Sometimes you just know deep down that something’s meant to be great, and that’s the exact feeling we got when Ape Out was announced. At first glance, it looked like your typical top-down beat ‘em up, but as you dive deeper you start to see how engrossing it all is. Ape Out is a rhythm-infused brawler that incorporates dynamic jazz-inspired percussion to every beatdown you encounter throughout the game. It’s unlike anything we’ve experienced in a video game, so if you’re hungry for a new procedurally generated, action-packed, merciless ape-escape experience, then look no further than Ape Out.
What to Expect
If our previous paragraph didn’t entice you enough, there’s plenty more to be excited about. First off, Ape Out is available for both PC and Nintendo Switch, and while the PC version certainly performs slightly better, the Switch version is the quintessential go-to pick since you can take it with you on the go. Pommel guards into oblivion, use them as shields from incoming gunfire, all while this jazzy tune creates this flavorful ambience to give you a truly wild experience. While the gameplay provides a satisfying feel, it’s really the music that delivers and helps to sell the gameplay more in the end. There’s just something about smashing a body against the wall, only for the percussion to be perfectly synchronized the very moment they make impact. It’s funny, it’s outlandish, but most importantly it’s engaging. Not one moment are you ever feeling worn out by all of the action because every stage provides its own challenges, with guards becoming more strategic in their approach and you having to be more creative on the fly. We’ll dive more into the gameplay section later, but we hope this has given you a taste of what’s in store.
Visually, Ape Out is quite different since its focus isn’t to try and mesmerize you with flashy gimmicks and drawn out cutscenes. It’s very blunt and straight to the point, using sharp colors to emphasize the amount of brute power this ape has, especially when you smash guards against the wall and see them pop like when you hit an annoying mosquito on a hot summer afternoon. It’s ripe and full of vigor, simple yet articulate, and it executes it graciously with a smooth framerate that never drops from start to finish. It’s by no means a game changer but in motion it looks very seamless, and when accompanied by the incredible music selection, it meshes together beautifully. Even the small details like when the ape gets shot, and you see the trickle of blood trailing behind him in this very bright orangey color, really shows the devotion put into creating artistic piece of work.
You can clearly tell that a lot of emotion and energy was put into creating the sound aspects of the game, because quite honestly it’s what truly sells the game. We’re not saying that the gameplay is lackluster by any means, but when paired with the sharp and ear-piercing percussions and invigorating jazz-samples, Ape Out becomes a totally different beast. It’s as if the world was vividly imagined just through sound alone and then the team just plopped the ape in the game for more impact. Imagine if life were like that, where if let’s say you swiftly kicked someone in the back of the head and having this group of percussionists playing it all out like some sort of narrative. OK, we’re going a bit too far with the imagination, but you get what we mean. Ape Out delivers in this area brilliantly and doesn’t disappoint.
Ape Out is all about the escape and trying to avoid being hunted down by the guards that surround you. While it all sounds very straightforward on paper, there’s still an element of strategy that needs to be implemented in order to get the best experience out of the game. The first few stages were admittedly a bit easy, and we assume this is the case so that players can get accustomed to the gameplay without feeling too overwhelmed. However, things do start to go ape sh%$ when you’re introduced to new guards who have stronger guns, and you’ll need to react fast otherwise you’re red paint. It’s not just about crushing skulls and smashing windows, it’s also about being a tactician and knowing when to avoid enemy contact.
You can of course rambo your way through it all and call it a day, but sometimes the game will trap you and you’ll need to make sure your reactions are on point. Enemies don’t just stop and walk away after you’ve been seen; they will continue to hunt for you, so if you’re not careful you may run into someone and receive your death sentence. It’s all about balance and knowing when to approach and when to just simply run out of harm’s way, because ultimately the game is about escaping and not so much sending souls to the next dimension. Everything also is procedurally generated as we mentioned earlier, so every experience will be different every time you do succumb to your injuries.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
That’s the best part about Ape Out and why we highly recommend trying this game, because there’s never a time when things feel the same. Of course the gameplay remains intact, but not knowing what to expect every time you die is a thrill in of itself. You might think that one enemy is still in the same place as before, only to realize they’re gone and now your approach needs to change. That in itself is the fun aspect about Ape Out, so try it out and see how far you can go!
Amazing soundtrack that just keeps the energy flowing as you play.
Smashing guards to bits is very satisfying.
Lots to explore and discover since everything is procedurally generated (music and gameplay).
Smooth framerate from start to finish.
It would’ve been cool to add in some online features like leaderboards to entice players to see how far they can go.
The loading screen did take some time, which was unfortunate.
Ape color customization would’ve been cool too.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Despite the loading times and lack of online features, Ape Out is still a wild and fun single-player experience that’s fast-paced and rewarding. We do hope you found this review to be exciting read, and that you show your love by leaving a comment down below (or else we’ll bash your head against the wall!). All jokes aside, shoutouts to Devolver Digital for this opportunity and be sure to follow us along with Devolver Digital on social media! Until next time...
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!