Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey (PS4) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Open World
Developer: Panache Digital Games
Publisher: Private Division
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey (PS4) – Review

Site Score
Good: Explore a big world, feel like a real ape in a prehistoric world
Bad: Not the most fancy graphics
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

“Where did we come from?”, “What were our ancestors like?”, “How did we evolve?”; these are all questions that people ask themselves regularly. Even though science can provide some of these answers, we are still discovering new information every day. Nonetheless, reading an article is not as fun as actually living through the evolution of our species. This must have been a thought that occurred to the developers of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. Since in this game you are actually able to experience what evolution is like. You will take on the role of an ape with his clan, who are trying just to survive. Yet as you learn more, you get smarter and find new ways to survive and maybe even thrive. We already reviewed the PC version of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey before which you can check out here, but this time we got a chance to check out the game on the PlayStation 4.


There isn’t really a set story in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, as you make your own story. However, several cutscenes represent events that happen in the game. Some cutscenes only get shown with specific events that you might have missed cause you went with a different playstyle. As you start the game you get an explanation that the game is based on true events. However, with this they mean, that they put known archetypes and locations in the game, not that they included exact events. Since nobody was there to record what happened, people can only assume that this is a rough representation of what took place, thanks to the help of science.

In the starting cinematic we see the location the game is set in and some of the inhabitants of the region.  Then we see the beings we will be playing with; primates. A parent and their infant are shown finding a fish. They go hide from their clan to keep the tasty snack to themselves, but it seems that a predator has spotted them. A giant bird attacks the ape, throwing off the child. At that point, you start the game as the infant. So it is up to you to go find safety and keep the child alive.


Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey looks a little bit outdated, this is certainly noticeable in the cutscenes.  During regular gameplay, the environment and the apes look pretty nice. When you begin playing in the basic starting location, you’ll spend a lot of time in a jungle. There are many kinds of trees and plant life in the jungle, so it isn’t just one kind of tree that you see while exploring. The HUD shows you information about the ape you are controlling. You can also see which actions you can do at that moment. This changes if you are holding something, or standing close to something you can inspect. You can also see your Ape’s stamina ball, however, this ball includes everything. So you could be hungry, thirsty, or tired but you wouldn’t know what specifically. It might have been nicer to be able to see the specific need. Now you can only tell after you’ve slept for an hour cause only then you get an update.

In the HUD you also get some specific icons, which could be for many things, such as broken bones, bleeding out, dehydration, feeling fulfilled, and so on. However, there is no way to see what the icon means, besides trying to figure it out from its appearance. It would have been nice to have a way to hover over it, or check what it specifically means, since now you just have to guess. Controlling the camera can also be a bit wonky, certainly when you are climbing the trees and are in-between a bunch of leaves.


There are mostly nature sounds in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, but sometimes you do get a little bit of background music. You’ll mostly be hearing the wind in the trees as well as creatures. There are also a whole bunch of predators lurking around in the jungle. So you’ll also need your sense of hearing to warn you of incoming danger. There is no voice acting in the game, but you can communicate as an ape would. When you call, your clanmates will reply when they are close.


Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is an action, adventure game where you’ll try to survive together with your clan in a big open world. You’ll have to explore and discover new and scary places or items. Discovering new things and overcoming your fears while learning is the point of the game, since that is what eventually leads to evolving and this game tells you how it might have happened. However, you are free to do whatever you want. You do get objectives but there is no timer or anything so you can go wherever you want. The only thing you have to account for is you and your clan members’  survival. You’ll have to make sure you eat, drink and sleep enough, like you would in real life.

As you start the game you can choose what level of help you want. You are also able to play fully without the HUD or any tutorial. However, the game is a bit tricky to figure out without any help, so it is recommended to play with the full tutorial and HUD. Even though as mentioned above the full HUD doesn’t always proves to be that informative. It can get a bit annoying when you are trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with your ape. Since you can die of a variety of things, it would be nice to know what exactly you are dying of. Understandably, they are not trying to hold your hand but if they provide icons anyway, being able to know what they mean would be nice.

The tutorials that you get with the starter level, are mostly little text boxes that pop up when you first encounter a new action. So they will only randomly pop up when you discover something that you can use and even then they mostly explain the controls. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is certainly not a game that forces you to do things, or overexplains things. You’ll have to figure out what kills you and how to explore the jungle safely. As an ape, the safest way for you to explore is in the trees, since on the ground there are a ton of predators. You can climb trees and jump from tree to tree. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to jump to another branch, since it’s hard to see where branches are located through the leaves.

You can also grab onto the leaves and then swing from the leaves to get further. It seems that sometimes the leaves don’t get detected and you will fall through a whole pack of leaves before you finally grab on to some. There is no visual difference between the ones you can grab onto and the ones you can’t. So there is always the chance that you jump into leaves and even though you are pressing the grab button, you fall through. This can either end with you grabbing onto a trunk or falling and hurting yourself or even worse dying. So it can get a bit frustrating to move through the trees if you’re trying to grab and swing as an ape would do. Getting from a trunk onto a branch also requires you to be nearly inside the branch before the ape gets onto the branch. There is also no way to get down from a slanted branch without jumping, it seems that there is no detection for climbing back down 90° branches. However even though it can get tricky, it still is a lot of fun to move through the trees and finding branches you can jump to without falling.

As you are exploring you can use “intelligence” mode which in turn then allows you to use your senses. Your senses include hearing, smelling and communicating. While you are using your intelligence you see little icons of interest. You can focus on these icons and even memorize them to locate them more easily. At the start, they will mostly turn into question marks when you focus on them. After you have explored more and discovered more resources and places, you’ll be able to easily relocate discovered areas and resources around you by using those points of interest. Exploring new areas can be scary, which is shown by the world around you turning all crazy with illusions. Until you conquer the area, your screen will be filled with shadowy monsters. Whenever you are scared, those shadow monsters show up again.


Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a fun game where you can explore a really big area. You’ll be able to discover how our ancestors slowly started to evolve. The game doesn’t hold your hand at all, so you are free to do whatever you want. If you rather run on the ground than use the trees then you can, the game will however not tell you that that might not be the smartest move. You will have to discover what kills you and how you will survive. The freedom gives the game that extra amount of enjoyment, since you can move at your own pace and go about the objectives in your own way.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey (PS4) - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

The one and only slowqueen! -student multimedia-

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