Developed by NapNok Games, Chimparty is one of PlayLink’s first forays into the family game market, something it pulls off with mixed success. On first impressions, its art style is very endearing, with colourful characters and nicely-themed levels being easy on the eye. The fact that you can unlock items throughout the game for you to customise your chimp with is a nice little touch, too.
Issues start to crop up when the gameplay starts, however. The main part of Chimparty is the board game mode, similar to Mario Party, where every player competes to reach the first by winning the minigames that occur every turn. The board is a little confusingly laid out, and since every space can only fit one player on it, it’s easy to forget who is placed where after a minigame.
The minigames themselves vary in quality, but admirably all of them are played with the one button provided on the Chimparty mobile app. For minigames like Treadmill Thrill, a simple endless runner game where you aim to be the last chimp standing, this basic formula works quite nicely.
However, with 18 minigames included in Chimparty, there are quite a few similarities between some games – and quite a few bad apples. Mobile controls are okay for the most part, but for the four games where aiming and shooting your monkey is required, things get very fiddly. There are four games based on this mechanic alone, giving you an idea of how similar some of these minigames are.
One themed around slamming your monkey into a basketball hoop is appealing enough but gets pretty dull, while another based on flinging your chimp the furthest becomes stale pretty quickly. There are also spins on volleyball and football, both way too chaotic and frustrating to be any fun. These games also contain the phrase 'tap to toot', encouraging you to tap your phone screen so your monkey receives a fart-based speed-boost, which at least makes the humanity’s inevitable end a little less terrifying.
As well as the main board game mode, Chimparty contains a one-player survival mode, where you play a range of minigames until you lose enough stars. It’s a nice way to get to grips with the minigames, but frankly playing them with AI is enough to put you off, especially in games requiring teamwork.
Lastly are blitz mode and custom mode, the former presenting you with 10 minigames to blitz through and the latter allowing you to take your pick at the games you want to play. Blitz is a more fun alternative to board game mode since it gets rid of a lot of frustrating aspects of the game’s flagship mode, but it’s still unlikely to hold your attention for too long.
In the end, Chimparty is an honourable attempt at cracking the family game genre, but one that feels too fiddly and repetitive to be fun for adults, let alone children. There are some fun ideas and a nice visual style, but there are plenty of better party offerings out there.
Chimparty is fun in places, but the repetition and occasional frustrations of its minigames means it's not likely to stay that way for long. As a family game it's too fiddly to be enjoyable for a sustained period of time, though its visual style is appealing enough to soften the blows of the substandard gameplay. Mario Party it certainly isn't – hopefully there'll be some better family games coming to PlayLink sooner or later.