Ape Escape PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Sony Computer Entertainment Japan – Genre – Action – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

The original Ape Escape was the first PlayStation 1 game to be specifically created with the DualShock in mind, and it really displayed the advantage that dual analogue sticks had over a simple D-pad. After a long hiatus the series is back and this time around supports Move, so from a control standpoint, it’s easy to expect something special, given the history of the series.

Whilst the series was typically a platformer, Ape Escape (that is indeed its name and, no, it’s not a remake, far from it in fact) is still all about catching monkeys, though this time around is an on-rails game that is a cuter and more colourful take on the once popular lightgun genre.

Each level is split into phases. You’ll move around a predetermined path, destroying obstacles and collecting bananas and when you come across those damn monkeys, the capture phase begins, tasking you with using your net to capture the approaching simians, before they’re able to steal your bananas, which act as your health.

The controls on the whole are functional enough, but surprisingly don’t really tax Move in any serious way.  It makes good use of the pointer capability and there’s plenty of wild shaking, but it hardly shows off the advanced capabilities of Move in the way that you would expect it to.

As is typical for the series, you’ll have a number of gadgets besides the net that you’re able to employ based on the situation. There’s a slingshot that you can shoot out of reach bananas and dangerous obstacles with and, if the situation demands it, you’re also able to stun monkeys with it to give you some breathing room. There’s also a fan, which can similarly stun the cheeky chimps, but is also useful to destroy close range objects and blow projectiles back towards enemies.

The more powerful equipment consists of a Hoover which allows you to suck monkeys up, as well as a transmuter gun, which transforms objects into bananas. These require a battery, but are a godsend when the screen is filled with monkeys and other objects.

You’ll possess all equipment from the start, so you’ll never have the prospect of looking forward to getting your hands on a new tool, and series devotees will be disappointed at how sparse your overall arsenal is.

There are just 15 relatively short stages on offer, though the addition of a scoring system will be an attractive lure to have some – as they strive for betterment – returning incessantly, and the online leaderboards will be even more of a reason for such people to do so.

There’s also a monkeypedia, of which has the potential to grant a lot of longevity to the game. It documents all of your captured monkeys and some will enjoy their efforts at attempting to completely fill it.

Another way to extend the longevity of the game is the mini games. Whilst, the fact that the primary mode doesn’t offer multiplayer is strange to say the very least, the mini games however do. There are only three, though, and they only offer limited fun, and I can’t imagine many people playing them more than once or twice, before never returning to them ever again.

Ape Escape is likely to be disappointing to series fans that are looking for a game that is mechanically reminiscent of the primary games. It doesn’t do many interesting things with Move either, nor does it show the series in its best light, but it’s still an adequate and enjoyable alternate take on the franchise that, despite of its budget price and because of its slender level of content, would have been more at home as an even lower priced PlayStation Network game.