Monkey Quest is a massively multi-player online game (MMOG) that was launched in March 2011 by Behaviour Interactive. Monkey Quest is another in a long line of online games that is published by Nickelodeon. The site is aimed at children from age 6 to 12. This game exists in the fantasy world of Ook where members explore, meet new friends, play games and gain knowledge about the world through their monkey avatar.
The appeal of Monkey Quest is the online games that members play that are reminiscent of older arcade-style and Nintendo games. Memberships begin at $7.95 per month for the first month; however, this rate is re-billed at $9.95 per month for the monthly membership. A six month membership is $44.95 and an annual membership is $59.95. Monkey Quest offers no refunds. There is a free membership for children; however, their movement within the virtual world is limited. Players can also gain access to exclusive content on Monkey Quest by purchasing NickCash (Nickelodeon’s virtual cash). Monkey Quest requires a broadband internet connection, a high-end video card and the installation of a plug-in called Unity. The game is played through Money Quest’s website.
New members create and customize a monkey avatar to use as their virtual personality. Once the avatar is created, it enters the virtual world of Ook and begins to have adventures by playing online games. Once an avatar successfully completes a game, they are able to advance to the next level and get better armor and advanced weapons to defend themselves against evil monsters they encounter. Monkeys are able to go on individual quests or participate in group quests with other members. Not all quests or assignments are game-based. Members will encounter puzzles that they must solve to pass through doors and other obstacles.
As with other online games, Monkey Quest follows a plot to get the member’s monkey from point A to point B. The age range that the game is meant for limits the complexity of the plot, but it is sufficient enough that children and parents will be attracted to it. Parents should know that NickCash allows children to purchase merchandise from the online store. The only way to get NickCash is to purchase it with real cash. The only benefits that players get from successfully completing games are graduating to the next level and attiring their monkeys with better armor. In order to make their monkeys move through the virtual world, players must learn to master the controls. The arrow keys and the space bar on the keyboard move the monkey, while hot keys fire weapons and access potions. Unlike many other virtual worlds, Monkey Quest doesn’t have a social chat room.
Monkey Quest is a gaming website that will appeal mainly to children 10 and under who are interested in the action of traditional video games. The graphics and design of the website and the game are quite good. The people who created all of the monkey avatars definitely knew their target audience. The monkeys are goofy, humorous, cute and easy to like. The personalities of the monkeys really shine through. It is this easy-going attitude that will make children comfortable with the game. There are no adult themes in the games or on the website. There is no drinking, smoking, drug use, sex or offensive language.
By teaming with other players on quests and in games, children will learn the value of teamwork. On quests, children will learn that helping others is a selfless act. Individuals in a position of authority in the game are good and encourage players to help others and follow their example. A fair amount of logic must be summoned to solve puzzles, which can develop a child’s thought patterns.
Monkey Quest has some cartoon violence which may encourage younger players; however, there is no blood, gore, pain or thoughtless violence. Since the game is based on a video game platform, there is going to be some good versus evil battles where children are the good guys and need to defeat their foe to advance to the next level. Also, since there is an online shop for merchandise, parents may see an increased focus on buying related Monkey Quest products.
Since online chat is limited to pre-chosen phrases and filtered language, the worst part of online safety that worries most parents has been scaled back significantly. Still, parents and children need to remain vigilant while online. All communications are filtered and moderators are watching the site twenty-four hours a day. It is very difficult to find Monkey Quest’s safety policy. It needs to be more prominently displayed.