Ape Escape[a] is a series of video games developed primarily by Japan Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, starting with Ape Escape for PlayStation in 1999. The series incorporates ape-related humour, unique gameplay, and a wide variety of pop culture references. The first game in the series is the first game to have made the DualShock or Dual Analog controller mandatory.

Ape Escape
Ape Escape Logo.png
Official series logo
Genre(s)Platform, party
Developer(s)Japan Studio
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Vita
First releaseApe Escape
June 22, 1999
Latest releasePlayStation Move Ape Escape
July 5, 2011


In 1998, the game was developed under the name Sarugetchu, and would be the first game to explicitly require the DualShock controller.[1] The game was a success, going Platinum, entering the Greatest Hits series in the US, and entered the "Best Of" releases in Japan. It was reviewed positively, and was compared to games such as Super Mario 64.[citation needed]

Ape Escape 2001 was released in 2001. It is the first game in the series to have been developed for PlayStation 2. The next year, Ape Escape 2 was developed by Sony and published in Japan in 2002 and in Europe and North America in 2003.[citation needed]

In 2003, SCEI worked on a multiplayer party game and the sequel to Piposaru 2001. Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed was released in Japan through Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and the US through Ubisoft in 2004. Ape Escape: On the Loose, a remake of the original game was released globally as one of the launch games for the PlayStation Portable.[citation needed]

In 2005, Ape Academy (also known as Ape Escape Academy) was released for the PlayStation Portable. Eye Toy: Monkey Mania was a party game inspired by Mario Party which was only released in Europe and Japan.[citation needed] In mid-2005, Ape Escape 3 was released to positive critical reception.[citation needed]

After the release of Ape Escape 3, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe showed interest in publishing Ape Academy 2 and Ape Escape: Million Monkeys; however, Sony Computer Entertainment America showed more interest in developing its own game. Ape Academy 2 was released in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable to mixed success and sold very well in Japan, entering the "Best of" category, but failed to perform well in Europe, due to Sony focusing on Million Monkeys. Million Monkeys was released in Japan in July 2006, making it the last official PlayStation 2 game in the series. The game was planned to be released in the United Kingdom in late 2006, but the game was postponed and later canceled. Its impact in Japan led to the inclusion of its iteration of series protagonist Spike in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in 2012. In late 2006, PipoRacer was released in Japan for PlayStation Portable. In 2008, Japan Studio and h.a.n.d. developed Ape Escape: SaruSaru Big Mission. Both titles were never released outside Japan.

In 2006, Sony placed an advertisement in a Famitsu magazine with interest in hiring staff for an upcoming game. It contains a picture with four monkeys, with the first holding up Ape Escape, the second holding up Ape Escape 2, the third holding up Ape Escape 3 and the fourth holding a cover with "?". The fourth entry was in development,[2] but is still unreleased. A tweet by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan on Twitter was posted on January 5, 2016, reading, "2016 Year of the Monkey. Today, SCE will begin working! #Monkey #YearofMonkey" alongside an image of a Pipo Monkey".[3] In 2019, the 20th anniversary of the franchise, for the first time in more than 5 years, the official Japanese website for the Ape Escape series was updated and an official Japanese Ape Escape 20th anniversary account was made on Twitter.

Ape Quest, a role-playing game, was released in 2008 on the PSN store in North America and Europe and in March 2009 in Japan. It was co-developed by Shift and Alvion and published by Sony Computer Entertainment worldwide. It was the first game in the series to be a PSN-only game, excluding Asia, where it received a physical release. In 2009, a game titled Ape Escape was announced along with the PlayStation Move. Critics speculated that it was the fourth entry in the series, after Sony's 2006 advertisement. In Q3 2010, PlayStation Move: Ape Escape was officially announced under the party genre, and with a different name for every region. It was released in Japan in December 2010, Asia in January 2011, and the UK and Europe in mid-2012 as a GameStop exclusive. In the US, the game was only made available on the PSN store. After the release of PlayStation Move: Ape Escape, no games were announced in 2012, making it the first year since 2002 that no Ape Escape game had been released and the first year that no game had been announced within each region.


