March 24, 2016

Andreas Betsche

Monkeys in Cambodia – Asva and Cambodian Mobile Games Development

March 24, 2016 | Andreas Betsche

Today’s game, Asva The Monkey, is a mobile game available on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms. It has been developed by the Cambodian studio Osja.

Unlike the previous game, Asva The Monkey is light-hearted and entertaining. The game is centered around a challenging puzzle, where the player takes control of Asva, the monkey. Asva lives in the forest near Angkor Wat, a famous World Heritage site in Cambodia. One day, while wandering around, he follows a strange light which leads him to another mystical world. The player’s goal is to guide Asva back home by solving various puzzles. To do this, they must help Asva escape mazes and collect items in a specific way. However, there are a few limitations – Asva cannot move backwards or diagonally. Instead, he is very good at jumping.

Asva The Monkey Gameplay
Asva The Monkey Gameplay

Asva The Monkey is an interesting mobile game for several reasons. Firstly, it is unique in its origin. Cambodia’s game developer scene is still in its beginnings, and Asva is one of the first mobile games developed in the country. Secondly, the game claims to be deeply rooted in Cambodian culture, featuring elements such as Angkor, monkeys, and colorful game art. Despite being written in English instead of Khmer, Cambodia’s native language, Asva is very popular in Cambodia. User comments on Google Play Store express pride in Asva being a real Khmer game, demonstrating how cultural elements can be transferred to the virtual world of games and serve as a representation of culture or even identity.

Asva Worlds
Asva The Monkey World Selection Screen

The game is simple and short, but its cute and bright world and intuitive and addictive gameplay mechanics make it enjoyable to play. Asva is a rare chance to gain insight into the early stages of game development in Cambodia, which is already at a surprisingly high level. I will continue to follow Osja’s work and delve deeper into Cambodian mobile games.

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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