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Ape Academy 2 review

Solid

The original Ape Academy was one of the best received titles at PSP's launch and rightly so. Its blend of monkey minigames and charming humour were a welcome diversion from the onslaught of lazy PS2 ports that choked the shop shelves.

For those of you who've never played it, it's a spin-off from the  popular Ape Escape games, with the titular apes starring in an array of tiny minigames, most of which span between 10 to 30 seconds. It's a bit like Wario Ware on Game Boy and DS, but with primates instead of a cackling yellow Italian.

Ape Academy 2's games cover everything from shooting practice and memory tests to a recreation of Gladiators' podium battle - minus the sweaty homoeroticism of course.

Most of these are fun, once you've worked out what to do, and are a welcome test of your reflexes and endurance. Due to their quick nature and sheer variety, Ape Academy 2 rarely gets boring although you'll see certain games pop up more than you'd like.

But if riding a panto horse or shooting tin cans with a monkey dressed up like Jason Voorhees from Friday the Thirteenth isn't enough to get you grinning, we'd say you might as well trade your PSP for that caravan in John O'Groats right now. Except.

It's just a shame that the minigames are surrounded by a ludicrous, hard to comprehend card battling system. AA2 is split into various islands, representing the game's levels. To move to the next island, you have to battle that isle's chief monkey, which you do by picking a card and playing the game shown on it.

Win and your opponent's stamina gauge drops and you receive bananas, which allow you to play higher-ranked games. The aim is to drop your enemy's stamina to zero and move on to the next level.

It's confusing and somewhat needless - the first game's system of progression (win minigames to fill in a grid) was much more sensible.

As it is, however, Academy 2 never flows properly, stopping and starting to make room for the card bits in a way that continually irritates. Wario Ware presents you with a continual torrent of minigames. That's exactly what this game should do, but doesn't.

If you can ignore that, though, what you're left with is a party game perfectly suited to PSP's strengths. Chuck in some multi-player action as well and you've enough simian silliness to last you through ten director's cuts of King Kong. But if you've not got the first Academy, we say go for that.

More Info

Release date: Sep 29 2006 - PSP (US)
Sep 29 2006 - PSP (UK)
Available Platforms: PSP
Published by: Sony
Developed by: Sony

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