Ape Escape Academy Review

Ape Escape Academy is a bit of a departure for the Ape Escape series. To date all of the Ape Escape games have been platform games with a puzzle emphasis as you worked to capture a bunch of clever little monkeys. Ape Escape Academy shows you how these monkeys learned their escape skills in the first place, in an academy for monkeys in which the students are forced to play seemingly endless series of mini games. After subjecting yourself to these mini games, you’ll be looking for a chance to escape yourself.

Ape Escape Academy collects its mini games into groups of nine that represent one “year” of time spent at the Academy. The goal is to graduate to the next level by winning enough mini games. The games are laid out in a three by three grid and if you win a game its square is replaced with an “O”. Lose the game and you’ll be given an “X” for the square. You guessed it, you’re playing tic-tac-toe. To graduate you’ll have to win one or more rows of “O”s, and if you don’t you’ll fail to graduate and will need to replay the year. Oddly, the game does not let you select the square you wish to play for, instead randomly cycling through the open squares until one is selected. Just as odd, you’ll be forced to play all nine games regardless of whether or not you’ve already got the required rows filled or if you’re blocked out of any chance to win. It makes you wonder why they even bothered with the whole tic-tac-toe layer. Perhaps the game’s developers couldn’t think of any other way to tie the mini games together.

The lame tic-tac-toe component of the game could be totally overlooked if the mini games were challenging and exciting, but this is not the case. The games run the gamut from lame to odd to nearly unplayable, but never seem to be all that much fun. All the games share the general problem of being confusing and very short, so for many of the games you’ll find yourself losing before you can even figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. The games that come the closest to being enjoyable are variations of familiar games such as air hockey and bowling while the rest are either frustrating or odd. For example, one sends a flag flying across the screen and then asks you to identify the country the flag is from. Another displays a simple math problem and has you select the correct answer. Strange kinds of mini games, but at least doable. Others such as one that has you handing roses to passing monkeys don’t even seem to work right and are pretty much guaranteed losers for you.

In addition to the Academy mode, you can play any of the individual mini games or compete against other gamers in wireless Ad Hoc mode, but the question is why would you want to? The games are not very much fun as it is, so there’s little reason to do play them any more once you’ve been through them all once or twice.

There may be a fair number of games packed into Ape Escape Academy, but quantity does not make up for a lack of quality. None of the games are really that much fun, so Ape Escape Academy is not that much fun itself.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 50%.  You’ll want to escape the Academy yourself after playing Ape Escape Academy for a little while.