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The Crown of Wu is Yet Another Monkey King Inspired Game, But You Should Give This One A Miss

The Crown of Wu 2 (1)

There have been many games based on the Chinese tale of the Monkey King, Su Wukong, over the years.

Now, a five-strong team collectively known as Red Mountain is throwing its own take into the mix. In 3D adventure The Crown of Wu, you’ll take control of Wukong himself as he explores a unique fantasy world in pursuit of his stolen crown. It features platforming, puzzles and plenty of combat, a winning combination by many accounts. And so it’s very unfortunate that it proves to be a massive disappointment.

Within minutes of starting The Crown of Wu, it’s very clear that it’s rough. It fails to grab you with its poor attempt at storytelling, and if you’re playing on PS5 like us, its visuals will not impress one jot. We could live with those issues if the gameplay proved to be fun and engaging, however. But that’s simply not the case. Needless to say, after spending a short amount of time with The Crown of Wu, you’ll be wishing you were playing something else instead.

Movement has no real weight to it, and controlling Wukong feels scrappy. It particularly becomes an issue when engaging in the game’s abundance of platforming. It’s hard to manoeuvre your character when in the air, and so if you misjudge a jump, chances are you’re going to fall into oblivion rather than being able to salvage a landing. Other traversal mechanics here, such as being able to climb vines, are functional. But poor animation across the board renders them unconvincing.

Related: The Best Platformer Games on PS5

By far the worst thing about The Crown of Wu, however, is combat. It’s atrocious. There’s no flow to it, and when hits land you don’t get a sense of impact. You’ll be hard pushed to get any enjoyment out of fighting enemies at all, even when you have some magical powers under your belt. It’s something you might learn to tolerate if you’re hell-bent on finishing the game, although perhaps only with the difficulty turned down to the easiest setting to make it less of a drag.

The Crown of Wu 1 (1)

If there’s any area where The Crown of Wu doesn’t wholly disappoint, it’s in the puzzle department. There are some fun puzzles to solve here, requiring you to be observant and apply logic. Get stuck into one of them, and for a short period of time everything that’s not so great about the game fades into the background. It’s just a shame that they’re brought to the forefront again not long after.

It if isn’t clear, we can’t recommend that you play The Crown of Wu. It’s simply not a good game at all. It doesn’t help that there are better games based on the Monkey King out there. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, easily playable on PC and Xbox consoles, is perhaps the best of them. And then there’s Monkey King: Hero is Back, available on PC and PlayStation consoles. And so, if you feel the need to partake in some Sun Wukong-inspired fun, look elsewhere.

The Crown of Wu is available on PS4, PS5 and PC.

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!