What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monkey Quest is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORG) in which kids create and customize a monkey avatar to go on adventures in a fantasy world. This is a side-scrolling platform puzzler with some mild combat. The violence is cartoony and on par with what kids would see in a Mario game. This game is played through a browser but requires the Unity plug-in, and parents will have to allow pop-ups from the site as the game launches in a pop-up window. The game also requires a moderate to high-end computer and fast Internet connection (minimum computer specs called for include an ATI Radeon 9600 or NVidia FX 5700 or better video card and broadband connection). Parents also need to know that although quite a bit of the game may be played for free, there's a substantial amount of the game to be unlocked by a monthly subscription or through buying NickCash to open the areas up for play.
What's it about?
Ook, the world of MONKEY QUEST, is a wild and exciting land. Long ago, the Monkey King had defeated the Shadow Demon, Ka, and then disappeared, leaving five ruling monkey tribes to run Ook. Now, evil Shadow Monsters are once again threatening this world and the monkey tribes. You, young monkey, with your friends (other players in this online game) have agreed to go on quests to discover the secrets of the evil and join the fight against it. Players become stronger the longer they play, and the world they are exploring expands.
Is it any good?
Monkey Quest is a graphically pleasing and well-designed MMO with a theme that appeals to kids, with platforming action that also makes use of foreground and background space to create more "platforms" onto which to jump. Most kids who have played console games will be familiar with this game action, which makes use of arrow keys to move, the spacebar to jump, and combinations thereof for special powers. Besides questing, players will find there's also simple crafting in the game and as players advance, they will unlock better weapons and abilities. Kids will also find that playing together with friends (it's simple to make friends in this world) provides a "banana" multiplier, increasing the number of bananas -- the in-game currency -- that they earn. There are also special quests where kids need to join up as a "team" so that they can take on quests that can only be done with two to four kids playing together.
The game is fun and appealing to kids, but only for kids playing on high-end computers. Unfortunately its rather high computing requirements mean that kids with older computers and slower internet connections will find the game less fun with long load times between scenarios and graphic glitches. For kids with fast enough computers, this a delightful romp -- on par with the fun found in Toontown Online.
Online interaction: The chat function is white list chat where a dictionary is employed. Which is to say, kids can only use words that are in that dictionary. Any attempt at bad words are blocked. There is 24/7 monitoring and a function available for reporting abuse.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about fighting and violence in games. Is shooting bananas any less violent than shooting laser beams? How is cartoony violence different from realistic violence?
Families can also talk about money matters. How do you earn the in-game currency? What can you buy with it? Is it necessary?