I'm sure that most people, when sitting down to watch 2014's Whiplash, thought to themselves "I like this intense story about jazz drumming with that guy from those Spider-man films being very unpleasant, but it could really do with a murderous gorilla". Fortunately Ape Out combines the erratic delights of jazz and the gory abstract results of a rather large and angry ape escaping a facility and squishing people along the way.
Ape Out is split up into albums which are essentially different locations that your ape starts off in and violently escapes from. Along the way are various folk with weapons who'd rather you didn't go anywhere. They're quite delicate people however and a tap of RT usually results in them slamming against a wall in a shower of blood and body parts. The game is very abstract with block colours so the carnage never becomes too gruesome, although there is something macabre about smacking someone in their face with their former coworker's arm flung in their face.
Every slam, grab or burst of gunfire is accompanied by stings in the adaptive jazz soundtrack. The brief moments of quiet are punctuated with idling riffs, ticking away as you creep around corners before bursts in action drive the music forth once again. It creates satisfying feedback for the ebb and flow of the gameplay.
It has a remarkable art style, with bold colours and a grainy feel. The overhead perspective of the game gives an exaggerated feel to all the walls as though they stretch upwards indefinitely lending a claustrophobic feel to the rooms and corridors. There are sliding doors, glass to shatter and scenery to wrench off and use as shields.
You can use the various people as shields too if you want. Grabbing them with LT they'll fire their gun in fear and then provide useful cover for any incoming fire or as something useful to chuck at others. This is particularly handy when you encounter guards with flamethrowers or explosives where keeping your distance is preferable.
Should your enthusiasm for smashing your way through the levels overwhelm your caution and you take some damage you will drip a trail of orange blood through the level. Three hits and you'll die, the game pulling out to give you an overview of your path so far, often just making you realise how close you were to exiting. Fortunately, it's quick to restart and the game is split into bite-sized sections so you'll never suffer too harshly for failure.
Ape Out is a very stylish and moreish game. It's ideal for quick play sessions. Dropping in to smash through a few floors of a skyscraper when you have a couple of minutes to spare. The chunky graphics with huge bold lettering gives Ape Out an aesthetic not often seen in gaming. A short but perfectly formed experience, Ape Out is like a cathartic album that you put on when the mood takes you, spinning through a cacophony of limbs and percussion.