4/5 ★ – theebigbamtheory's review of Ape Escape.

As a self-proclaimed PlayStation fan, it's hard not to feel like I missed a lot whenever I think about all the PS1-PS2 games that I missed, considering they're a bit before my time. With Sony's recent attempt to monetize the love of their classic games through a PS Plus revamp, one of their most vibrant franchises is now much easier to access and play. From front to back, Ape Escape is a jolly game. You're playing as a literal child tasked to catch monkeys under control of a amusement park monkey-turned supervillain to prevent humanity's downfall. And I use the word "downfall" dramatically, because it's all just cartoony fun. If the vibrant graphics don't give you that vibe, then the aggressively eclectic and kooky soundtrack will. Ape Escape plays like many action platformers from its era, but with the advent of analog sticks, it uses it to provide a more hands-on experience in various in-game actions. In other words, you're gonna move them sticks a lot. Unlike games of today, the right analog sticks are not for camera control, but rather the usage of your gadgets. From flinging the stick to a direction to swing your monkey-catching time net, to wildly rotating the stick in order to propel yourself in the air, it can be quite the exercise for your right thumbs. While the controls can feel clunky and imprecise, the game's forgiving difficulty helps makes it less frustrating. Overall it's surprisingly quick to learn and get used to. The game does a good job of progressing the difficulty, as the earlier levels start small and simpler in their design, and subsequent levels adding gimmicks and widening the playing field in order to keep you on your toes. Variety wise, there's not much to complain about, as the setting and locales you visit are mostly unique from one another. There is a noticable focus on industrial-feeling areas in the last act. The game's worst sin is perhaps making it feel like there's three separate climaxes, which makes it feel longer and more drawn out than it should be. The levels in the last act are also much longer and bigger than what comes before, and one can't help but feel that they should have spread these kind of levels out in the previous acts. Ape Escape is a series that shouldn't be forgotten, and I hope Sony continues to breathe life back to it, and maybe making a new game one day. Nobody should miss the simple joy of catching these apes.