Pixelated games are only one of the few additions that devs bring to the ID@Xbox. program The Escapists is one of those games that has made its way to Xbox One. Combine the graphics with a setting that hasn’t been used too much and some decent puzzles, people could start breaking out of their respective institution. But is the game enjoyable for all?SINGLE PLAYER CONTENT
You start with an easy tutorial of how breaching out can be. Everything in that tutorial is pre-scripted, so there’s no way of getting out using other equipment or tools. During that tutorial, all controls are being rapidly thrown at you and soon, you are outside the prison walls. But then, the game really starts and it obviously isn’t as easy as it was during the tutorial. The choices are a bit overwhelming and there’s no scaffolding of any sort. Some could be left with a feeling of “what do I do now?” when your first real day starts. So you go accepting the jobs other prisoners have for you, which mostly consist of the same thing: beating up people, distracting guards or fetching items. Not only is this repetitive, it doesn’t really help you advance to meet the objective.
You are making friends and enemies during your days, and the enemies you’ve first made never seem to remember you had previously completed a mission for them after you had to beat them up. Because of that, walking around the prison is extremely frustrating since you will get beaten up by those who want revenge quite frequently. The people who like you can sell you some additional tools you can use for crafting several items, which should help in escaping but as noted before, the first prison isn’t really going to tell you what to do.
The days in prison consist of pre-scripted events, but not following the orders of the guards doesn’t seem to get you into too much trouble. If you want to spend an entire day in the gym or LOL’ing at cats behind a computer, no problem. There’s no real rounding up or headcount during your prison time. Eating isn’t a requirement either, as you will get energy from taking a shower. If you fail to complete your task within the prison system, you only get fired. That gives you some more time to investigate how to meet your objective. When darkness falls, the guards announce whose cells are being looked over. If you have a forbidden item, you get to spend some nights in a seperated cell, and all items will be taken away. In those instances, you can load up a previous save and try again.
The possibilities are endless, and that is the only strength of this game. Even though it can be enjoyed by those that love to spend an entire (real time) day on finding each of the flaws that help you escape, it doesn’t sound really appealing to other people which is on its turn perfectly fine. The developers of this game didn’t try to create or replicate a triple A title, and it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the possibilities only add to the replayability which is sorely absent from previous ID@Xbox titles.GRAPHICS AND SOUND
There isn’t much to say about the graphics of The Escapists, other than they’re pixelated. The graphics harken back to older games on older handhelds such as the Game Boy. Really, the pixelated graphics fit perfectly with the game. There are no frame drops or occasions in where the game freezes. The sound of the game also aligns perfectly with the games graphics. Everything fits together perfectly to make this title unique in every possible way. There’s no voice acting, but the text bubbles make it clear as to what other inmates and guards are saying so it isn’t extremely missed.ACHIEVEMENTS
The achievements in The Escapists aren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Only one achievement is earned in your attempts to escape all possible prisons, and all the others encompass various tasks, including earning money, raising intelligence, being naked, etc. Earning every possible achievement in the game will require some time, but for those who are looking at every possible option to get out of every possible prison it will come rather sooner than later.CONCLUSION
The Escapists is unique in many ways, but won’t appeal to everybody and will only attract those that are willing to spend an enormous amount of time in the game to figure out some possible strategies. The setting is unique and as previously noted, the possibilities in The Escapists are endless. For those reasons, the game feels like one that shouldn’t be missed by those who enjoy Escapist-type games.