9 Monkeys of Shaolin – PC Review

9 Monkeys of Shaolin – PC Review

Genre: Action arcade co-op beat-em up
Developer: Sobaka Studio
Publisher: Buka Entertainment
Release Date: October 16th, 2020
Edited by AlexKnight2005

9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a Japanese inspired action beat ’em up game similar to SNES and Sega Genesis classics such as Double Dragon. In this game, you fight waves of enemies through various environments while managing your health to stay alive. Buka Entertainments’ work shows that a classic beat em up can still thrive in 2020. Read on to find out in more detail what this game has to offer.

The story starts with the main character’s village being raided by bandits. You play as Wei Chang, a fisherman from the unnamed village mentioned above. As you explore the village, you fight waves of enemies as you try to find your uncle. Finding him at the end of the level sees him get killed by a bandit. This all spirals into a nice revenge story of you trying to avenge your uncle and village, as you are the last survivor from the village. Throughout the story, you get to explore various environments. For one mission, you’re in a bamboo forest with a village in the center, other missions take you to temples and many other different and interesting locals. All dialogue is fully voiced, with quality voice acting to immerse you in the world and the story it’s trying to tell. Audio design is next up here as the music is a neat mix of classic Japanese music and modern rock. You will hear various tracks from different levels in the game. Each area has its unique music that fits the atmosphere of the area. Enemy encounters also have their battle theme, as well as boss fight music. There’s always something playing that fits the action on the screen. The rest of the audio design falls into place nicely. Attack sounds hit as expected, and audio cues of what enemies are doing always portray the on-screen equivalent.

The gameplay that is mentioned above is a nice call back to SNES and Sega Genesis Beat Em ups like Double Dragon. You go through a level and fight waves of enemies while managing your health bar as you dodge attacks along the way. At the end of each level, there’s generally a boss or some sort of story beat to progress the campaign. Some missions end with you rescuing a character, while others you slaying a powerful boss. The moment to moment gameplay is fun and challenging. You have three attacks mapped to X, Y, and B on the controller. X is your light attack, Y is your heavy attack, and B is like a jab attack, and the A button is what is to be used to dodge. You also have the ability mapped to the left bumper to deflect arrows back to faraway targets. There’s Light RPG mechanics throughout the game as well. Leveling up Wei’s abilities make you feel a consistent level of growth in the character. Seeing Wei perform stronger attacks is always satisfying. The Normal enemies are nice and varied, the types of enemies you will find fast striking swordsmen, tanking enemies with shields, archers, and various types of enemies throughout the adventure. Of course, there’s still skill needed to progress. Dodging attacks is the key mechanic. A lot of boss fights end up you learning the patterns, dodging in to do a few hits, and dodging out in time.

The game runs amazingly on modest hardware. I tested the game on multiple pcs and always got a steady 60 fps and tight input controls. You don’t need a behemoth of a pc to power this game. Graphics options are nice and extensive with multiple quality settings for textures, shaders, post-processing, etc. You can fully edit the game into whatever configuration runs on your hardware. So far, every system I have tried has been able to max out the graphics options. The only oddity I found in graphics is when you run the game in the windowed mode that the resolution maxes out at 1600×900 and does not let you go all the way up to 1080p through the Full-screen mode fixes this right up. You also have the full ability to remap all controls in the game to accommodate any play style. This is on both the controller and mouse and keyboard also in the gameplay settings, there’s also a difficulty menu where you can customize the difficulty of the game. By default, it was set to novice and did not prompt me to change it at new game creation.

Overall, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is an incredible tribute to the classics while enhancing it with modern touches such as the RPG elements. Every area feels unique, and enemy designs are all nice and different. If you enjoy beat ’em ups, then definitely give this game a chance. For $19.99 on steam, it is definitely worth the asking price, especially if you like the genre.

PROS:

  • Unique level design
  • Fast-paced and engaging combat
  • Fully remappable controls
  • Multiple difficulties
  • Fully voiced dialogue

CONS:

  • No option for difficulty upon game start
  • No 1080p on windowed mode

Blindpcguy Gives 9 Monkeys of Shaolin a Drastik Measure score of 8.5 out of 10.0 (85)