App Review: The Ministry of Silly Walks

July 4, 2014
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Monty Python: The Ministry of Silly Walks – Boondogle: Android, iPhone, iPad – $1.99

I’ll have you know that it really is all part of a carefully plotted conspiracy! While Monty Python prepare for what are probably their last-ever live stage shows in July, the masterpiece which is seen by an army of television and comedy critics as their most resonant – and still utterly non-redundant – comic sketches is about to be rebirthed once again as a mobile app game.

App Review: The Ministry of Silly Walks

Yes. Monty Python‘s The Ministry of Silly Walks has been given the Frankenstein treatment. The game’s developer, Boondoggle Studios, which has released it for Android, iPad and iPhone, has done most of this reanimation work alone. The Python member most involved, John Cleese, who starred in the original sketches, has even lent his voice to the new app, unlike the other tired veterans Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman.

The game is best described as falling into the perpetual runner genre. It involves walking and, of course, part-time silly-walking through the streets of London collecting coins and power-ups, all the while stepping carefully and jumping this way and that to avoid a maelstrom of pigeon poo, dog-shit and various other obstacles. I mean, come on, you simply can’t beat strolling through an obstacle course doing jumping-jacks, sliding, somersaulting or hang-gliding your way forward while collecting filthy lucre in the form of coins of the realm and thereby allowing you to purchase cool new threads with a Union Jack or tweed theme.

This is an official Python product, so you also get treated to the famous theme music while your character goes all wonky-legged. The goal is to improve your distance each time, but unexpected speed bumps like flying birds can wipe you out. You’re then treated to Cleese informing you, “Well, that was just embarrassing.”

App Review: The Ministry of Silly Walks

Python fans will recognize the variations on the silly walk that have now been translated into digital form. The game itself is an enjoyable diversion. Those birds really do come flying out of nowhere, testing your reaction time. You’re also pretty much guaranteed to get the infectious theme song stuck in your head long after you’ve set the game down.

The very first official Monty Python app, Python Bytes, was released in 2012 and is a timeless collection of 22 skits from the very first season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. And last year, The Holy Book of Days – an exclusive iPad app that sort of daintily improvises on Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

So, along the same lines, out comes this new one, which is a certain hit for those who are already Python addicts. The game is a true bargain at $1.99 with no accompanying extra in-app purchases. It has been receiving good user reviews on Android, but so-so feedback reception on iOS, where a number of App Store reviewers have complained it has crashed on their devices.

App Review: The Ministry of Silly Walks

“iPads are here, apps are here: there’s no way of being a Luddite any more! You have to go with the flow,” Python member Terry Gilliam told The Guardian in May 2012. Gilliam had previously worked on a CD-ROM game in the mid-1990s, as well as promoting console game Heavy Rain in 2012.

The whole world will be watching as Los Pythons do their whacked-out thing during a week of concerts at London’s O2 Arena from July 13 to the 20th, and be treated to a non-surprising diet of dead parrot jokes, Torquemada’s zealous jesuits, Mr. Hilter, Reg Pither, the Cheese Shoppe and what are promised as thousands of brilliant, brand-new Terry Gilliam animations. No silly walks, though. Cleese’s artificial hip and knee bollixed up that one. The final performance on the 20th of July, will be simultaneously broadcast in over 1,950 cinemas around the world and from then on rebroadcast on HBO.

There is even be a new special song, The Silly Walks Song, that is being broadcast on Youtube and getting lots of television and radio airplay.

The trailer for the upcoming shows featuring Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts is pretty funny, too.

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