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I was listening to The Exploding Barrel Podcast this week, which GamesBeat reviews editor Mike Minotti hosts, when they started talking about how the news around gaming is often a buzzkill. Between lay offs, crunch, and 8Chan, controversy has tainted a lot of this hobby.

It also feels like gaming no longer has any lulls. We’ve had nonstop huge games since last summer. Just throughout February, publishers launched Apex Legends, Metro Exodus, Anthem, Far Cry: New Dawn, and plenty of others.

And the thing about the bummer news and the constant onslaught of releases is that I don’t want a break from games. Sure, I wish I had more time to read and workout, but I’ve already cut out television and it takes me four days to watch a movie now.

So for me, what I need more than anything right now is a game that can wipe everything else from my mind. And by some miracle, publisher Devolver Digital and developers Gabe Cuzzillo, Bennett Foddy, and Matt Boch released Ape Out today.


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Ape Out is a good video game

Ape Out is exactly the kind of game that I need right now. It has you playing as a gorilla trying to escape from various scenarios. The top-down action features some heavily stylized art and an intense jazz score with dynamic percussion that changes depending on how you play.

It’s fun, simple, and light. It puts you immediately into the action where you are crushing guards and throwing them into each other. The abstract aesthetic enables the developers to drench the levels in blood. These mercenaries are waiting for you to pop them until they burst into a red, wet puddle. It is some deeply satisfying violence.

Ape Out only uses two buttons. You can grab or you can smash. It is a smash-and-grab simulator. And as someone who isn’t sleeping much, it’s great to play something that rewards action over thinking. In most situations, I have a better chance of surviving if I play decisively. And that’s about all I’m capable of these days.

And then I’m pretty confident in playing games from Devolver Digital and Bennett Foddy (I’m unfamiliar with Cuzzillo and Boch). Devolver hasn’t laid off 800 people after a record fiscal quarter. Foddy doesn’t have a culture of mistreating women. And they’re not going to post about “lolis” and “alien prostitutes” on 8Chan.

Ape Out is the kind of game where I can feel good about turning off my brain to play it. That’s what makes it so refreshing right now. And it’s why I’m going to go buy the Switch version even though I’ve already played the PC version for a couple hours.


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