At E3 I was lucky enough to meet up with Jools Watsham of Renegade Kid to preview their upcoming game Bomb MonkeyBomb Monkey is a puzzle game and is scheduled to be out on the North American 3DS eShop within the next few weeks.

The game of Bomb Monkey is interesting.  First off, the 3DS is held on its side and the action takes place on the touch screen.  A monkey stays at the top of the playing field and is controlled with the D-Pad.  Pressing down throws the Monkey’s held item below.

Below the monkey are several colored blocks that slowly make their way up to the top of the screen.  If these blocks reach the top, it’s game over.

The monkey seems to get a random item to throw down into the rising threat.  The most common items are more colored blocks.  Every few items the monkey will get the bomb!  Throwing it will release a plus shaped explosion destroying every block in its path.  The trick here is to put several blocks of the same color side by side because if one of these bombs sets off, for example, a yellow block, all of the yellow blocks that are touching the original one will explode.  Some blocks have a lock on them which indicates that it will take two blasts to destroy.

It’s also possible for the monkey to obtain a big bomb as well.  This boom maker needs to be thrown quickly or it will explode in the monkey’s face, rendering the player helpless for a few seconds.  When the big bomb is thrown the explosion is double the size of the original, thus hitting more blocks.

Another interesting game play mechanic is the addition of steel girders in the playing field.  These items have either left/right or up/down arrows on them.  Setting them off with a bomb will extend the explosions across the entire play area in the specified direction.  Because of these it’s possible even for a puzzle game noob like myself to pull off awesome combos. I must say it’s extremely satisfying.

Bomb Monkey features several game play modes.  Of course there is the standard Endless mode in addition to Rescue, Numbers, and Vs. modes.

The goal in Rescue mode is to free a caged monkey in the game play area.  It takes 50 hits with bombs to free the little guy, so in this mode it’s important to keep the level from rising, the monkey’s cage covered, and to free him ASAP.

My favorite mode was the Numbers mode.  What makes this variation of the game different is that there are three numbers spaces in the playing field (numbered 1-3).  In order to keep the game going the player will need to make these spaces explode with bombs in the specific order.  Strategy is key here and if the wrong number is set off it’s game over.

Vs. mode was also neat as two players could play on the same 3DS unit.  As mentioned before the 3DS is held on it’s side while playing, so in vs. mode the opponent just holds the opposite end of the hardware and plays on the top screen while using the ABXY buttons to move.  Pulling off combos will send pieces to the opponent’s playing field and the first player to stack their pieces to the top of the screen loses.

The official Bomb Monkey website also mentions a 3 Minute mode that I didn’t sample.  I’m guessing that this mode is similar to endless, but only last’s three minutes.  This could be a great game option for those that only have a short period of time to play.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at puzzle games.  Usually it’s my girlfriend that’s whopping me all over the place while I scratch my head trying to figure out where to place objects.  Fortunately Bomb Monkey has intrigued me, especially the Numbers mode that I mentioned.  Puzzle game fans should really take notice of this title because pulling off combos feels very rewarding and will likely keep the player hooked for more.

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