I can’t say I expected much from playing Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 because as far as I’m concerned (until now) I haven’t tried the first version or demo of this sequel and we don’t
Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 immerses you in the world of the Primate Observation Club, a secret society that, through a twist of fate, grants you the membership you inherited from your deceased uncle. As a member, it’s your job to observe and investigate (never interact with – strictly forbidden) all kinds of people who you spy on using hidden cameras placed in their homes or workplaces. Your task is to meticulously record certain moments in their lives, revealing their “true selves” within the confines of their personal “cage” (our term for every computer-controlled screen). Prepare to spend countless hours in front of the screen, delving into the depths of their existence.
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So far, the title remains the same as the original. But then, the hunger and fatigue set in, and a mob of smartly dressed men started knocking on your door, demanding payment of weekly debts. Yes, the management of resources now, including your own time, health and finances, plays a bigger role here. You’ll need to balance daily observation tasks, maintaining a balanced diet, establishing a proper sleep cycle, and taking on small jobs to sustain the economy. The demand bar quickly starts to drop. Suddenly, spying on monkeys also means spying on yourself, and this added layer of responsibility can be quite stressful, especially in the early days.
I say “try” because even with a simple mod that can greatly help with resource management, it’s still possible to make your quest fail. The key is to fully immerse yourself in the monitoring experience, engage all your senses and focus on the screen. Some cages will require you to uncover details hidden in front of you, while others involve engaging in long conversations or listening to subjects’ introspective talks. In some cases, you’ll need to do investigative work by piecing together new information with terms you’ve heard in your cage. There will be whole days without any major events happening, and in other cases you may miss an important event because the activity in a particular cage lasts only a few seconds. It can be frustrating to miss these moments, but it’s an intentional part of the game design cycle, since it’s impossible to monitor everyone at the same time.
To make matters worse, the number of cages and progress to be monitored increases every five days, requiring funds. If you fail to reach the assigned cage goal, you will be expelled from the Club and it will be game over. However, “luck” is on your side, because even in the future, there will be junk jobs that offer opportunities to earn extra income. Additionally, there are bonuses for successfully completing the Club’s “Observational Research”.
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There’s no question, however, that the real magic of DNFTM 2099 lies in the intricate stories surrounding each primate and the myriad directions each playthrough can take, ensuring that no two experiences are ever the same. The game offers several unlockable endings and boldly employs an ironic tone, effectively revealing aspects of our current society. Ever wonder what it’s like for a hired revolutionary anchor to take out their boss? Get ready to meet dedicated brewers, workaholic lizards, empty void gazers, alien psychologists with identity crises. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As if that wasn’t enough, DNFTM 2099 introduces a new tool called the Omni-Pal that magnifies the dialogue possibilities and reveals new clues inside each cage.
One potential downside is that the sequel is very similar to the original game, both in terms of gameplay systems and the first few hours where you might not fully grasp what to do or the best way to do it. While the learning experience is certainly part of the game’s charm, it can be enough to frustrate newcomers to the point of quitting the game.
I’ve been completely hooked on Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 for the past few days, and I think part of the reason is that, like the game’s protagonists, we spend most of our day glued to our screens and working remotely. This meta-like experience does speak to me diving into the game and forming a bond with the monkey (I know, I know, I shouldn’t, but…), but it’s also because the game is so well balanced, immersive, and full of Impossible not to stick to the screen. A new success for the Spanish developer, the sequel enriches and expands on the original in just the right way and is well worth checking out.