This title was reviewed on PC but is also available on Nintendo Switch.
APE OUT is a recently released smash ‘em up game crafted by Gabe Guzzillo and published by the famous Devolver Digital. Amongst the clutter of bright, vibrant colours, a violent yet, somewhat beautiful game will emerge to greet you. Your goal? Smash. How do you get there? Smash. But is there more to it? Let’s just see…
APE OUT has, like all smash ‘em up games, a pretty simple concept to grasp. Find things to smash, and smash them. So in that sense, it’s not overly different from others in the scene. In this violent landscape of colours, you are an ape and have been captured by humans. You are now trying to escape, and in order to do that, you need to fight your way out of this maze of humans. You can smash, grab, throw and just about do anything you can to survive. The way you make your way through each level is entirely up to you. Do you wanna try be fast and stealthy? Or, do you wanna smash everyone in sight? Each tactic comes embellished with it’s own unique pros and cons and works for different people. There’s one catch to this murderous adventure though, these captors of yours just so happen to have guns. Lots of guns… and explosives. Pretty gnarly.
The game thrives on addiction, it feeds off of your drive to get back up on your feet after you die, and you WILL die. So it’s got that going for it, but where it lacks, for me anyways, is in how much of that repetition any person can take. I mean there are changes and new challenges to take on, but it can, like many of the games in this genre, become a bit tedious and rage inducing.
All in all though, it has an overall sense of what it is. Now, I’m not gonna get all philosophical on you, but it is nice to play a game that doesn’t try to be anything else other than what it is. If you are gonna invest hours into a game like this you’ll likely know that there isn’t a lot of depth to it. Players of these games, splash out hours of their time to feel that little ten second rush of completing a level. Making through that final hurdle. For some people, that’s enough to keep them going.
When you first launch APE OUT, you are met with an array of neon colours against a dark background. The humans are bright white, while you, as the gorilla, are a bold orange and your blood is orange. This creates quite an outstanding backdrop for the game. Layers upon layers of neon colours contrasting against dark walls and objects. It’s quite alarming at first, however, it’s also quite unique and the colours make the non stop massacring, not so… massacre-y? Which helps you to not feel overwhelmed at the fact you’re killing hundreds of people. Always look at the bright side right?
To be fair to myself, I won’t lie and say I love it. To be honest, it’s quite weird. But it leaves a mark, and when you have a simple game like this, you need some things to help it stand out. Every little bit matters.
You control your gorilla from an aerial view, looking down on the action. This is quite helpful as it provides enough of a view of the coming paths so you can make semi-decent judgment calls at which path to take. The movement and various throwing and punching mechanics work instantly. This is good, because in a game like this, when you’re swarmed with people trying to kill you, the last thing you wanna do is worry about the mechanics slowing you down. It’s also a very simple layout, controls wise. You can move, look around, punch, and grab. Not much else to it. Which i personally like in a game like this. When you are dying over and over again, you want to be able to reset quickly, ready to go again, not have to refresh on what button does what.
The sound is a massive part of this game. The music that weaves its way throughout the soundscape of the game really drives home a tribal feel. It’s labeled as jazz, but, it really can be anything, it’s quite energetic and entertaining to listen to. Along with that, there are crashes and bangs every time the gorilla (you) smash a human. Which is a nice touch to add a little bit of impact. To be honest, this has probably one of the most intricate and entertaining pieces of music I have ever head in a smash ‘em up game. Kudos to them.
Look, I can see why people will like APE OUT . ‘Smash ‘em up’ is a very simple idea that many, many people really like, and old mate Gabe Guzzillo played into that idea well and racked up quite an audience. It’s got a unique look and isn’t hard to play, but I can’t leave it there. It’s not a game that I would pay for. It reminds me, somewhat, of playing free online games back in 2010. It’s fun and you can definitely spend some time on it, but, for me, there’s just not enough interest to keep me coming back.