Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for almost two decades now and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers
With Ape Out developer Gabe Cuzzillo has created a violent, 70s style, jazzy, puzzle smash ‘m up. Not a perfect game but no monkey business either; check out why you need to play this game.
Look & Feel
Every level is randomly generated, although there are certain bottlenecks between different areas that give each level its own touch. That can be specific doors that remain standing or gigantic corridors with exits where you have to rage through. In addition to the predetermined pieces and the recognisable feeling that they give each level, the rooms themselves are shaken with each new attempt. The use of the bird’s eye view also means that it is more difficult to see where enemies come from and therefore you never really feel safe in the area. The places where guards stand are also changing, giving it a somewhat new experience every time.
You as an unnamed monkey and jazz lover apparently find yourself in one of the most heavily armed animal testing facilities ever. With a top-down gameplay style, reminiscent of Devolver Digital‘s Hotline Miami, you have to use the environment to your advantage as you go through hordes of guards who want to take you out. The violence is somewhat undermined by the bright color palette and the use of visual filters that create atmosphere. Of course there is also the dynamic soundtrack, which makes your actions on the screen also heard in the percussion jazz tunes.
Pace and Progress
Your progress will be rewarded if you reach the end of a level. A moment where you can release a sigh of relief, especially if you have been struggling with a certain area. An example where we got sweaty hands was a section where we had to tear out a door and use it as a shield against the bullets of the soldiers on the other side. You do not die by one bullet, but you cannot collect a lot and that shows by leaving a pinkish trail on the floor.
Ape Out is gradually becoming more complicated thanks to quickly introduced new game play mechanics. As you progress you will encounter new opponents, where standard soldiers are assisted by guards with shotguns, and later also explosive bombers. When you have completed the first world you will find yourself in a new setting. A building which you have to descend and deal with light-footed gunmen and SWAT breaking through windows. There are in fact four chapters to play through, including one that takes place on a cargo ship and another that takes place outside. Each adds new elements such as opponents with flame throwers and more environmental hazards.
Depending on your skills, it takes about three hours to complete all chapters, but then you can play them again in Arcade mode. Here you get points for each level based on the time it takes and the number of guards you disable. There is also an option to play ‘Break In’, where you have to break in at the facility where it all started. Finally, you can also play all levels at a higher level of difficulty and that provides the necessary replayability.
Like an Ape who needs his Bananas
Our only point of criticism is that a little more depth should have been added, especially towards the end. It’s a lot of fun to make your way through the levels, to use guards as grenades and to leave a trail of chaos and destruction everywhere. But more interactivity with the environment would certainly not have been out of place as the final levels made the game more interesting. Apart from this minor flaw, Ape Out is very fascinating and compelling. Maybe at a later date we hope to see a co-op mode added, to give Donkey his Diddy and smash in tandem.
We failed to put our Switch away several times, because we just had to try it “one more time”. The gameplay is immersive thanks to the satisfying physics and precise controls. And the dynamic soundtrack and lively visual style are a feast for the eyes and ears. In our opinion if you like frenzic action, you have to try this very attractive indie title!