Review: The Escapist

The Escapist screenshot 2
Review: The Escapist

Platforms: Windows PC

Game Name: The Escapist

Developer: Backstab Games

Genre: Platformer

Release Date: November 2012

Developer Summary

A base of 2D platformer with extra spicy bouncing, in a mix of 48 heavily trapped levels, sided with 3 badass bosses. There’s also tasty upgrades to avoid choking. Best served hardcore, enjoy!

What We Think

The competition for indie platformers is abundant at the moment and so a game has to demonstrate some impressive gameplay or innovative ideas to stand out from the crowd. The Escapist wields a couple interesting gameplay features and classic high difficulty platforming. This is wrapped in a cartoon-based visual style. So how does it match up to its peers?

The Escapist opens with a pretty gentle tutorial that gets you acquainted with the nuances of the gameplay. It’s fairly typical platforming fare with some neat twists both in your character’s abilities and in the challenges that each level provides. You can run, jump and navigate as you would expect but you can also project yourself in a particular direction by holding down the left mouse button and pointing the cursor at your destination. You can only do this once before touching a wall or the ground so you need to be careful when obstacles are dotted about.

The gameplay is enhanced by the variations you’ll find in each stage. Some have very little light, forcing you to work with limited vision while others will scroll along forcing you to stay on the move. It’s rarely new but it is interesting and varied enough to keep things fresh. The foundation of the gameplay is the challenge which keeps you coming back for more after countless deaths. The levels reload quickly after a death, minimising frustration.

Coins are dotted throughout each level and they are often bundled in hard-to-reach areas providing optional challenges. These coins can be spent between stages to buy upgrades for your character. Jump height, speed, launching power and wall-grabbing abilities can be augmented in this fashion, providing a limited character customization system. Unfortunately these upgrades do feel somewhat meager and a more developed set of options would have been a strong addition.

The visuals of The Escapist are of a reasonable quality, providing a pleasant, if not stunning, environment within which the game is set. The three main sections of the game feature their own art styles. Musically the game has a satisfyingly frantic set of tracks that help to support the fast-paced nature of the gameplay.

You’ll find some longevity on offer here with three large sections featuring over forty levels. A rating system for each level would have been a welcome addition to The Escapist, providing some replayability for the perfectionists amongst us. That said, the stages become quite challenging very quickly and most players will end up spending a lot of time with this game.

The Escapist is a strong offering for those who enjoy hardcore platformers with a decent challenge. A little refinement on the visuals would help this game tremendously, as would more depth to the upgrade system. Despite these small drawbacks, The Escapist is a lot of fun to play and more than a little compulsive. If you’re looking to scratch your platforming itch then this is definitely worth a look.

The Escapist – Official Site (Backstab Games)

[xrr rating=”3.5/5″]