Review: Ace Banana (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional *
  • PlayStation Move Required (2)

* Use of DualShock 4 is possible but not recommended

Title: Ace Banana
Format: PSN (1.2 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Publisher: Oasis Games Limited
Developer: Time of Virtual Reality
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), €13.99 (EU), £14.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I like eating bananas. They are a quick to peel and delicious fruit high in potassium and magnesium, and the pectin is great for digestion. I know they’re actually a berry and ever so slightly radioactive, but I’m not going to worry about the technicalities of it all, I just like eating them.

Gameplay:
In Ace Banana, you play as a bow and arrow plunger-wielding anthropomorphic banana trying to protect a few piles of different, regular garden-variety, bananas from a horde of evil monkeys, who seem intent on your bananas and cannot be bothered to get their own.

Or maybe you are the bad guys bananas who pilfered their supply and the poor simians are just trying to get them back. I was never quite sure, as nothing is explained. Did I mention you play as a banana?

You begin as a ninja banana, and can find and grow other banana abominations. Once they are fully grown you can switch between them in the main menu area. I cannot find any difference between each freak of nature and I do not like the way you grow them. It’s just plain wrong.

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Each oddly shaped berry starts as a baby plantain and you must give it sunlight, water, and food so it can grow from a baby, complete with a dummy (pacifier) and the usual garb that a normal baby wears, to an adult banana. I have no idea why you are a banana that nurtures other bananas to protect normal bananas from crazy banana eating monkeys. Would it have not made more sense if you were a banana plant?

You have to hold two move controllers up as if grasping a bow in one hand and a plunger in the other, pulling back while holding the trigger button and releasing when the aiming reticule is on target. This tiring mechanic is all that you do and it gets dull and painful.

… the controls often mess up and do not seem to track all that well …
Part of the pain comes from the fact that some plungers bounce off the monkeys with no effect, even if you get a perfect headshot. It frustrates and bothers me. So much so that I adjusted everything I could think of just in case it was something I was doing wrong. It turns out it is the game. Did I mention you play as a banana?

You can play using a DualShock 4 controller as well. You still move it around to aim and use R2 to shoot and it works quite well. In some ways, better than the Move controllers. Even this way of playing does not make it fun.

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You can collect power-ups and special weapons although three rolling pandas and a plunger with a rock on the end do not make for fun enhancements, quite the opposite in fact as pandas often miss and the rock makes it impossible to aim.

Then we have the boss, a stupidly large monkey-controlled robot that I have yet to defeat. After many boring attempts, I cannot seem to kill it. Part of the problem is that the controls often mess up and do not seem to track all that well. Your weak weapons don’t always connect with the troublesome simian either.

… made me regret typing in the review code …
There are a few locations to protect. To move between them you aim where you want to go and transfer by pressing the Move button or R1 if using the DualShock. You only have to swap locations between waves of enemies and during the boss battle. It takes time to do this and looks disconcerting.

I hated the idea of giving up on a review in the first level, but nothing about this game gave me any desire to keep on trying after many attempts over a week. I had to space it out as playing this game for too long made me regret typing in the review code, getting up in the morning, and even a few life decisions.

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Visuals:
The game is filled with weak and unimaginative graphics throughout, with infuriating freeze frames when you knock an evil clown mask off a monkey’s head, for example. This forces you to wait until they are moving again for any hits to deal damage. It has very simple and plain textures that remind me of a late PlayStation 2 game.

I have no idea why these monkeys have evil clown masks but I don’t like them, never have, even before I watched Tim Curry play a masterful Pennywise in the television miniseries of Stephen King’s (self-proclaimed) thesis on horror, It.

… the rotten game hidden in the otherwise excellent launch lineup …
Audio:
Nothing special or impressive to mention here. You get some of the sounds you’d expect for a game pulled out of the digital bargain bucket. There are some low quality tunes and sound effects, but I never got a chance to fully experience the later levels so it could turn into a beautiful masterpiece, but I doubt it.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Ace Banana has done one thing – given me an aversion to bananas. I hope one day the unnatural abominations will fade from my memory and I can once again enjoy the delicious fruit. For now, all I can do is delete Ace Banana from my PlayStation 4 and warn others to avoid it.

I have found the rotten game hidden in the otherwise excellent launch lineup of the PlayStation VR. Did I mention you play as a banana?

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.


Optional DualShock 4 Instructions
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  • Keith Dunn-Fernández

    Great review! Well written and informative! I did not know that bananas are berries! I will say that a look at the trailer in the PSN store had me shouting “NO!” in my PSVR helmet so I’m not surprised by your surmise. (Can I use that word that way?)

    • ChazzH69

      Thanks Keith. You can use that word if you wish. 🙂