages that don’t really do anything, such as the chicken coup, appearing less detailed than cages that have a lot of story going on. Overall, the game looks simple but decent. The graphical style also helps to lessen the offensiveness of the content, as things can get gory as well as dirty in other ways. You won’t see any full-on naughty bits, as nudity has been blurred. 

Sound

There’s no voice acting and barely any music. Most of the game’s soundscape is composed of ambient noise, with stock sounds used for any interactions. That doesn’t mean you’ll be playing the game in complete silence either: you’re observing the cages from your apartment in the city, so you’ll hear all kinds of noise coming from the outside, from police sirens to crickets to noisy neighbors playing loud music for a few seconds. Dialogue has been replaced with high-pitched gibberish. The limited sound design doesn’t really detract from the gameplay, but there isn’t really anything to say for it. 

Gameplay

It’s difficult to put a label on Do Not Feed The Monkeys, as it doesn’t really feel like any other game we’ve played before. It’s a point and click adventure, for sure, but it’s also about resource management and time management. You’ll spend the entirety of the game in your apartment, with most of the action happening on your computer screen. The key element is MonkeyVision, the software that allows you to watch the streams you’ve unlocked. Here you’ll be able to observe anything that happens. Many of these streams offer a look into the lives of strangers, although there’s also a fair few that seem bland and useless. 

Zooming in on a stream allows you to observe it in detail. You’ll hear the dialogue and you’ll be able to get a detailed look at certain objects. Clicking the objects or certain dialogue keywords will let you write them down in your notebook. Stuff written in your notebook can then be looked up in your browser, allowing you to dig deeper into the lives of these strangers. The more information you uncover, the closer you’ll get to being able to affect the on-screen happenings. Of course, there are risks associated with these interactions, as strangers don’t tend to react positively to the notion that they are being observed. If a “monkey” discovers the camera, the Club will notice and you will risk being expelled, meaning a game over. So why would you interact with the monkeys then? Well, simply put because it’s interesting and entertaining to tinker with their stories and change the outcome of their situation. With these risks come rewards too. For example, if you confront the sneaky photographer with her actions, you’ll be able to extort her for money. At other times, you’ll be able to prevent disaster from happening -without your interactions, several of your monkeys will end up dead.

The game isn’t just about observing the monkeys. You’ll need to manage your own life as well. You’ll need to carefully balance five parameters while you play: hunger, sleep, health, time and money. Time is perhaps the most important one here: your monkeys might drop a hint that they’ll drop key information in a few hours, meaning you’ll need to make sure that you’re watching them at the right time. This means that any other activities (work, grocery shopping, sleeping) need to be planned out so that you can be behind your monitor at the right time. You’ll need to ensure a steady flow of income as well: you’ll need to unlock a number of additional cages every few days to meet the Club’s quota, buy food to prevent starving to death as well as pay the landlady every few days. Groceries keep up your health as well as your hunger level, but going shopping takes time. You can instead have junk food delivered, which will fill you up but will decrease your overall health level. Your apartment’s door will also have three job listings pinned to them every day. In the early stages of the game, this is your main source of income, but as you progress through the game, more lucrative ways of cash flow become available.

You’ll also receive visitors -which can be a bit of an annoyance if you’re in the middle of watching a stream- and the way you interact with them influences which one of the game’s endings you’ll see. Finally, the Club will send you emails asking you questions about your monkeys. Answer them correctly and you’ll be rewarded in cash. Answering these questions and taking advantage of your monkeys in such a way that they are unaware of the cameras is the key to a steady income in the later stages of the game, so that you don’t have to rely on the underpaid jobs that take up much of your precious observation time. 

It’s a lot of information and it feels a bit overwhelming at first, but you’ll ease into it rather quickly. The game offers an easier “peeper mode” as well where resource management is much easier, and we do recommend playing through that on your first playthrough. We did say “first”, as this is a game you’ll want to replay. Not only do things get significantly easier if you know which keywords are relevant and which scenes are a waste of time, but there are so many different endings to the various situations that it’s impossible to see everything in a single playthrough. A single run will take approximately three hours, and there’s about twenty-two hours of content hidden beneath Do Not Feed The Monkeys’ surface. 

One thing we do have to mention is the controls. We’ve only played the Switch version, but it was nearly impossible to play the game in docked mode, simply because the pointer felt sluggish and it was very difficult to click the various keywords fast enough to write them all down. The game supports touch controls in handheld mode and although clicking things with our fingers wasn’t always as accurate as it should be, it was a significantly more comfortable way to play the game. Things may fare better in the PC version, where you’d use a mouse but we haven’t tried that one out so your mileage may vary on this. 

Conclusion

We feel that there is no middle ground to Do Not Feed The Monkeys. It is a niche title that people will either love or hate. If the concept intrigues you, you’ll probably get a lot of enjoyment out of it. You can always download the free demo from the eshop to give the game a shot if you’re unwilling to commit your cash, although we do feel that it’s very reasonably priced. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go watch what’s happening in cage 11. 

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Rating: 5.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Do Not Feed The Monkeys - Review, 5.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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