If you've seen any nature documentaries on gorillas, you'll know that these majestic creatures are one of the closest genetic relatives to humans. You'll also know that despite being primarily herbivores, gorillas can be very fearsome and easily destroy you if they want. Despite this, there are people out there that gladly capture such creatures and use them for research. Do we really need the answers to their questions? The world will live without knowing "Will our new eyeliner give our customers horrible rashes?" and "How would a gorilla react if I poked it with a ruler?"
In Devolver Digital's Ape Out, you take on the role of one of these creatures. You smash your way through various environments, brutally crushing anyone who gets in your way. This short but sweet game has you barreling through the opposition and even turning their own weapons against them. All while the jazzy percussion and stylish yet simple graphics fuel the fun.
The story of Ape Out is a very simple one. You control an average 500-pound gorilla. However, humans have captured you in a variety of locales. This imprisonment infringes upon the gorilla's nature-given right to sleep wherever it wants. In order to rectify this, you have to break out of your imprisonment and punish your captors the only way an angry gorilla can. By turning them into a fine, meaty paste.
Ape Out's gameplay is pretty simple. You have to get from one side of a stage to the other while dealing with various guards in your path. You can slam folks in your path, sending them flying and making a fine mess if they hit a wall or another person. In addition, you can grab people or their remains to use them as a shield against your gun-toting adversaries. This gets even more interesting when you find that grabbing people allows you to overpower them. You can then make them fire their weapon at their friends. As for health, you get three hits before you go down, although explosions take you right out.
You might think that basic setup gets boring after a while. However, Ape Out manages to keep the formula fresh by frequently introducing new elements and changing up the environments. In fact, it feels like something new occurs in every stage. Whether it's new enemies with new weapons or major environmental changes, Ape Out manages to keep players on their toes. Even the final stage introduces a bevy of new and interesting features. It only takes a bit over two hours to complete on the regular difficulty, which helps keep things from feeling stale. I do wish that the later mechanics, especially those in the final stage, got more time in the limelight.
A big draw to Ape Out is its complete dedication to its chosen aesthetic. The entire game consists of solid colors that are low on details but high in style. It's an extremely distinct aesthetic that just grabs your attention and looks fantastic. The soundtrack takes inspiration from jazz music, most notably its drums. Whenever you first kill someone, cymbals crash. The music then kicks into a dynamic high-energy percussive soundtrack that reacts based on what happens in-game.
These tunes always manage to be toe-tapping and really get you in the mood to clobber some enemies. In a neat aesthetic choice, the game's jazz themes apply to the levels as well. Each world is a called a Disc, each one representing a different environment to escape, with individual stages being dubbed Tracks. When you reach a world's halfway point, there's a brief cooldown period where the "record" switches from Side A to Side B.
Honestly, the only issues I noticed involved a certain enemy and some AI issues. An enemy you first encounter in the third Album uses a flamethrower. The problem is that the hitbox for his weapon seems very inconsistent and hard to judge. You can sometimes charge through the flames and take no damage. Other times, it does do damage. Speaking of fire, enemies will keep their distance from you if you get set on fire. On the other hand, they'll gladly wander into oil puddles that have been set on fire. Other than a few other minor AI hiccups, there isn't much else to report.
Ape Out is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, even when they're on their best behavior and not attacking people. The fluid, pulse-pounding action and the stylish aesthetic combine to make something highly memorable. The experience isn't very long, but it's actually a fine length that keeps Ape Out from overstaying its welcome. When it comes to monkey-based games, Ape Out easily earns the rights to sleep wherever it wants.
TechRaptor reviewed Ape Out on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Stylized And Memorable Aesthetic
- Extremely Catchy Soundtrack
- Fun, Fast-Paced Gameplay
- Doesn't Overstay Its Welcome
- Sometimes Iffy Enemy AI
- Some Might Find It Too Short