Title: APE OUT
Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo
Release Date: February 28, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Devolver Digital
The infinite monkey theorem states: should an infinite number of monkeys type on an infinite number of typewriter keyboards for an infinite amount of time, they will eventually type every possible finite text an infinite number of times. Similarly, should a single ape with an infinite number of lives be given an infinite amount of escape attempts over an infinite amount of time, it will eventually be able to escape the confines where it is being held captive. The latter can be proven by Devolver Digital’s latest published high-octane action game APE OUT.
Devolver Digital calls APE OUT “a wildly intense and colorfully stylized smash ‘em up about primal escape, rhythmic violence, and frenetic jazz,” and to be honest I think that describes the game perfectly. In APE OUT, the player controls a captured ape that breaks free from its cage and starts rampaging about as it tries to escape the building it is being held in.
With a combination of wit, force, and quick timing, the player must make their way through randomly generated maps while fighting armed enemies who are attempting to shoot the ape. On top of it all, the game has rhythmic drumming and cymbal crashes that accompany the player’s actions along the way which ends up adding to the intensity and franticness of it all.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to APE OUT, and there is beauty in its minimalist approach. Combat consists of either pushing an enemy or throwing an enemy which allowed me to focus more on sudden enemy appearances and quickly react to them. There are a variety of enemies such as snipers, shotgun wielders and bomb throwers. One of the greatest features in APE OUT is how enemies can all be utilized in different ways. During gameplay, players can strategically plan whether to attack or defend themselves during the escape. I found myself more focused on the appearance of enemies so that I could plan out the best approach.
Any given run would have me thinking about how not only to react to the threat of enemies attacking me but also how I can use them to attack another enemy. This layer of strategy added a good depth to the game and I found myself more immersed because of it. It was exciting to see what enemies I might find when turning to round a corner and it was extremely satisfying when I was able to react quickly and combo while utilizing some cool attacks and defenses moves.
However, that’s not all since another thing that I really liked about APE OUT is how it handles failure. You see, I died a lot of times during my many playthroughs, but I never felt frustrated or discouraged. This has a lot to do with the fact that the game shows a map of the level upon death. This ultimately allowed me to see a white trail indicating how I went about navigating the procedurally generated map, which allowed me to see where I was in relation to the goal location for the level. This ended up encouraging me because I was able to see how far I was able to progress each attempt and this also made me feel like the next attempt would get me to the end of the level. Being that the maps are randomly generated to an extent, each subsequent attempt still offered an unknown challenge which kept each playthrough fresh.
Music is a central theme to this crazy people throwing monkey game. Each stage is illustrated by a vinyl cover with its own unique album art, and each stage is separated by a Side A and Side B. The game’s soundtrack, which features a variety of drumming and cymbal crashes, added a lot to my experience with the game. Whenever I broke glass or threw an enemy into an obstacle, a symbol crash would play on top of the intense drum beats playing in the background. This made my actions feel more rhythmic and I felt like I was participating in a jazz jam session at the same time I was brutally causing my enemies limbs to explode everywhere.
Overall, I absolutely loved my time with APE OUT. From its art style to its tight gameplay and catchy soundtrack, APE OUT is a game that I think a lot of people would enjoy. It’s easy to pick up and play but offers enough of a challenge to warrant continuous play. The game consistently adds surprises around every corner with new enemies and new ways to use the Ape’s abilities.
Sadly, it may not appeal to those who don’t enjoy high adrenaline games such as Hotline Miami, but I personally think this is a perfect addition to your gaming library. I found myself constantly returning to the game in short and long bursts and was left satisfied each time. APE OUT took me by surprise but also showed me just how fun a game can be when it has an addictive game loop and a fluid control scheme that never lets the player down. Now, I think it’s time I get back to perfecting my escape techniques.
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