If you've played any of Sony's Ape Escape games before, you'll find much that's familiar in Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed. Essentially a collection of minigames for up to four players, Pumped & Primed features many of the same characters and gadgets that have graced previous entries in the series, but this one sees you going up against other competitors in specially designed arenas rather than pursuing mischievous monkeys and attempting to thwart the plans of their evil, white-haired leader Specter. Pumped & Primed's minigames are all quite simplistic, and the single-player portion of the game can be completed in five or six hours. However, with a multitap and the right group of friends, there's no reason you shouldn't have some fun with it.
You can play as any of eight different characters, some of whom are monkeys.
Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed's story mode features a total of 52 levels, 44 of which can be played competitively against other players (once you've unlocked them) and eight of which are boss battles against a number of different enemies, including Specter's impressive-looking Goliath armor--a giant mech that bears more than a passing resemblance to a gorilla. Although you have to defeat each boss by yourself, none of the boss battles in the game are particularly challenging once you learn the employed attack patterns and provided you go equipped with the right gadgets, which are invariably selected for you by default.
Most of the gadgets in Pumped & Primed have appeared in previous Ape Escape titles, but those on offer here actually only represent a fraction of the arsenal that you might be expecting if you've played those games. If you choose to play as Spike (the hero from the first Ape Escape game), for example, you'll be able to employ a stun club, a dash hoop, an underwater propulsion system with missile launcher, a slingshot, a remote-controlled car, a sky flier, a rubber dinghy, and a tank. Each of the playable characters in the game (including the monkeys) has a very different-looking arsenal, but each character's gadgets all serve exactly the same purpose as Spike's--and each gadget is controlled in the same manner.
Although there are 44 different games for you to play against friends, many of them are really just the same events played in different arenas. Distinct types of minigames in Pumped & Primed include: deathmatch-style battles on foot, in tanks, and underwater; races on foot and in boats; and coin-collection contests that take place in small arenas and over large obstacle courses. All the game types feature numerous power-ups that you can collect to improve your chances of success, and we've found that the most effective power-ups are those that allow you to perform special attacks without having to first charge up your attack meter. The special attacks in Pumped & Primed are quite different from anything that's appeared in the series previously, and they range from the ordinary to the downright bizarre. When battling underwater or in tanks, for example, the special attacks at your disposal are simply more-powerful projectiles. When playing one of the games that allows you to run around on foot and switch between multiple gadgets on the fly, though, you can execute some pretty devastating moves by pushing two of the gadget selection buttons simultaneously (all gadgets are selected using the face buttons and used with the right analog stick). And this is where your monkey fan club comes into play...