Earlier today, during a visit to the Gamecock Media Group, we had an opportunity to meet with Wideload Games and to check out their upcoming party game, Hail to the Chimp. Essentially a collection of multiplayer games that can be contested in any of 10 different environments, Hail to the Chimp will see you assuming the role of one of 10 animals hoping to become the new king of the animal kingdom after the lion is ousted.
The four animals that were playable at today's meeting included Ptolemy the hippo, Crackers the monkey, Toshiro the octopus, and Santo the armadillo. Each character in Hail to the Chimp will have a different arsenal of offensive moves at its disposal, as well as varying speeds and jumping abilities. Furthermore, players can opt to set up temporary alliances at any point during a game, and the special moves that these pairings afford the two players in question are different for every character combination. There can only be one winner, though, and since this is politics you should have no qualms about backstabbing allies as soon as they've served their purpose, or even about using the team-up button to beckon potential partners over and then attack them when they respond. The only other controls, incidentally, are jump and attack buttons, and the left analog stick for moving around.
Although all 15 of the games are purportedly quite different, the goal in all of them is very similar--to collect as many clams as possible because, you know, in the animal kingdom clams represent votes. Clams also make you more powerful while you're holding them, so in the games where you're tasked with depositing them somewhere, such as "Stuff the Ballot Box," you have to weigh up the pros of being stronger against the cons of not scoring points and running the risk of dropping your clams the next time you're beaten up.
The locales that you'll be fighting for clams in include city streets, mountaintops, factory floors, volcanoes, waterfalls, and the like. All of the levels that we saw were roughly the size of the TV screen, so no camera scrolling or split-screen action was necessary. Traps that players could activate to attack opponents from a distance were a constant worry, and the most memorable during our session was a section of floor in the middle of an industrial-looking level that could be removed piece by piece, sending any animals on top of it plummeting to their doom.
Hail to the Chimp is currently scheduled for release on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 sometime in the spring of 2008. We'll bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.