Ace Banana is a cartoon mashup of shoot-em-up and tower defense that blends the two genres with finesse; the premise of this story is that your village of sentient bananas (Yes…Sentient Bananas…) is under attack from a horde of ravenous Apes, and you, armed with a bow and arrow (Which has a variety of upgrades that can be picked up in game) is tasked with fending them off to stop them stealing your stash of bananas, which, in this bizarre, bizarre game, is presumably your unborn younglings. Lovely!
Once you have completed a level, a baby ‘nana will appear which you can raise in your hut, nurturing it with a mixture of soil, water and a miniature sun in similar ways to Tomogatchi, or a toned-down Chao Garden of sorts. The graphics are bright, and simple, as is the music; nothing really honestly stood out to me about these aspects, but then again it does have that childlike charm to it.
The VR implementation is good, but not without issues. If I’m honest the first thing that springs to mind with this game is Nintendo/Rare, with some of their haphazard attempts at motion control. Not withstanding the Ape and Banana theme the in game music, especially inside your little hut, is very reminiscent of the visits to other Apes in games like Donkey Kong country. The game’s central mechanics revolve around a progression from the archery in a game such as Wii Sports, and as such requires two motion controllers. I did attempt to play the training mode using my dual shock pad, but the only thing it allowed me to do was navigate, much to my disappointment. To make matters worse, when I got hold of two Move Controllers, there was no option for me to redo the training level!
With two move controllers, one grips the bow with one “hand”, and the other draws the arrow back and releases. In the heat of battle, this gets so physically daunting that I broke out in sweat multiple times. The game centrally focuses on shooting Apes before they grab a banana from your stash, or shooting it before it gets away to reclaim the stolen fruit (And yes, I know it’s technically a herb). This is also achieved by shooting the fallen ‘nana, returning it to your stash.
Fortunately there is some variety amidst the Apes – Some Apes will drop upgrades for your arrows, some of which are a big help and others, like the shuttlecock are a massive pain and are more of a detriment if anything. The game doesn’t give you any indication as to what the upgrades do, or how long they are active, or how to use them until you are between levels in your little hut. Talking of which, In the hut you can raise your youngling to Adult hood and then choose to use them to fight the next wave alongside you, which was a nice touch. Each Banana has its own skill set which may help or hinder as you progress.
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues which need addressing. The controls are hit and miss, arrows didn’t fire correctly and using the screen reset (hold down option/start) moved me into the screen and unable to get out of it. To be honest It would work just as well in 2d, it doesn’t need VR, however the biggest issue isn’t with the game as such, its’ with it’s choice of control method. The Move controller Twin packs on any large online retailer such as Amazon are over £60, and a high street retailer has the twin pack listed at £120+…
This game just doesn’t justify that sort of expense, I’ll be honest and say that very few A++ titles would.I’m sure a patch could resolve some of the niggles, and if you already have two Move controllers then it’s a fun little game to play until further titles are released.
I would rate Ace Banana a 6/10.