Banana Kong has the originality of an Adam Sandler movie, but the title pretty much says it all. Whether it's a poor man's version of Donkey Kong or influenced by King Kong, this Kong loves his bananas. Unfortunately, there is a banana avalanche ready to swallow him up, so his love/hate relationship with the fruit is maybe the only complex aspect of the game. Still, I love Adam Sandler films, and since I don't need Shakespearean storylines for my endless runners, Banana Kong delivers.
Controls are simple: jumping, the most important element of the game, is accomplished by tapping your device, and if you want to glide a few feet, hold your finger down for a quick second. Collecting bananas is the goal, as they help increase the levels of your energy bar, which is located on the upper left hand corner of your device. Once the bar is filled, swipe your finger from left to right and Banana Kong will power dash through barriers and gain distance from the banana avalanche. Although power dashing is necessary to survive, my go to move is jumping from flower to flower -- it's a great way to get a little elevation.
Running, jumping, and avoiding smashing into walls aren't the only physical activities available for Banana Kong, as he can ride a boar or fly on a toucan to get around the jungle. Riding these animals speeds up the game in a heartbeat, and thankfully there are very few moments where you'll lose concentration or simply get bored while you're avoiding crocodiles, rolling logs, or piranhas.
Under the shop section, you can purchase a plethora of power-ups and utilities to lengthen your survival, but each of these additions will cost a ton of bananas. One of the cheaper boosts is supplied by a cheetah, who pulls Banana Kong 500 meters at the beginning of the game. There are also 33 achievements to be had for Game Center, most of which are quite amusing. To gain the Stupid Monkey achievement, you must fail within the first 100 meters which, sad to say, I accomplished within seconds of playing the game.
My only real complaint is the music, which simply gets on my nerves. Although it's catchy and doesn't feel out of place, a little more thought put into the score would have propelled the game into first class status. Instead, listening to the melody every time I die is akin to having some dude utter, "Mentos The Freshmaker!" every few minutes. Still, it's a minor irritation for me, especially when I get to journey through hidden caves with my potassium enriched monkey.
Maybe Banana Kong should get a bit of credit for not shying away from being compared to such titles as Donkey Kong Country, but sometimes homages could be a good thing. Gangster Squad, for example, is a horrible take on hard boiled film noir, a genre lovingly evoked in L.A. Confidential. Banana Kong, while playing the same notes as its predecessors, doesn't exactly reach higher ground, but it doesn't fall flat on its face either. It's a decent rumble in the jungle for $0.99, especially if you love wild boar rides.