Do Not Feed the Monkeys Review | A digital voyeur simulator where you watch strangers through surveillance cameras. Invade their privacy and witness their most intimate moments, but don’t interact with the subjects – anything could happen if you dare feed the monkeys!
Developer: Fictiorama Studios
Date Played: August 2021
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 4.1 hours
The first rule of Primate Observation Club is… Do not feed the monkeys! 🙊
You may be surprised to hear that my favourite genre of video game is not escape room video game. Sure, I love them. But there’s something I love even more: “Dystopian, Plate-Spinning, Time Management” games. For example, Arianna Ravioli’s Will Die Alone, or the classic Papers, Please. Do Not Feed the Monkeys fits beautifully into this category. You play a burned out employee tasked with the dystopian task of monitoring lots of CCTV feeds and making notes of what you see. Whilst juggling your new job you must also find a way to earn enough money to pay your rent, keep yourself fed and ensure you get enough sleep. If you don’t keep up with your tasks, you’ll be fired. Shit. Perhaps you should feed the monkeys…?
Welcome to the Primate Observation Club
Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a brilliant game of human observation and one that begins with a mysterious invitation to join the Primate Observation Club.
At first, I definitely thought this game would actually be about monkeys… But how wrong I was! It’s instead about you, an un-named member of the mysterious club, watching a host of colourful characters including a man that might actually be Hitler, a janitor trapped in an elevator, a team of writers working for a horrible boss, and a kid that won’t stop crying.
Your goal is to watch them, and learn about them. Armed with a notebook, an in-game search engine, a night vision camera and recording software, it’s really that simple. But let’s not forget that you’re also a living, breathing person. You have to also keep yourself alive, well fed, get enough sleep, pay your rent, and so on. It’s up to you to decide how you spend your time in the game. Can you afford to live, or will you have to go get a day job? Equally, can you really afford to miss even a second away from your computer? What if something important happens?! Argh!
On my first play through of the game, I did not “feed the monkeys” once, and I passed the whole game with flying colours. On the second play through I fed alllll the monkeys and let chaos reign.
What Happens if you Feed the Monkeys?
You CAN risk it and feed the monkeys of course. Let’s get into that.
By “feeding the monkeys” what we really mean is interacting with the humans you’re meant to be watching. Throughout your research you will discover things about them such as their phone numbers, addresses, hopes and dreams. If you want to make contact, you absolutely can. Nobody is off limits. but, you’ll need to be careful as this may lock off certain endings!
For example, in one of my play-throughs I stayed up very late and paid particular attention to one screen and discovered the devil. In a moment of weakness, I got in touch with a priest and we decided to perform an exorcism. Just for a laugh, of course. However for the rest of my game this screen ended up completely blank, and I missed an entire character arc. Instead in it’s place one of the side jobs I was offered was professional exorcism. It paid well. You win some, you lose some.
Conversely, not feeding the monkeys can have disastrous effects. In some of my play throughs I discovered a man trapped in a lift with no hope in sight. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find out enough information as to where he was, and wasn’t able to save him. That screen too eventually went blank. *sobs*
Do Not Feed the Monkeys is a dangerous balancing game of morals, with a line drawn in sand.
Each person is an enigma. You’re a puzzle not only to yourself but also to everyone else, and the great mystery of our time is how we penetrate this puzzle.Theodore Zeldin
For this reason you might be wondering why we’re reviewing Do Not Feed the Monkeys on The Escape Roomer? The truth is, it’s a quirky, indie, mystery game because each and every one of the passing characters is a puzzle to be solved. The tools you’re given are different from a classic escape room game, but it’s no less rewarding when you finally crack the case.
A Life in Pixels
One of our favourite things about Do Not Feed the Monkeys has to be the particular, slightly depressing style of pixel art. This game came out in 2018, but the style throws back to classic 80s and 90s pixel adventure games. In a similar way to Thimbleweed Park, Do Not Feed the Monkeys evokes an era of paranoia, a kind of 1984 played through your computer screen.
For sure, there’s a certain irony to me sitting at home behind a computer screen, playing a character sitting at their computer screen, watching countless characters live their daily lives… Mostly behind computer screens too. The irony is not lost!
From the moment I loaded up Do Not Feed the Monkeys, I was absolutely sucked into the world. In fact, just a few hours before a real life flight I had to take, I was still logged in tapping away and watching those Monkeys, afraid to miss even a single second of voyeuristic fun!
(Thankfully, I didn’t miss my flight, but it was touch and go for a moment)
At the time of writing, I’ve played through Do Not Feed the Monkeys 3 times and I’ve yet to discover all the secrets of the game. I still don’t know how to save the man in the elevator, and I would really like to know more about war veteran from Freedonia. Each new play I discover more things and new, wildly unexpected alternate endings! I’ve read other reviews that describe things happening that I’ve never even been close to. How deep does this game go?
If you consider yourself the kind of person who can track down your friend’s crush on Facebook with just a first name and a vague description… Get this game.
But whatever you do… Do Not Feed the Monkeys.
Check out Do Not Feed the Monkeys yourself by heading to Fictiorama’s Website here.