Hail To The Chimp Review (Xbox360)

Developed by Wideload Games, Hail to the Chimp is a party game full of satire that could fill up a feature film by Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein). Even with all the humor incorporated into Hail to the Chimp, it’s the gameplay that ultimately can’t save this from being more than a mediocre title.

If you enjoy jokes revolving around animals and amusing social satire, then this may be a game for you. Players who have given Wideload Games’ first title, Stubbs the Zombie, a run through should feel right at home with the humor. Stubbs was a game that was superb at poking fun at pop culture and Hail to the Chimp is able to replicate its success with similar comedy. The only mistake Wideload Games committed was their primary spotlight on delivering a funny game rather than one that plays well.

Winner! Now take to the podium!
These cars got nothing on The Flintstones

When players start up Hail to the Chimp on their console, they’ll be welcomed to the world of GRR news, a news entity that centers on what’s happening within the animal kingdom. The GRR is Wideload’s first attempt in Hail to the Chimp to have gamers giggling with pun-intended jokes about the government and pop culture. Players can sit back and watch headlines come across their screen and be entertained if they’d like, but personally, I’d recommend watching The Daily Show or The Colbert Report for political satire over Hail to the Chimp's attempt any day of the week.

Back on track to the story though, the small but substantial storyline of Hail to the Chimp begins with the Lion, the original king of the jungle, being removed from office after a scandal. This opens up position for the citizens to decide which animal rightfully deserves to take the mantle of King of the Jungle.

This eagle is ready to pump you up
GRR at its finest

While the humor is decent half of the time, the gameplay is nowhere near that in providing an entertaining experience. The central factor for succeeding within Hail to the Chimp is to be great at button-mashing – an attribute that doesn't require a lot of skill. Allowing four players to run around an arena and whack each other, Hail to the Chimp doesn’t offer a diverse set of game modes to differentiate one from another. Whether you’re collecting clams – otherwise known as votes in the real world – or backstabbing your friends, the game doesn't contain a variety of game modes to play through. One game mode will ask you to collect the clams in a particular order while another will have you hurrying to drop them off in a set spot.

Comparing this to Mario Party, it’s easy to see that Hail to the Chimp is unique with what it tried to accomplish. Rather than being a basic board game and playing mini-games, players will run around the arena bashing each other, figuratively and literally. A few of the goals in the game include: throwing mud on your competition’s campaign posters, destroying voting machines and of course spreading bad press on your opposition. To be rightfully crowned winner, players must be the first one to collect 75 clams.

The clams' purpose also serves more than just being collected for victory, but they'll also allow the player to become stronger and faster in the game. If players aren't able to take advantage of this perk, then they could also team up with a friend midway through a match and form a special attack against your competition. If you don't want to team up with a friend, then you could perhaps trick them into partnering up and then screw them over by backstabbing them within the match.

Who’d ever want to be king of this mountain?
Let the games begin the rightful claim of King of the Jungle

For the little replay value the game has, players must play through the single-player mode to unlock new arenas and GRR segments. From interviews to campaign ads, the GRR channel is full of humor and comedy to enjoy. But it won't take players long to see and play everything Hail to the Chimp has to offer. The fun doesn’t last long unless you can find friends and family who’ll enjoy the humor alongside you. If you tire of playing with your friends, then there's always the ability to play online.

Offering a distinctive cartoon look, Hail to the Chimp has graphics that are pretty in some areas while not in others. The stages are full of traps and dangers to avoid, but often you might get lost within the stage with the amount of things going on at one time. If you keep a watchful eye out though, you shouldn't have trouble keeping track of your character on the screen.

While great in concept, Hail to the Chimp proves that it takes a little more than a high concept for a video game to become great. If Wideload Games was to ever create a sequel, I'd hope they could retain their humor but add in a lot of gameplay aspects that were sorely needed in Hail to the Chimp to be a quality game.

Top Game Moment: Getting a chuckle or two from Wideload's creation of a news channel called GRR.

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