Video game review number two hundred and fifty four in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Ape Escape: On the Loose"
I played this game under what are quite possibly some of the best conditions one can play a PSP game in. I was home sick from work, stuck in my bed, and nothing good was on TV. I didn't feel like going to the couch to play one of my console games, so a PSP game sounded very nice. One that is completely centered around catching monkeys didn't sound terrible to me, so I booted up Ape Escape.
Right off the bat, this game is incredibly Japanese. It starts out with an opening cinematic that is probably only familiar to folks who have previously played the series (I have not). It didn't make much sense, but it was cute enough...and I could follow the basic premise: The Monkeys, they are on the loose. Go catch them.
I met some professor and he introduced me to the tools I'd be using to catch the monkeys. I had a net, a monkey "whacking" stick, and an underwater net. Cool. I set out to catch my first monkey.
The monkeys have sirens on their heads that activate when you get to close. I imagine this is not a factory installed feature, because I've never seen a monkey with a siren before. I've heard monkeys that sound like sirens, so maybe Monkeys only wear them every once in awhile, when we aren't looking.
Anyway...I was able to catch monkeys on land, under water....and even once in mid-air. These monkeys are no match for me. Hitting them with the stick slows them down, and then all you have to do is net them. Rinse and repeat.
Unfortunately, that's pretty much all there is to this game. The monkeys run from you, you chase them and catch them. The graphics, and the gameplay remind me a lot of these stupid rabbits you had to catch in Super Mario 64. You'd chase them all over the place, and they'd eventually give you a star or something. Ape Escape is exactly like that. I needed to play only three or four levels before I was done with it.
Overall Score? 4/10. I've played much better games on the PSP lately. Loco Roco anyone? If I may adapt an old expression, one thing is for sure: This game is less fun than a barrel of monkeys.
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