Ape Out Preview: Harambe’s Revenge
Greg Johnson / Sep 21st, 2017 No Comments
I never thought I needed to be a giant gorilla escaping from a military compound until I played Ape Out at PAX West 2017.
From developer Gabe Cuzzillo, Ape Out is a straightforward top-down game with a visceral art style and an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack.
Not Trapped in Here With You
The goal of Ape Out is to escape the military compound, leaving a bloodbath behind you. There are plenty of gun-wielding enemies trying to prevent you from breaking free. Your job is to take them out by killing them.
The demo version I played at PAX West ran on PC but I used a gamepad to play it. The joystick is used for movement and clicking the left/right triggers results in punching/grabbing enemies or other objects in your path. This is a simple control scheme that makes sense. It’s the gameplay that provides the real challenge.
The compound is broken up into different levels where players must use a combination of full-on aggression and strategy to pass. Enemies easily outnumber the playable character, but to balance things out, they can be dispatched with a single hit.
However, the playable gorilla is also somewhat squishy. Enemies have access to a variety of gun types, including flamethrowers, so they can take out the gorilla if you aren’t careful. During the demo, I realized that I could look around corners to get the drop on groups of enemies. If enemies were close, I knew I could be aggressive and take them down. But a more stealthy approach is required when opponents are separated from each other.
Sneaking around not only involves moving slowly so the guards can’t hear you, but also killing the lights so enemies need to use flashlights to see you. Don’t expect to be Solid Snake or anything, but these stealth sections of gameplay have enough complexity to work.
Levels are procedurally generated, so no level will ever be the same. While I was playing the demo, even the developers had no idea what was lurking around each corner.
Overall, combat is fast paced, even during stealth sections, and intensely rewarding.
Ape Out is a highly artistic, beautiful game. The visuals are minimalist, yet gorgeous, and the action is depicted in a brutal way. The unique presentation blends well with the game’s bizarre concept, and the soundtrack further hammers home this point.
The music is rhythmic jazz that gives the game a jungle vibe even in the government compound. Crashing cymbals delivered with every hit heightens the adrenaline in the perfect way.
Rarely does a soundtrack elevate the gameplay experience in the way it does in Ape Out.
Get That Ape
Ape Out is currently in its final stages of development. The demo, which is available for anyone to play on Steam, is a near complete version of the game, but developers told me it barely scratches the surface in terms of the game’s length.
The game is expected to release in 2017 for PC and consoles.
tags: Ape Out , Ape Out Demo , Ape Out Preview , Gabe Cuzzillo , PAX , PAX West 2017 , preview