It was bound to happen. Just like the sun rising each morning, if you launch a new VR Headset then you’re going to get archery games. Ace Banana is the first of, probably, many such games, but can it hit the target?
First, a caveat. The game seems to be aimed at the younger players, with bright colourful characters and easy to use controls (though we’ll get on to that later). The story , where you get to find out exactly why you’re fighting on behalf of sentient bananas against hungry monkeys, is told via a storybook and isn’t particularly well scripted. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have been given a little more time to iron out but, to be fair, it’s not really all that important. All you really need to know is that you need to shoot lots of monkeys with a bow using arrows that have suckers on the end (kid friendly, remember).
The menu is worth mentioning as it gives players a few other bits and pieces to potter around with outside of the game. I did find this a little difficult to get to grips with, though. There are various bits to grab and use but the Move controllers didn’t always work the way they should have done.
In game, the move controllers act as your hands would when holding a bow. One is used to hold the bow itself and the other to pull back on the string with the trigger and a movement away from the bow, then let go with the trigger. It’s quite intuitive and feels almost like using a real bow, so it’s easy for kids and adults to get the hang off pretty fast.
Unfortunately, the move controllers also needed constant re-calibration after turning too far to the left or right to shoot at monkeys approaching on each side. This is thankfully just a button press and will result in the bow snapping back in front of you, but it does show how the controllers can be limited by larger movements. The aiming is also a little off at times, especially when trying to shoot the monkeys further away.
Each of the levels follows a similar pattern, with the addition of different types of monkey that will gradually be introduced. These add a little variety to the game with boxing monkeys able to block and several disguised monkeys taking several hits. There are also boss monkeys that will take a longer time to defeat after finding their weak spots. The bosses are the most impressive enemy in the game and I wish there had been more of these.
Kids would get more fun out of Ace Banana, but the issue here is that those younger than 12 years old shouldn’t really be using the VR headset in the first place and those over 12 may find this game a little twee, so it’s difficult to imagine the game finding the right audience. At the current discounted price it’s still a fun little challenge for those who want something else to play on their new VR headset, but don’t expect it to be anything other than a sideshow style arcade experience.