Wow. I don't know if you have Steam on your computer but if there was ever an excuse to try it, it is now. I know that sounds like some cheap-arse advertising, but bear with me. I just spent about roughly forty minutes or so with new indie multiplayer game Gun Monkeys, and I am ready to pay the full asking price. Anyone who knows my stuff will know this sounds insane. I have seen this kind of spit and polish done with a unique premise as a mix of hardcore gaming archetypes and new ideas built into what I sincerely and honestly hope becomes a popular Twitch viewable game. Anyway, enough with the hyperbole, lets get down to it.

My goodnesse, Gun Monkey is a simple yet amazingly complicated game. It's the kind of simple yet deep gameplay that people prefer in games like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, although arguably built far more for old school Contra and oddly enough, Littlebig Planet fans. If you've ever played the Littlebig Planet 2 demo, and tried the rocket level, this is basically that single level. Except with auto-generated levels practically straight out of Worms. With Metroidvania navigation, power-ups, and shooting. With a DotA style base that you have to keep supplying and defend while fighting your opponent. With monkeys, who tote semi-automatic futuristic weaponry in the future.

There's very little story presented in the game, save for the tutorial. The game will cheekily make you play the tutorial whether or not you choose to play it, getting you used to the controls and a brief bit if Thomas Was Alone by way of Yahtzee Crowshaw sarcasm narration to get you going. They also give you a few bits of narration for deaths, usually whenever you die your first time from, say, an explosive mine. This utterly non-sensical, hyper-saturated setting works fantastically. It's like Super-Hexagon and Littlebig Planet had a baby, it's so colorful and strange at times.

Granted, all these unique aspects wouldn't mean anything if you can't play it properly. Well, rest assured, the controls are just as solid as the game design. And before you're worried you'll be dropped into a sharktank of hardcore players -- fear not, your win/loss percentage and number of times played puts you specifically in groups on certain servers so idealized you'll only see about seven to eighteen people waiting in the lobby. This is the type of matchmaking modern games like Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3 need, and it shows as the matches I played were all fairly balanced unless someone was even more green than myself about the game.

Gore is present but in a cheekish, limited form rather than Gears of War grotesque.

Battles are short, frantic, and satisfying as you unlock cash for succeeding and lose cash for failure. There's a big incentive to get as much energy in a match as you can while spending as little as possible so you can get a huge payout, but also to stop your opponent from getting a large payout and removing all your cash. The money is only used for perks that modify up to four attributes, but early tier upgrades only tweak all the unlockable bonus weapons that drop-mid match.

Voice chat is responsive and quality. Twitch is integrated so all you have to do is jab in your info and you can stream any game you're playing. My biggest complaints? There aren't more than just 1 vs 1 matches and that you can't scroll back in the chat for the lobby. That's about it, and I think the former of which might get added at a later date if enough people push for, say, a 4 vs 4 mode. It's not very demanding, the graphical settings go from Fastest to the most pretty, there's an idle mode while you wait for challenges so you can check your e-mail (as the button's explanation bubble puts it), and it's less than a gig. I could even see this working on a mobile front, especially an iPad, perhaps even with split-screen vs. Speaking of which -- there is also local vs mode.

What's more, the developers have offered to send you a copy of the game to give a friend if you have no one to play with for whatever reason, but are online, and have a copy of the game. So literally, even after the game is old as dirt, you'll receive a second digital copy if you can't find a game, and you can play it with someone else. That, alone, is awesome, and worthy of praise. There's just so much right about this game, that I can't hardly stand sitting here, writing to you about it.

Gun Monkeys is for PC and Mac on Steam for $5.99 (as of this writing, $2.99 during the free weekend sale). Considering the solid package and the high replayability -- only the most stick in the mud against multiplayer will pass this game up.

Paradigm the Fallen

Did I forget to mention they personalize the victory sign to your username when you win? Well they do!