Ape Escape Move offers very little variety in its experience, which is a real shame as the minute to minute action isn’t bad and the presentation is excellent. Unfortunately as charming and enjoyable as the title is in the beginning, it can’t shake the shackles of repetition.
In Ape Escape Move those promiscuous apes Sony fans know and love, are back to cause havoc over 16 stages in locations ranging from back gardens and cities to prehistoric times. This time around, the apes have more invaded than escaped, and have arrived on Earth in countless spaceships whilst your character and his two female neighbours go on a quest to capture the apes and to find one in particular who holds a special place in your neighbours’ grandma’s heart. It’s an utterly bonkers plot that serves only to give some vague direction to your location swapping and actions.
Surprisingly though, for such a nonsensical narrative the presentation of the delivery is extremely high quality. Beautifully animated Anime breaks up each stage with good, appropriate voice acting of well scripted dialogue. It’s pleasantly immersive, initially at least. However, the plot has very little substance, trading heavily on the faith of Ape Escape fans and the presentation.
The action stages are on-rails sections where, through the use of your move controller, you capture apes with a net, swat objects and projectiles with a fan, and shoot apes and bananas with a slingshot. It’s essentially an on-rails shooter. The drawback is that this on-rails setup is lacking the same perks other titles from the genre have made staples, such as upgradeable weapons, and – most importantly – cooperative play.
The result is a boring experience, performing the same actions to the same scenario just with different backdrops. The scenario being to capture the attacking apes whilst collecting as many bananas as possible. Variety does come in terms of ape costume themes, and there are a few different types of attacks from the apes to force you to switch between your net, fan and slingshot, but overall it fails to impress.
What does impress is the technical side of Ape Escape Move. The Move controls are excellent, showing off true 1:1 movement and speed, and the brightly coloured cartoon-esque aesthetic that the Ape Escape titles are so well known for is as charming as ever, further complimented by some truly jaw dropping graphics. This side of Ape Escape Move means actually playing the titles is simple and engaging, it’s just the gamplay that suffers due to its repetition.
The additional mini games offer a multiplayer mode to try out but your enjoyment of them will be short-lived. There’s just not much to them and, like the main game, show little imagination. It’s also completely baffling why two player coop was not implemented for the main game when the genre is primed to support such as feature.
Ape Escape Move certain proves that the Move controller works brilliantly, and it’s hard not to enjoy your initial try of this delightfully charming premise, but it gets old fast and has little to no difficulty curve. In the end, Ape Escape Move comes off as completely and utterly mediocre.
MLG Rating: 5/10
Platform: PS3 Release Date: 24/06/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Ape Escape Move for review purposes by the publisher. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PS3 with Move. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.