Release timeline
1999Ape Escape
2002Ape Escape 2
2004Pumped & Primed
EyeToy: Monkey Mania
2005On the Loose
Ape Escape 3
Ape Academy 2
2006Million Monkeys
2007SaruSaru Big Mission
2008Ape Quest
2010PlayStation Move Ape Escape

Main seriesEdit


Party gamesEdit

Guest appearancesEdit


Main seriesEdit

A white-haired monkey named Specter obtains a helmet known as the Peak Point Helmet (Pipo Helmet for short), which boosts his intelligence. After equipping an army of monkeys with Pipo Helmets, and using an enhanced helmet for himself, Specter sends his monkey army to take over the world, and Space. The protagonists, equipped with various gadgets, must capture the monkeys and restore order to the world.[4]

Alternate seriesEdit

The alternate series, developed by SCEI, is the alternate main series. Specter and the Monkeys take over the world, or try to sabotage players in "Pumped and Primed". In both games, Specter does not end up being the main villain and there are usually darker forces behind Specter that the player must defeat. The villains change from game to game. It is up to the game's protagonists, equipped with various gadgets, to capture or defeat monkeys/characters, to save the day.[5]


The Ape Escape series is notable for its radical departure from the tried-and-true control method in many other games. It was the first PlayStation game to require the use of a DualShock or Dual Analog controller; the left stick moves the character while the right operates whatever gadget the character has its possession. Again, unlike many games which use   to jump, both the R1 and R2 buttons are used, while the 'shape' buttons are used to cycle through the available items in the inventory.

In the PSP spin-offs, a more conventional control scheme must be used, due to the lack of a right analog stick.

The main objective through the majority of the games is to use the available array of gadgets to locate and capture monkeys. When a monkey has been found, it must be caught with the Time Net gadget. On the first playthrough, players will have a set number of monkeys to catch before progressing towards the next level. Once each level has been completed, they can be reentered with the gadgets necessary to catch the remaining monkeys.


In the main series, there are three unlockable minigames that can be played at the hub. These can be accessed by clearing the necessary number of stages and/or having the necessary amount of coins. In Ape Escape and Ape Escape: On the Loose, the player had to collect a certain amount of Specter Tokens to unlock a minigame.

In Ape Escape 2, the player could obtain these three minigames by betting ten coins in the Gotcha Box, but here the stage-clearing was more important, yet it did not mean it would be based on the percentage on the player's record.

In Ape Escape 3, because coins were far more abundant than Ape Escape 2 and the fact that players could hold coins past 999, the prices went up for the mini-games as well. Also, in this game it was based on the player's percentage, so clearing stages, beating time attacks, or purchasing things from the shops would make the mini games available for purchase sooner. The minigame Mesal Gear Solid seems fuller and more of a game of its own rather than just a simple unlockable. This game has a plot and more traditional gameplay of the AE series, and could be the start of more fuller minigames based on a series already established, like Metal Gear Solid.

In Ape Quest, the player randomly encounters mini-games in a very similar fashion to classic JRPG random enemy encounters.

Other mediaEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Known in Japan as Saru Get You (サルゲッチュ, Saru Getchu)


  1. ^ Bankhurst, Adam. "The Evolution of the PlayStation Controller". IGN. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  2. ^ Ape Escape 4 | IGN| http://au.ign.com/articles/2006/01/27/new-ape-escape-in-the-works
  3. ^ Ape Escape 4 2016 | Siliconera|http://www.siliconera.com/2016/01/05/could-this-be-the-year-we-finally-get-a-new-ape-escape-game/#exvLTYmEAQMjXjHq.99
  4. ^ Ape Escape, Ape Escape 2, Ape Escape 3 Game Booklets
  5. ^ Ape Escape: Pumped and Primed, Ape Escape: Million Monkeys Game Booklets

External linksEdit