You wouldn't think that monkeys and football would be a match made in heaven, particularly with the horrendously racist connotations that it draws up, which are simply a reality of the sport even in this day and age. One piece of entertainment that manages to make a surprisingly pleasant connection between the two seemingly separate spheres is Monkey Kickoff, a distance-based launch game that asks of you only one thing: to kick a football as far as you can into the distance in order to try and beat your own high score. It isn't a complicated concept by any means, but this relative simplicity may very well be a positive factor that separates this game from the typical overcomplicated football title that seems to try a little too hard to win over the opinions of its potential players.
If you are looking for a full-on football simulation, then Monkey Kickoff isn't a game that you should be attempting to satisfy this desire with. On the contrary, this game takes away pretty much all of the elements of the sport and leaves only the kicking, but it does so in order to slot the sport of football into the very specific shape of the distance-based genre. The gameplay merely consists of a monkey performing keep-ups with the ball on the left-hand side of the screen. You just have to make him launch the ball by pressing the spacebar or left-clicking the mouse, resulting in the monkey kicking the ball into the distance and the distance being recorded before you start again to try and beat your score. It may be a far cry from FIFA 15, but it's a light bit of gameplay that you can dip into as often as you want for as much or little time as you please.
Anyone can smash a ball of course, but it takes a little bit of careful timing in order to achieve the larger distances that the game encourages you to aim for. You will find that after a few rounds of smashing the ball that it sometimes goes further than other times, and this variations is accounted for by the timing of your shot. You'll notice that the monkey is doing keep-ups with the ball, with his foot striking the ball at different intervals. It's up to you to judge the perfect time to strike the ball, which is usually when the ball is fairly high in the air and not too soon after the monkey has just kicked it to maintain his keep-ups display of skill. It does take a bit of getting used to, and you may feel that the timing and resulting distances are a little arbitrary at first, but you'll soon get into a rhythm that allows you to achieve the larger distances that will get you the most praise from the game.
Beyond this basic cycle of kick and repeat, there isn't that much to the game in terms of upwards progression or even variation in the gameplay mechanics, but there are a few things to aim for. Firstly, you're obviously competing against yourself to get the largest distance, but you'll also notice the scenery changing depending on how far you manage to kick the ball; this is a nice little touch that adds a little aesthetic variation and gives you a reference point to mark your progress. Unfortunately, there isn't that much more to the game than this fairly basic system, so people looking for a more immersive experience may wish to look at the career-based antics of the hugely popular New Star Soccer instead.
Still, Totebo didn't do a bad job of coming up with some pleasant artwork for the game. The graphics are fairly basic but the design is colourful and the spindly look of the monkey is quirky enough to be mildly interesting. Considering the simple nature of the game however, many players may not be too impressed with the relatively meagre quantity of entertainment Monkey Kick Off has to offer and would be better off checking elsewhere for better-quality online football games that have more depth, better design, and gameplay that better simulates the ins and outs of the sport of football.