Game Review #167: Ape Out (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo, Bennett Foddy and Matt Boch
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Category: Action, Arcade, Fighting, Adventure
Release Date: 02.28.2019
Price (at time of review): $14.99
Buy Ape Out from the Nintendo eShop here.
This Is No Monkey Business
One of my all-time favorite movie trilogies is the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War of the Planet of the Apes). I became extremely captivated by the story of Caesar and his journey to freedom. During the first installment, at the climax of the film, the Apes escape from captivity and it is pure madness. I wondered what it would be like to be working that day when it all went down, turning the corner and seeing a 500lb gorilla coming at me going 25mph. Why be the man when you can be the Ape?! That’s the question that developers Gabe Cuzzillo, Bennett Foddy, and Matt Boch have presented with Ape Out, as they allow you to become this beautifully ferocious creature while it is time for him to escape. The developers not only took this idea and brought it to life, they applied multiple elements that had me excited to jump in and get to smashing things.
One Banana, Two Banana, Punch!
Like most things with Ape Out, the premise is simple and straightforward. You’re a gorilla held in captivity and being experimented on, until the day comes that you decide to smash out and make your escape. As you make your way through the corridors to escape the facility you will meet opposition in the way of armed bad guys, but you’re a hulking ape and they’re standing in the way of your freedom, so do the math... You use the left stick to move around, and when you push in a direction with any free space, the ape will pick up speed quite quickly. From here you have only two buttons to use, ZR to push, punch, or launch, and ZL to grab. Like I stated before and will continue to state, the beauty is in the simplicity of everything surrounding the project. The controls felt tight and precise with the control of the ape completely in my hands. I felt like I was this creature, running at full speed and slamming enemies around.
Audio & Visuals
I usually do this second to last, but I really want to speak on this before we get into the fun factor and wrap up. First off, the art style in the game is done with a bold, colorful art style, and the camera is angled top down as a bird’s eye view. You will go from corridors with tight spaces, to large open areas where you have to outsmart your enemies, with the colors changing extremely quickly at the drop of a dime, like the blood splattering from red blood to a bright white to show contrast.
The soundtrack is one of the main characters. It was something I fell in love with, as the developers melded extreme action and violence with beautiful fast-paced jazz music. You’ll hear cymbals or drums smash down when you slam a bad guy against a wall, watching him literally burst into pieces. My heart would race when the colors would change as I’m rushing a hallway, and the drums would rally like a drum line with horns blasting.
Mighty Joe Young Is Really Pissed Off
I can’t tell you enough how much fun I had with this brilliantly simplistic game. I felt that just when I knew what the game was doing it would change things up, with the bad guys becoming bigger, stronger, or more powerful, but even more so with the levels’ art designs changing that would constantly have me accessing how to approach the level. This, accompanied with the amazing jazz soundtrack, would have my pulse pounding and a smile painted on my face.
One genius touch is that each world/act/stage was laid out as a jazz album, with every level having title names like track listings on a jazz album. Each album/world would consist of 4 levels/tracks on one side, then, like a vinyl album, you’d flip it to the other side and the next 4 levels/tracks would play out. Once you finish a world/album, you can play it back in arcade mode, and with harder difficulty.
It’s a Wrap!!!
Ape Out is a rush like I’ve never experienced before. The daringly bold art style mixed with beautiful jazz as you dismember and flee to freedom is a show of masterclass by a group of indie developers that should be on everyone’s radar. Buy this game now and thank me later; and double dip when it becomes physical, because with a title this damn good, like its protagonist, it can’t be contained!
Buy Ape Out from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Tinsley PR