Every now and again a game comes around that is heard to write about, This could be because the game is different to the ones you normally play it could be a genre you haven’t tried before and you need to so some research before you play, it could be that your not very good at it and you want to get better, before putting words to a page or and this is the case with Ape Out:
Its so much damn fun to play. Its a real joy, every time I go to put pen to pad I think I will just take five minutes to reacquaint myself with the game, just to see if its as good as I remember and Surprise it is. Now I have spent a few lines going on about how good this game is I should really explain what it is:
Ape Out is at its very heart an arcade game with a very simple premise. You are an Ape, you have woken up in a gage and you must escape. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Each level, be that a lab an office block or corridor is stocked full of enemies, that you want nothing more than to make you an ex-Gorilla . Think Hotline Miami and your on the right track, just without the one hit and your dead rule. Ape out is a little more forgiving in that you are #given the ability to take three shots from enemies, with the standard guns, two from the enemies with machine guns and only one from the crazies with shotguns, the enemies who thought wearing an explosive vest to work are best avoided.
Now we have the basic premise out of the way lets run through the game itself, It is at its heart and as I have said before an old time arcade game one that would happily goble up all your quarters until there was nothing left – a simple, elegant concept strung out to the point of perfection. This is a game that can be played for minutes or hours. Where levels can be played again and again until levels you once stumbled through will soon give way to a feeling of zen like confidence as you glide around corners killing as many guards as you need to get to make the escape possible .With the game reminding you every now and again that the levels although very similar in layout are procedurally generated, never letting the player rest, always keeping you on your toes.
The controls and game play simply put are very basic and all the better for it they are very effective with movement handled by one joystick the other being used to help tug big gray metallic doors of walls, with the only other parts of the control scheme being the top two trigger buttons on the switch controller one used to toss your foes out of the way, the other trigger used to grab your foe and use them as a kind of human shield, this is a great way of getting through an otherwise difficult stretch of the game as once a goon as grabbed your newly aquaried will panic, and fire off a round of which ever gun thet happen to be holding and while this will have every grunt in the imeediate area running to see what all the noise was about it does help to thin out a crowd. With a shot from a hand gun, usally killing an enemy ts very helpful. Plus they can also take a shot saving one of your precious lives for when you really need it. Which brings me onto…
Lives You only live three times. That is you can only take three shots from the basic gun, two from a machine gun, one from a shotgun at close range, and an enemy will set you and anything near you on fire sending you and anyone in your vicinity running for cover.
Soundtrack I don’t think I would have played this game if wasn’t for its strange Jazz soundtrack. Ape Out does something I personally haven’t seen in many games before. The tempo rises with you. As you stride through the game, the soundtrack matches what you do, If you are hiding moving from cover to cover trying to find the way out the soundtrack is quite, playing softly in the back ground – not wishing to disturb you. If on the other hand your playing the game like Rambo with a death wish the soundtrack responds in the same way. It becomes more frenetic more intense, louder its madness matches you as you rip and tear through a level.
Longevity As I said previously this is a game that can be played for mere minutes or hours, It can be completed in only a few hours but, then then levels themselves change, the player is given a mode to play the game in hard mode or in a nod to its arcade origins an arcade mode where players are given one life and a time limit at the start of the game the objective being to see how many points you can get before you die or the time limit running out – the time limit is refreshed at the end of each level.
To put it simply Ape Out is one of the contenders for my game of the year, its fast kentic energy matched with a strange Jazz soundtrack has made for an endsleey enjoyable escape romp.
Played on the Nintendo Switch