Bonkies PC Review

In Bonkies your goal is to create structures using physics, your extremely strong mechanical arm, a “banana-fuelled jetpack” and your Bonkie brain. It brings family fun and complete multiplayer chaos, similar to Moving Out and Overcooked from recent years. Instead of a story, Studio Gauntlet gave us the childish humour and ridiculous puns we’re so used to with these types of games to fill the gaps between the levels.

Bonkies is a fairly simple concept; you lift, stack, balance and are even rewarded with bananas should you beat levels fast enough to unlock additional Bonkies. Using everything at your disposal you must create some kind of tower without everything falling down. Sometimes you’ve got to figure out what order to stack the blocks, other times it’s all about balancing, and when they really want you to feel bad, they make you do both.

After getting used to the different shapes and sizes of all the blocks of the early levels, later you’ll start to see floating blocks, glass blocks and many more that I’m not going to spoil! Some of the block’s properties change the game in a huge way, not only making it hilariously frustrating but also much more tactical.

The multiplayer campaign has 6 worlds with several levels, each with a recommended player count and previously mentioned banana. I find the former to be a strange recommendation for a multiplayer game… Imagine having only 2 players and you can’t beat the level or collect the banana because you need another 1-2 players. Even worse, imagine someone asking you to stop playing because it would be too easy with 4 players. I think a better solution would be to make your Bonkies stronger/weaker depending on the level and how many players you have.

I was surprised at how much communication and precision you needed in multiplayer to 100% all the levels. Having someone hold onto a piece of the tower to stabilize it while the others place more blocks and activate special blocks means the game becomes tactical very quickly. Even though it’s labelled as a family game, it will still appeal to the players that prefer a challenge. I find a timer to be a strange decision with family friendly games, if you use it for the banana then that’s fine but for the players that don’t play many games, I can see the timer becoming frustrating; at the very least I’d give players the option to turn it off.

Of course, these games are always more fun multiplayer and usually you don’t even get the option of a single player, however, Bonkies gives you a full single player experience. Honestly if you aren’t going to be playing the multiplayer then the single player mode is not worth the price, mainly because there are only 2 worlds (one of which is the tutorial), however, on the other hand as something a little extra it’s a fun addition. In my opinion much of the fun comes from the multiplayer chaos so when I played the single player it always felt like it was missing something. Instead of your tower falling and you all argue over whose fault it was and having a laugh about it you just feel broken because you’ve got to spend another 2 minutes lifting a single block. Nevertheless, the single player was a fine addition and if you do find it fun then it’s just a bonus!

A big concern is the lack of online multiplayer, I love a good couch co-op game as much as the next person, but I believe Studio Gauntlet missed a big opportunity here; especially because of COVID-19. However, Steam Remote Play is available on PC and if you have a smooth connection it works relatively well. The only problem is no matter how good your connection is, Remote Play will always have some input lag and when you need to be quick and precise that can become a big issue in the later levels.

The game is presented in goofy cartoon style with new characters introducing themselves as you make your way through the worlds, with cameos from some famous people I’m probably not legally allowed to mention. Your Bonkies will explode when you use your jetpack for too long and be screeching when you get knocked out by a block, disabling your movement for a couple of seconds. These make for some great memorable and comical moments, however most of the time it will just create arguments but that’s most of the fun!

At a time when multiplayer games are a great way to catch up with friends, Bonkies delivers a chaotic experience you can play with family and friends both old and new to games. Restricting the game to local co-op only was a big loss but if you have 2-4 players to play with or have a good enough connection for Remote Play then I can guarantee a fun time.

7 out of 10