Before the days of Saturday Night Live, an irreverent sketch comedy show called Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired in the UK. It was so hilarious that the show has long since been immortalized in a rather colorful DVD set, and the group of British funnymen that constituted Python, including John Cleese, went on to do a series of films and a Broadway play. The Ministry of Silly Walks, by Boondoggle Studios, is not only a famous Python skit, starring the irrepressible Cleese; it is also the latest endless runner for mobile formats. As a fan of all things Monty Python, this game grew on me like a delicious fungus.
As far as game mechanics go, Monty Python’s the Ministry of Silly Walks is simple and straightforward. Players start as the Minister (John Cleese) in his office at the Ministry. Tap ‘start’ and the Minister pushes away from his desk and commences to silly walk as far as players can make him.
At first, the minister moves at a stroll, but his pace increases with distance. A screen tap makes him jump over or slide under obstacles like trash cans, broken lights, or aggressive pigeons. The minister can even use his umbrella to float in a very Mary Poppins-like way.
Along his walk, the minister can collect power ups to aid in extending his journeys as well as coins to fund further adventures in London. Players can store their coins for purchasing a variety of in-game items. I’m saving for a Golden Tux, myself. There’s no way to get coins but to play—no in-app purchases incessantly urging players to cheat their way through the game.
I said initially that this grew on me like a fungus, and that is only because at first I thought it too simple. Yet I could not put The Ministry of Silly Walks down. The music, while nostalgic, can get a little grating, so I turned it off when I wasn’t in the mood, but I always kept the sound effects on just to hear John Cleese say “whee!” whenever the minister went into a slide.
I wanted just a few more coins to buy a new suit, like the Tartan print (bonnie attire for my inner Scott). The title’s graphics are well-rendered and crisp, and the animations aren’t too shabby either. I found myself laughing whenever my poor minister tripped over an obstacle and the rag-doll physics sent him sprawling to the sound of John Cleese’s disappointed groan.
Google keeps track of who has the longest run, the most coins in one run, the most total coins, and the most coins and longest distance in one run. John Cleese recently tweeted that his personal best was a very silly 3135m. Apparently Mr. Cleese is in the habit of shouting out players with impressive high scores, an incentive to play well you will decidedly not find anywhere else in gaming. Unfortunately, my habit of watching the minister run into things for a laugh didn’t help my leaderboard scores much.
I highly recommend watching the original skit, and all things Monty Python for that matter, especially if you enjoy the game half as much as I did. Silly Walks is in the end one long inside joke for fans of the comedy troupe: from John Cleese’s scolding voiceovers, to the businesses players pass on their walk. These Easter egg jokes, however, do not detract in any way from Silly Walk’s deceptively simple and addictive gameplay. In fact, the Ministry of Silly Walks is so fun it may make some fans of runners into fans of Python, and vice versa.
This clever tribute to Flying Circus silliness is a solid endless runner that will undoubtedly prove fun for anyone who enjoys the genre.