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The RPS Advent Calendar 2019, Dec 20th

Monkeyin' around

Welcome to day 20 of the RPS Advent Calendar! You're so close now. Can you hear the rumble of an approaching roast dinner? Oh, my mistake, I think that's actually the rumble of an approaching angry jazz band.

It's Ape Out!

Alice Bee: I first played Ape Out at Gamescom last year, and, as it if were a puppy in a grim pet shop in a shopping centre complex, I was sad I couldn't take it home then and there. When I saw it again at PAX South, I hung around the booth for almost an hour, exhorting other attendees to pick up the controller to have a go. So, disclosure: I accidentally did some unpaid PR-ing for Ape Out.

In Ape Out, you are an ape, and you have broken out. You rampage through a military base, a science facility, an office block (which for some reason has stored a furious gorilla on the top floor). And, to the frenetic crashes of a procedural jazz drumming track created by Matt Boch, you get... even more out.

Crash from one side of the screen to the other to escape. Splash men across the walls and floor. Evade their rockets and their machine guns. The controls are move, grab and shove - shove with your meaty, shovel-sized hands. It is a riot of colour and music, and also just a regular riot.

The simplest and best endorsement I can give Ape out is that I have never before played a game that so completely achieves everything it sets out to do.

Dave: Like a lot of the games I've loved this year, this is one I first saw courtesy of another member of the RPS treehouse. I watched Alice Bee shove a fella with a gun out of a window, and I knew I had to play it for myself.

But the game is so much more than drums and impromptu rage. It's also intense in a way few games manage to be with any consistency. One wrongly timed shove is all it takes for an enemy to finally take you down. While your gorilla can take a few shots from most guns, they're not invincible, and will soon be painting the floor with blood - the bigger the orange juice coloured trail is, the closer to death you are.

When you do eventually succumb to the gunfire, the camera zooms out to show you the progress you made in that level. It encourages that "one more turn" mentality that seasoned Civilization players know all too well.

The RPS video team played Ape Out early in the year and it's still one of my favourite videos they've ever done. The absolute carnage, supplemented by the angry drum solos and with Matthew Castle pleading for a guy with a shotgun to "Get through that window, you dirty boy". Perfection, surely?

Looking for a different door? Head back to the RPS Advent Calendar 2019!

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