Developer Gabe Cuzzillo, with Bennett Foddy on art and Matt Boch on audio, brings us a brutal top down smash-up of an ape making their grand escape out of whatever human confines that kept them against their will. Flex your King Kong muscles and get ready to get in touch with your primal rage as there’s only one way to go–out!
Greeted with a highly stylistic and colourful introduction, there is something very primal in the way that Ape Out presents itself. As manic, yet simple load screens gear you for the big show, you find yourself getting more and more amped up to really embody this run-away ape. Seeing in only colour blocks, Ape Out does a wonderful job at taking an artistic jab at what it might be like to be an ape that’s reached the red mist. Time to bust out and be free!
Watch the Ape Out launch trailer below:
The gameplay is easy to learn and relatively simple to perform. Two mouse buttons are your main form of offense and defense–you’re able to push the bodies that come at you and with the other, grab and hold a hostage. A few interesting flourishes on this too; with the grabbing, you’ll be able to grab slabs and hold them as a makeshift riot shield, not to mention some of the hostages you take will wildly fire their guns to your benefit. As if sending guards into a wall with a splat wasn’t satisfying enough, these extra tidbits will get your style working a treat.
Progressing through your escape you might find that the simple smash and grab isn’t enough to jump ship successfully. This is where Ape Out gets a bit tricky, but finds it’s feet with depth to the gameplay. The levels are arranged in maze-like patterns, showing you the full map after you die. You can go a number of different ways through, but with increasing difficultly, you’ll have to start strategising on the fly and invoke a bit of cleverness to weave through and destroy. I found that my demise was often caused by the slowing of my own momentum, which is fitting with the jazz soundtrack desperately trying to move you along.
View some Ape Out screenshots in our gallery:
No doubt it will be compared to Hotline Miami for a number of reasons, but the one that stands out the most in my mind is the top down aspect. Yes, it does move a bit like that with WASD being your mainstay and mouse as your sidekick, but your ape’s turn sensitivity isn’t as plucky as Biker’s. Instead, you’ll have more of a tank control-like pivot that, in the heat of the moment, could very well let you down if you’re not keen to it. If you’re a Hotline Miami veteran, you’ll find that you’ll quickly have to adjust to this deliberate movement, and in that moment it should dawn what sets the two games apart to make them uniquely fun on their own merit.
Ape Out is a wild, naughty ride from start to finish that will no doubt get the blood flowing and brain working. Do not be fooled by it’s unassuming simplicity in screenshots; this one has a difficulty that will give your fingers a workout and quite possibly your table a good flipping that would leave a rabid Donkey Kong proud.
Ape Out was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: Devolver Digital Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo Release Date: February 28th, 2019 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: Nintendo Switch