The evolution of the indie game has led developers to create truly unique and simple games. One of the latest games from publisher Devolver Digital, Ape Out, is the perfect example of how an indie game can stand out in a market full of titles thanks to the style and challenge that it brings to players.
Ape Out is simplistic in the story as it is in gameplay. No words are spoken and we are left to assume what drove this ape to exact bloody revenge on his captors. Was he or she tortured? Was a mate killed (which is certainly implied right at the beginning of the game)? Did he or she seek to return home to family and escape the concrete jungle? I’m not really sure. All I know is this ape will do anything to escape his imprisonment.
The gameplay is very simple, yet hard to master. You move along each procedurally generated level and try to move from point A to point B. This can be easier said than done, thanks to the multitude of armed guards surrounding you. The guards have automatic weapons, shotguns, and explosives that make life hell. Your basic attack is to pound the guards into a messy pool of blood. This was my go-to attack early on, but tactics need to be adjusted when more and more guards would appear. Your best move is to take a human shield. When you hold a human, they automatically shoot their weapon, which can clear out enemies. Or, you can launch them across the room with your brute ape strength and take out guards from a distance. Either way, your mission is to do whatever it takes to escape.
The part that is difficult to master is the strategy aspect of the game. I found myself trying all kinds of things which ended up with my untimely death. The ape does not move very fast, so there are some moments where you can’t outrun the enemy. The procedurally generated levels can create chokepoints or areas to hide in. This can be troublesome to master when you are swarmed by guards. Again, the game is simple to play but takes time to master the perfect strategy and escape plan.
One gameplay aspect that helps is the map reveal when you die. After your death, the camera zooms out to reveal the path to the end of the level. This helped me immensely when I was trying to strategize and complete levels. It also shows the path that you took before your death. I found this reveal to be quite entertaining since it revealed my moments of sheer panic and my innate ability to avoid the best possible path.
If the premise and challenge don’t convince you to pick up Ape Out, then the visuals and soundtrack will. This game has so much style thanks to the bold colors and unique, static like visuals. The colors just pop on the screen, especially the red when you demolish enemies. And while the visuals look really unique and cool, the audio is even better. As you may have heard, Ape Out uses a reactive drum soundtrack that changes depending on your movements and kills. The use of cymbals with every death just drives you to keep going and gives the soundtrack a jazzy feel.
Ape Out offers a simple, yet stylistic experience that will keep you occupied and entertained for hours. It stands out as a truly unique indie game that you don’t want to miss. The challenge speaks for itself and is a real visual and audio treat.
Ape Out is out now on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Procedurally generated levels
Incredible visuals and soundtrack
Very hard to master