There’s something fascinating about the way that monkeys can run, jump, and swing through trees with such agility and grace, and believe me, Gibbon: Beyond the Trees knows it. Putting players in the role of the titular gibbon, they’ll travel through a rich and beautiful jungle environment. It just so happens to be one that’s been plagued by the destructive nature of humanity though, which sets a sombre atmosphere for the otherwise vibrant experience.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Gibbon: Beyond the Trees puts players in the role of a gibbon who, alongside with their partner and baby, must venture through the jungle to safety. See, humans haven’t only started to destroy the jungle to take its resources and build cities, but they’re also hunting the gibbons down, so it’s up to you to survive through the perils and ensure your family are kept safe. It’s as harrowing as it sounds and the game certainly has its dark moments; it’s also a reminder that things like this ARE happening in the world, which makes it feel a million times more emotional when playing.

The gameplay feels like a side-scrolling auto-runner, with players having to press the left trigger to run and the right trigger to swing, with each bringing with them varying speeds of movement. You can then jump by releasing either button, with the momentum of your speed determining just how far you’ll be able to leap. It’s not a hard game, but some endless pits and deadly hazards ensure that your trek through the jungle can be a dangerous one.

“The natural locales are truly wondrous to look at, whilst even areas where the jungle is being destroyed or where a human settlement has been established feel incredibly atmospheric.”

You know how it feels fantastic to simply swing your way around in Spider-Man? Well, I got that same feeling here, with the main gameplay loop of Gibbon: Beyond the Trees proving mighty satisfying and fun. There’s an air of simplicity to the experience and the fact that you’re constantly moving in one direction means there’s a sense of linearity to be felt, but the graceful freedom it offers players as they switch between running, swinging, and jumping through the bustling treetops was great. You’re not doing a whole lot else in-between it all, but it works so well that it won’t really matter.

It also helps that the game looks so beautiful, with some luscious environments on show that are oozing with colour and vibrancy. The natural locales are truly wondrous to look at, whilst even areas where the jungle is being destroyed or where a human settlement has been established feel incredibly atmospheric. Despite the desolate undertone, Gibbon: Beyond the Trees is packed with charm and beauty, with the lovely landscapes the most glowing example of that.

Check out some screenshots down below:

I’ve got plenty of praise to heap onto Gibbon: Beyond the Trees and I had a lot of fun playing, but it does have some issues that might irk some players. For one, I noticed a LOT of choppiness with the frame rate, with slowdowns occurring throughout the majority of the game. There are times where it’s not so noticeable, but in the more severe instances it could affect the free-flowing nature of the gameplay, in turn making it difficult to nail those swings and jumps with accuracy. And don’t get me started on that ridiculously long loading screen that greets you into the game…

It’s also a pretty short experience, with it only taking around about an hour to beat. Whilst I found this long enough so that I didn’t tire of the simple gameplay mechanics, some players might hope for a little bit more bang for their buck. There is the additional Liberation Mode to play through which lets players venture across a procedurally-generated jungle environment and rescue animals which is fun, but it lacked the depth to keep me wanting to come back for more.

Gibbon: Beyond the Trees Review

Gibbon: Beyond the Trees certainly left a lasting impression on me, especially with its heart-wrenching storytelling, satisfying gameplay, and beautiful visuals. It’s just a shame that it has some technical issues right now, with the choppy framerate not only hurting the flow of the game but also causing me to mistime a few jumps. It isn’t game-breaking by any means and there’s still a good time to be had, but I just KNOW that if a patch could fix some of these issues, Gibbon: Beyond the Trees could really be something special.

Developer: Broken Rules
Publisher: Broken Rules
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC