App Reviewed on: iPhone
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Jumping games are a dime a dozen, so when a new one hits the App Store it can be hard to become overly excited about it. Despite the saturation in this market, Com2us has managed to finagle a bit or creativity and diversity into this mixture while keeping things fun and simple - both imperative for this style of game.
The basics of this game are simple; players take the role of Jo-Jo, an inquisitive chimp that has tried to steal a jewel from an overprotective gorilla. Jo-Jo must now flee for his life or become a servant to the angered primate. This is where the player comes in.
Instead of the normal jump to this point, propel higher, mix and repeat aspect, players will be drawing trampolines of any size for Jo-Jo to land on. Aiming is accomplished by drawing the springboards at an angle, and it is best to aim for bananas and jewels scattered about the stage. Complicating the process even further, the upset gorilla will give chase after Jo-Jo when he reaches a certain height, and failure to place a trampoline properly means it is game over.
The jewel thief is not without his aids, however. Snagging bananas will fill a glass with juice. Tapping on this will give a big jump, thus putting some serious distance between the player and made gorilla at the bottom of the screen. Gems may also be collected and then used to purchase items, like stronger banana drinks or improved trampolines, from the store. There is enough here to be challenging, yet easy enough to maintain great game play for gamers of all skill levels.
All this action happens in a lighthearted environment where the music is chipper and upbeat and the visuals bright and vibrant. The story is told through static images that appear like pages of a graphic novel. While there could be more variety or changes in the actual level, it all moves so quickly it is hard to focus on the backgrounds. This is a decent looking and sounding game, but nothing earth shattering.
The only issues I ran into with this game were hit detection. Sometimes Jo-Jo would fall through a trampoline if I placed it to closely to him. Sadly, this happened every time I played and become very frustrating when things are won or lost by a split second. Hopefully this will be addressed down the road.
Escape the Ape is an entertaining entry into the jumping genre. The rubber-band mechanic, coupled with a need to be quick and accurate, make this a game that is easily playable for a few minutes, or extended gaming sessions. The game is worth the $0.99 entry point, but the novelty of drawing trampolines does wear off after a few hours of play, so do keep that in mind before hitting that purchase button.