Banana Hell is a platformer modeled after games like Jump King and Getting Over It. Like those games, its goal is to not only be difficult, but also punish the player when they make a mistake. In all three games, this punishment takes the form of lost progress. One missed jump can result in you falling a considerable distance, which, given the difficulty of the game, can amount to hours of gameplay.
Unfortunately, Banana Hell departs from Getting Over It and Jump King in one of the worst possible ways, game mechanics. Getting Over It forces you to awkwardly use your mouse as a lever to swing your character forward. Jump King forces you to use high powered jumps to climb platforms. Banana Hell simply uses standard platforming with no additional mechanics. It often feels like Banana Hell doesn’t understand what makes other games in the genre engaging. There is nothing inherently challenging about Banana Hell’s game mechanics, there’s only brutal level design. In Jump King, failure feels like your own fault because you have to perfectly aim your jump. Failure in Banana Hell feels like it’s the game’s fault because all you can do is walk, jump and duck. It takes a lot of the fun away because there isn’t a skill that you are getting better at, you are just learning the layout of each level.
Banana Hell also suffers when it comes to its presentation. The visuals are unique, but they clash with the animation style and make the game look amateur. Granted, it’s an indie game, so being rough around the edges is part of the deal, but Banana Hell takes it too far and just ends up looking awkward rather than charmingly mediocre. The writing is also obnoxiously bad, with plenty of unfunny jokes. Obviously the main character is supposed to be annoying, but it goes way past the point where it becomes intolerable. It’s just a lot of corny jokes and references that read like they were poorly translated from another language.
Overall, Banana Hell tries to follow in the footsteps of some great games, but never surpasses them. It plays like a low budget version of a much better game. It’s hard to recommend it over other games in the genre, but it might be enjoyable if you’ve already played the best ones and are looking for more.