You wake up on day 1 of your undetermined prison sentence. It’s way too early to draw any attention from the COs(correctional officers) so you adhere to the daily routine as best you can. Along the way, you will make friends, enemies, do a couple of favors, some laundry, workout – and of course find a way to break out. That describes The Escapist at a high level but don’t let the retro 8/16-bit look fool you; there is a lot to do within those prison walls.
It may sound mundane to do the same activities everyday but that’s how you’ll survive in The Escapists. The guards will be upset if you don’t show up to everything on-time. Your fellow inmates will be angry if you cross them or just asking them a question or existing sometimes draws their ire. You will have to walk a fine line. Doing too many favors will inevitably put you at odds with someone for completing them or failing. Doing too few will greatly affect your cash flow. The team at Mouldy Toof Studios provides players with 6 prisons to escape from, random everything and numerous possibilities.
One thing the developer didn’t provide was an explanation. This game is open – like old school figure-it-out open. The Escapists begins with a very brief tutorial on the basic controls and an easy escape. After that you wake up on day 1 and have to figure it all out. You will learn a trade in prison and your default “gift” involves the laundering of clothes. The money you, slowly, earn from your obligatory occupation can help fund tips that can be bought from a payphone. They are not always immediately applicable but the information gets stored in your journal. The tips often provide some crafting assistance. Experimenting with the crafting system can yield some interesting results though. Crafting padding for your clothes, a bed dummy and a wide variety of weapons is necessary if you with to leave sooner than later.
The sheer openness of the game can feel a bit intimidating at first but using the payphones and employing the tried-and true school yard method, asking someone, can be the difference between your next day and your last. The Escapists is difficult but so rewarding once you begin to the see the proverbial or literal light at the end of the tunnel.
Recommendation: Worth a buy
Full Disclosure: This game was provided to GameEnthus by the publisher.
Genre: Strategy & Simulation
Developer: Mouldy Toof Studios
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd.
Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Worth a buy – paying full price for fans of the series or genre makes sense – often includes a caveat
Worth a buy on sale – not quite full price worthy but close, – often includes a caveat
No – borrow it if you must play it
Please no – Don’t waste any time and/or money on it