Ape Out Distills Hotline Miami's Formula Down To A Violent Simplicity

Ape Out Distills Hotline Miami's Formula Down To A Violent Simplicity

When you strip away the guns and pixels, what you're left with is still a pretty good game.

On a surface level, Ape Out resembles an earlier Devolver Digital-published title, Hotline Miami. The game has the same top-down presentation and the same love of abstract hyper-violence. That's where the comparisons between Ape Out and Hotline Miami cease.

As the name suggests, in Ape Out you play a gorilla intent on securing their freedom from a lab. To do so, you have to plan a high-speed escape. There's only a few moves at your disposal: a vicious punch or a grab that allows you to use guards as human shields or throw them at other guards with violent force. Walls of glass can be busted through if you have enough momentum. You can also grab metal doors to use as an impromptu barrier against bullets or a battering ram.

In every level, you're immediately thrust into the fight, running headlong towards the right side of the screen and your freedom. You have to think on the fly, because unlike Hotline Miami, the levels are procedurally-generated from specific rooms; you die, you get a new configuration. Ape Out is all about improvising your tactics and attacks, because you never quite know what's going to be around the corner.

That improvisational feel extends to the rest of the game. Ape Out's soundtrack is all jazz, with drums, bass drums, and bongos tapping out the background track and every hit in the game punctuated by a crashing cymbal. The beat moves you forward, while feeling like a freewheeling band watching your every move. Everything in Ape Out is designed to make you change things up and decide on the fly, as opposed to the meticulous planning of Hotline Miami.

Ape Out is a minimalistic in its art style, all harsh blacks for the walls in your way, with splashes of white and other colors to denote the ape and his opponents. Upon death, the game zooms out and shows you the path you took through the level until this point. This isn't just a cool visualization, it also shows you the vague shape of the available rooms for your next run.

Unlike half of the game's I write about in preview form, you can actually play Ape Out right now. There's a demo available on Steam. Get out there and murder some hapless human guards!

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Related articles

A Fresh Look at New Super Mario Bros. U on Switch: Does it Measure Up to the Classics?

Where does New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe rank alongside Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World?

The State of Destiny 2 After Forsaken: A Game That Can't Shake Its Troubles

Forsaken was a solid start, but it wasn't enough to pull everyone back.

Sorry Pokemon Fans, Your Gold-Plated Cards from Burger King Aren't Worth Squat

Burger King's Pokemon cards from 1999 look kind of nice and they're fun to remember, but they're barely worth the cost of a milkshake.

You may also like

Press Start to Continue

A look back on what we tried to accomplish at USgamer, and the work still to be done.

Mat's Farewell | The Truth Has Not Vanished Into Darkness

This isn't the real ending, is it? Can't be.

Eric's Farewell | Off to Find a New Challenger

It's time for us to move on, but we'll carry USG with us wherever we go.