Are you a fan of games with purposefully awkward control schemes such as QWOP and Surgeon Simulator 2013? If so, it might surprise you to hear that there was an equally (if not more so) ridiculous game flopping about on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace in 2013. That game is none other than Mount Your Friends which has finally made its Steam debut. Is it worth buying on PC, especially when the price has gone up a few bucks in the transition?
First off, it’s probably best to gauge if you enjoyed QWOP because Mount Your Friends is similar in a few respects. The basic controls are always the same no matter what mode is played. Players have direct control over each limb. Each arm and leg is tied to either a face button on a gamepad or WASD for keyboards. On controller, you tilt the analog stick in whichever direction the limb should move. Mouse and keyboard players move the mouse around for a similar effect. Once a button is let go, it will “grab” a surface if one is near enough to stick to.
Controls seem to work best on a gamepad and that makes sense considering the game first launched on Xbox 360. Although keyboard and mouse controls are serviceable, they seem fairly alien. Smashing on controller buttons isn’t so difficult but trying to weasel fingers around on four keyboard keys is more stressful overall. As such, it’s probably the best idea to skip keyboard controls unless there’s no other option available.
Climbing is your main goal throughout a huge amount of single and multiplayer modes. The original mode is probably the most popular and simply has characters climbing on top of each other to see how high they can go. Each turn-based move is timed and players who cannot surpass a previous highest climb are kicked out. In single player mode, you simply just keep trying to climb in 60 second intervals before finally failing. Although it’s still fun, the most enjoyable way to play is with friends. When other parties are involved you’ll see a whole variety of strategies used to try and stop others from reaching the top. For example, one or more players might decide to build their tower of men at odd angles, making it tougher for the next player to surpass. Beyond that, it’s always fun to see another player screw up by disengaging all limbs and plummet to their doom.
This is a game for those with a sense of humor who find anything to do with penises funny. Perhaps the title Mount Your Friends might have given off a goofy vibe, but one really has to see it in person. You see, each and every character in the game is a musclebound man in nothing but a speedo. As they climb, or move at all, their hefty appendage swings freely from side to side. Engage in more frantic climbing and the darn thing might swing around in circles. All in all, the visual impression is unique and may cause bursts of laughter from onlookers. This is another reason why the game is perfect for group settings. The first time someone sees Mount Your Friends is a special, hilarious event.
Although certain modes are shared between single and multiplayer mode, there are some which are exclusive to local multiplayer. As of right now, online players can only engage in vertical or horizontal climbing. Why is this the case when there are so many modes in all? It all comes down to lag making anything other than a turn-based mode a recipe for disaster via online play. Still, the basic climb itself is tons of fun. Local multiplayer includes some other interesting modes such as fencing and “king of the goat”. Fencing pits two players against each other in a small arena with swords on their heads. Your goal is to poke the other guy with your sword tip first. The other mode is somewhat like capture the flag and forces players to fight for a goat crown. Single player modes include different types of climbing, coin collecting, running for as long as possible, and an untimed free play mode.
Thanks to a bevvy of modes, solid multiplayer and competitive leaderboards, there is a ton of mileage to get out of Mount Your Friends. Yes, the price has increased since the XBLIG launch, but $4.99 is still cheap for an addictive little title. If nothing else, those damn scholngs flailing everywhere never get old. For extra entertainment value, consider using the character editor to swap out their face for some other design. It’s sure to surprise (and hopefully not horrify) friends.
Mount Your Friends is an incredibly simple game and it excels in part for that reason. Almost anyone can pick up a controller and begin floundering about as they climb. Of course, it’s hard to deny the appeal of its silly visuals either. There’s something about the cartoon buff dudes with noodly body parts that invites friends to come together and “mount” each other virtually. Aside from some spotty keyboard control implementation and limited online play, there’s little not to like here. Mount Your Friends is a wonderfully weird game best experienced with buddies.
Version Reviewed: PC