We're always told not to judge a book by its cover, and likewise, we shouldn't always judge a game by its title. And in the spirit of being non-judgemental, I present to you Pee Monkey Plant Bloom for the iPhone. Believe it or not, this is actually the fourth in a series of Pee Monkey games. And while some might say this is the fault of the "casual market" and decry the iPhone for its lax standards, I am also reminded of games like Boogerman released during the 16-bit generation, often considered a golden era for gaming. Simple fact of the matter is that there's always going to be someone to laugh at toilet humor, and likewise games for that demographic. What really matters then is whether or not those games are any good.
At its core, Pee Monkey Plant Bloom is essentially an Angry Birds clone. That's not all bad. After all, if you're going to copy a game, it might as well be one of the best games on the platform. But while Angry Birds puts its focus on destroying structures, Plant Bloom has a much more direct focus. Your goal is to water the plants in each level given a limited number of "shots," as it were. Since you are launching a stream of water (despite the game's title, the liquid is blue) this has some interesting implications for gameplay. For example, shooting into a wall will cause your stream to bounce off, but bounce in a spray of droplets that could potentially water a large area if there are multiple plants below. Or by using a focused stream you can push objects through physics-based puzzles to clear a path to plants. And though it has the appearance of water, the monkey's bodily fluids still maintain the heat implied by the game's title, allowing you to melt through ice blocks in your path. It does just enough to differentiate itself from the game that was clearly its inspiration, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the game's physics-based puzzles. I even found myself often replaying levels along the way to aim for a better score and a higher medal.
As for the game's aesthetics, for a game about urination, it's actually pretty adorable. From the monkey's scrunched expression and the way he stamps his feet as you aim your shot, to the look of relief on his face after you take a shot, it's hard not to become enamored with the little guy. Hovering above in each level is also another monkey, shaking her head disapprovingly at the whole state of affairs. The self-referential nod might not defuse the crass nature of the game for everyone, but I have a sneaking suspicion that those people won't be downloading the game anyway and stopped reading this review at the headline. For those with a tolerance for toilet humor, Pee Monkey Plant Bloom has somehow managed to make it appear cute.
I'm not sure that I would say that Pee Monkey Plant Bloom is a great game, but it's certainly a good one. Far better, at least, than most gamers would give it credit for judging it purely on its title. It's a bit easier than Angry Birds, and its 40 levels can't hope to compete with the nearly 200 found in the aviary iPhone hit, so your dollar investment won't take you quite as far. But for those wanting some cute physics puzzles to pass the time, perhaps while in the bathroom yourself, Pee Monkey Plant Bloom will likely exceed your expectations.