Ape Out

Ape Out Review

Meet Donkey Kong's violent cousin

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

ESRB Teen rating

Apes sure don't like being held captive so let's see what it's like to play as one who desperately fights for its freedom.

Ape Out screenshot 1
I thought it was called Ape Out...

Ape Out is a highly stylized game where you play as an orange ape within a variety of structures that are divided into stages. The goal of each structure is to simply escape but doing so will require a lot of violence as you shove enemy guards into walls which makes them pop like blood piñatas. Controlling the ape is simple as all you do is run around, tap a shoulder button to shove, and hold another shoulder button to grab guards and interactive objects. This may sound simple and it generally is but the amount of gimmicks that slowly get introduced is substantial and definitely helps add some diversity to the gameplay. For example, you'll find yourself navigating through dark hallways where you can only see the guards' flashlights and you'll have to rip off certain walls in order to progress while ensuring that no guards sneak up on you from behind. It's definitely action-packed and it plays super-tight, too.

The most unique part about Ape Out is its graphics and sound. For starters, the visuals merely consist of simply coloured environments with minimal textures while enemies and the ape are brightly monochrome which makes them pop off the backgrounds. Also, you can only see what the ape can potentially see so if you hide behind a wall then you won't be able to notice guards on the other side of it. That is, unless they're shining a flashlight. Anyway, the music primarily consists of wild jazz percussion that goes with the gameplay. Hearing it intensify as you confront enemies then quiet down while you sneak around is just awesome. I would have loved to hear more instruments like flutes, trumpets, clarinets, and whatnot but it's still a fantastic soundscape nonetheless.

Ape Out screenshot 2
I wonder how much condo fees the ape pays for such a nice place

Although it sounds great, Ape Out is a short game and if you're skilled enough, you can easily complete it within an hour and a half to 2 hours. Upon completing the first disc (which is a group of stages set in a particular structure), you'll unlock the level select menu along with Arcade Mode where you have a time limit as well as a scoring system. This is a welcome extra for sure but by the time I completed the game, I really couldn't care less about diving back in and trying to get high scores. Because of this, the replay value is minimal.

That leads me to my next point; Ape Out certainly doesn't have much longevity gameplay-wise. By this, I mean that shortly into the 2nd disc, everything started to feel very samey and boring. Unfortunately, that feeling didn't go away until I completed the campaign and by then, I realised that Ape Out is quite a short-lived novelty. That being said, it does provide a ton of fun for the short while that it lasts so if you're looking for a bite-sized action-packed game to play for a couple of hours then you won't be disappointed.

Ape Out screenshot 3
Game over screens don't get much cleverer than this!

Even though Ape Out is undeniably a top-notch production with its graphics and sound, its gameplay is disappointingly short-lived, especially after the novelty of it all starts to subside.

  • + Tight action-packed overhead gameplay with some cool gimmicks
  • + Awesome visual style and music
  • + Arcade mode is a neat addition
  • - Gameplay becomes kind of boring after the novelty wears off
  • - Very short 2 hour long campaign
  • - Minimal replay value
7.2 out of 10
Gameplay video for Ape Out 4:12
Bomberman Trivia

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