Fighting machines is one of the biggest selling points of Horizon and you will come across all kinds of them throughout your adventure. In addition to all of the normal types of machines out there, you will be introduced to Variants not too long into the game. Normally, a lot of these Variants are either small changes to the normal machine, or they may be a different elemental version, like with Bristlebacks or Clawstriders, as an example. As you progress through the game, though, you will eventually be introduced to another Variant, called Apex. Not every single machine in the game will have an Apex Variant, but most of them do.
The Apex Variant is, more or less, the same machine you’ve always been fighting, but they are stronger than the normal versions, meaning they will have more health and hit harder. While it might be a little difficult to see at times, the Apex Variants usually have a darked colored armor. None of the Apex Variants seem to have different attacks over their normal counterparts, so you can treat them much the same. They are also typically a higher level than the normal versions, and you will see the Machine Unknown upon scanning them for the first time (as with all Variants).
Why are Apex Machines Important?
There are mainly two reasons why Apex Variants are important to find, with the simpler of the two reasons being they give you more experience over normal counterparts. For example, a normal Clawstrider may give around 800 EXP or so, but an Apex Variant might give 3,000 EXP. In addition to this, Apex machines will have some slightly different loot to get, one such example being Apex Hearts. As the name suggests, these only drop from Apex machines, so you’re not getting them elsewhere. Once you start getting stronger weapons and armor, you will start seeing Apex Hearts as a requirement for upgrading them.
How to Find Apex Machines
With all of the above said, the most important question is how to find these Apex machines. At first, they might seem to randomly replace the normal versions at the machine sites, but there does appear to be some ways to improve those chances. First, make sure that the machine you are hunting has an Apex version of it, as there are a few that don’t have one. It does appear that as you hunt more of the same machine, there is a higher chance that the normal version will be replaced by an Apex Variant. When you combine this method with the other way, you will start seeing them more often.
That second way is to hunt the machines at night. Time flows at a certain pace during the game and there might not appear to be any way to change the time of day. However, if you’ve found any Shelters during your exploration, you should notice a little wooden stump in front of the campfire. You can sit at one of these and pass the time, so if you’re looking for more Apex machines, then this is the thing to do. There are plenty of Shelters scattered throughout the map, so just keep a lookout for theicon.