The video game series that made PlayStation thumbsticks mandatory is now one of the first Sony franchises moving to PlayStation 3's motion controller. We wrote about Ape Escape for Move in Tokyo. In New York yesterday, we shot video.
Sony revealed the new Ape Escape at Tokyo Game Show last month. I didn't know Ape Escape Shake! Shake!, as its Japanese title could be translated, was a lock for America until I spotted it at a Sony showcase this week. I'm not sure if we should call it "Shake! Shake!" Sony representatives weren't clear if that is the name for the Western release.
The video I shot of a Sony man playing the game will help you understand what this new Ape Escape is. You'll see the story part of the game. Story consists of manga-style narrative scenes and then the on-rails section you see here. A gamer uses the PlayStation Move wand controller to swing a net that catches monkeys. With one button press, that net can become a slingshot. With a couple more, it can become a special item, such as the vacuum used in the video. Guided as if on rails, the player advances from one venue to the next, pausing when the game lets them so he or she can swivel their view, aim and swipe at monkeys. Collect bananas for points. Net lots of monkeys to add entries to the Monkeypedia.
The Sony representative who explained this new Ape Escape to me said the new game will also include mini-games, but he wasn't able to show those.
I tried the level in this video as well. It's an early level, simple and decently fun. Like any good light gun game, which this Ape Escape more or less aspires to be, this game will need to offer good rhythms of challenge and variety. Unlike most light gun games, it already has silly apes. That has to be some sort of advantage. Here's hoping its team — the original Ape Escape team, I was told — can get this series right again. A new controller hadn't stopped them before. Why now?