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Joystiq hands-on: Hail to the Chimp


Since our first glance of Hail to the Chimp we've been intrigued. The party game for Xbox 360 and PS3 can be best described as "monkeying" the Pixar philosophy, the game looks like it'd be for kids, but there's a bunch of sly jokes in there that adults will get and the gameplay is simple but deep. The game revolves around 10 animals vying for control over the Animal Kingdom through a bunch of Power Stone-type levels where you need to collect clams in order to fund the campaign. Meanwhile, an anchor for a cable television station style network will give briefs after each battle, along with doing voice-overs during bouts. The anchor isn't your cheap kind of recap character either, this beaver has over 5000 lines of dialog speaking specifically to the action which has occurred.

Playing Hail to the Chimp against three of the developers, it was tough to put up any kind of fight, but we got an idea of how the game might play when it releases next year in time for the U.S. presidential election. Each character has special attacks and if players are failing they can even team up for different combo attacks. For example, the hippo and armadillo can join forces and the hippo will kick the armadillo like a soccer ball at opponents. There are also various traps, warps and environmental incidents that occur during any given stage. After about three rounds you get a solid idea of what's going on. Once again, playing against three of the game's developers you'll have your jackass handed to you, but we did win an elimination round fair and square, where a cloud chases the character with the lowest number of clams to kick them out of the game.

Hail to the Chimp still has a while to go, but the basics are there and so far it's fun. The depth is involved in learning the animal combinations and what the 10 characters offer, but you can hardly learn that in 20 minutes. The great thing about the game is that it is clearly designed to utilize Xbox Live and PSN so battles will be easily played online -- which is more than we can say about a more famous "party" game. What Hail to the Chimp does truly have working for it is a colorful cast of characters who will supposedly have backstory attached to them and a wit in mocking the political system.

Gallery: Hail to the Chimp | 29 Photos

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