Update: Mount Your Friends received a Second Chance with the Chick. Click here for my updated thoughts. Consider this review to be for the XBLIG version and the Second Chance to be for the Steam version.
Okay, so the name is as absurd and juvenile as a title can possibly get. But, we are talking about a game by Daniel Steger here. His previous hits include a game called Baby Maker Extreme (the ninth all-time selling XBLIG), This is Hard, and Blow Me Up. But the really weird part is, his games tend to be pretty decent. Blow Me Up and Lots of Guns both are Chick Approved and ranked on my Leaderboard. And now we have this, a game about building a human pyramid. In keeping with Steg’s tendency towards gratuitousness, it features Team Ninja-like jiggle physics.. for penises. This is a game tailor-made to generate scorn and ridicule from the XBLIG scene.
It’s also Daniel Steger’s best game by far.
This is exactly the type of weird, experimental game that I had in mind when I started Indie Gamer Chick. Okay, maybe I didn’t picture those games having dicks that behave like bobbleheads. But I figured I would play a lot of games unlike anything I’ve seen before. Mount Your Friends does that. It’s like a video game version of the popular Catalonian pastime known as Castell. In other words, people climbing on each other to build the tallest human-building they can make. Only here, there’s no worries about the laws of physics or structural integrity.
The way you go about moving at first seemed like it would be overly complicated. Each limb is controlled by a separate button. You move one limb at a time, with limbs automatically clinging to the bodies already placed. Each turn, you must climb higher than the highest body on the stack. Once you’ve above the line, you can press start to end the turn and start from the bottom with a new body. In the normal mode, you have 60 seconds to get above the line. It sounds dull, but it can be exhilarating. Especially when time is running short. There were multiple situations where the timer was nearing zero and I just barely got my hand over the line. This always resulted in hooting and hollering. Well, just from me, while my friends told me to sit down and shut up. But hey, I was excited!
Where Mount Your Friends really shines is in the multiplayer mode. Here, each player takes a turn trying to cross the bar at the highest point in the stack. Play continues until one player can’t make it to the top in the time limit. I’m shocked to say this, but this is one of the best multiplayer experiences to ever hit XBLIG. It even has online play that went off without a hitch. My biggest overall complaints relate to the movement physics. Flinging yourself instead of moving one hand at a time feels loose in terms of gravity and imprecise. I also had issues keeping limbs I didn’t want to use from going limp and getting stuck to one of the guys on the stack. I mean, wait, probably shouldn’t use the term limp in relation to this game. I mean they had trouble staying stiff. NO, erect. NO! God damn, this is tough to write about.
Okay, so the Mount Your Friends might be embarrassing to pull out to show friends and.. FUCK!! See what I mean?
Stegs, I fucking hate you. You make this really awesome game that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or played before, but it’s almost impossible to describe without receiving an awkward stare. You know what? I don’t care. Mount Your Friends is fun, plain and simple. It’s not very deep. The best concepts rarely are. But you simply have to try it, because there’s nothing else like it. I’m not the most athletic person in the world, and I’m afraid of heights, so this is probably the closest I can come to climbing a rock wall. Well actually, this is probably more like one of those walls where you hold a peg in each hand.
Don’t do that Cathy. Just don’t give him any more ideas. He’s incorrigible enough as is.
$1 (Steam version $3.99) asked if you heard the one about three guys laying in the same bed? They wake up in the morning and the guy on the left says “I had the best dream! I dreamed I was getting a wonderful handjob!” The guy on the right says “that’s weird, *I* dreamed *I* was getting a wonderful handjob!” The guy in the middle goes “I dreamed I was skiing!” in the making of this review.
A review copy of Mount Your Friends was provided to Indie Gamer Chick to test online functions. The copy purchased by Cathy was paid for by her with her own money. The review copy was given to a friend to test out online components. The person receiving it had no feedback in this review. For more on this policy, consult the Indie Gamer Chick FAQ.