The Escapists – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Sim, Strategy
Developer: Mouldy Toof Studios
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: PS4

The Escapists – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Plenty of challenges, fun concept, good variation in items and jobs, "natural" controls, nostalgic 8Bit graphics
Bad: Text is fairly small, "only" six prisons
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Escapists has been released for Xbox One and PC earlier this year but recently it has become available for PS4 as well. The adventurous action game, developed by Mouldy Toof Studios and published by the infamous Team17 Digital Ltd. takes place in several types of prisons, which you will need to escape. How you manage to break out is entirely up to you but don’t let the 8Bit graphics style fool you as breaking out is much easier said than done.

The Escapists

Story

Everyone teaches us that helping people in distress is good. TV-shows, comics and movies, they all show us that those kind of heroes are praised for the goodness in them. They couldn’t have been more wrong. My name is Adyn and this is the story as to how I became imprisoned.

Putting my imagination aside, The Escapists doesn’t have any kind of narrative. You are simply given facts, such as the fact that you landed in prison, for some unexplained reason, and that you need to escape. Obviously anyone can come up with enough reasons as to why you landed in prison, I just like the story of a vigilante being looked at in the wrong way.

Graphics

The visuals are one of the great features of the game. The 8Bit-styled graphics, combined with the top-down view are a blast from the past. Gamers who were raised with NES-systems will remember these visuals vividly, thus the game also provide some nostalgia for those veteran players. While this type of visuals is fairly specific, they are still great to look at in modern-day games.

Sound

The soundtrack of The Escapists is something you’ll end up loving or hating. While I was playing the game, my “roommate” burst in once, asking what that dreadful sound was, while I didn’t seem to mind the endless looping music so it is truly a matter of personal taste. The ambiance music is a rhythmic instrumental-like sound which also has a military techno-tune to it. The interaction sounds are quite fitting. Each action you perform has a specific sound which you will quickly learn. Mostly the ambiance music get’s lost on you thanks to these interaction sounds as you’ll be performing many actions – at least if you mean to escape.

Gameplay

In The Escapists, you are an inmate in dire need of escaping unlike Prison Architect, where you need to build and manage a maximum security prison. Both games may have the same prison concept but they are not alike, thus you cannot really compare the two but the concept remains great. As for the controls, there are quite a few things you can do so it’ll be easier to simply show you a screenshot of the controls in-game. Playing it with a controller is more fun than I had imagined and most of the controls feel natural. Downside to playing the game on a console is that the text is way too small but you can counter that by sitting closer to your screen if the need for that arrives.

First things first, you can customize and name the character you’ll be playing as. Additionally, you can customize fellow inmates and officers, which is a nice touch indeed but fairly useless because you won’t be remembering who’s who after some in-game days of gameplay.

There are six prisons, the first one being the easiest to escape, the last one being the hardest. The means to escape are your own so strategically ahead-thinking is needed if you ever want to escape the prisons, which is not a simple task. Even being the easiest prison to escape, Central Perks is still fairly hard to a point where it can become frustrating. Of course, this also has much to do with the fact that you are simply learning the ropes of the game thus the learning curve is somewhat steep.

The crafting-system of the game is similar to the one found in open-world games such as Minecraft. First you’ll need to acquire items. There are literally hundreds of items in the game and since there are no hints as to what you can make with certain “ingredients”, you’ll need to play around a bit. Items are generally kept in the player’s inventory but can also be stored in the player’s desk or even hidden in the toilet. Items can also be bought from fellow inmates, stolen from containers or even looted from incapacitated inmates and officers. Doing the latter one is ill-advised however as you’ll be thrown into SHU. Certain items are considered “safe” but others are considered as contraband and will be confiscated if you don’t play nice. Items you craft can range from weapons to tools which can aid you in escaping the prison.

The Escapists

If you are to buy items from fellow inmates, you’ll need enough cash. There are two ways of earning cash. The first one is by taking on a job and completing the quota provided. There are about ten jobs available in the game and the pay for each job is different. The second way of earning cash is by taking on “quests” in the form of favors to fellow inmates. Again, certain favors will pay more than others. You’ll need to be careful though as certain favors will require you to beat up someone, which in turn will cause them to dislike you. If they have things to sell, they won’t be willing to sell them to you until you’ve gained your respect back by giving them items or cash.

Aside from fellow inmates respect, or opinion about you, there are three other stats with each a maximum level of 100. Strength increases your damage in fights and your overall health, the STR stat can be increased by using the weight-lifting bench. Speed determines how fast you will attack and will increase your damage per second. This stat can be increased by running on the treadmill. Both work-outs are done by pressing RT and LT alternately. The fourth stat is intellect and can be increased by using the computers or reading the books in the library. Intellect is required to craft certain items, the higher the INT, the better the items you’ll be able to craft.

The Escapists

Working your job is only one of the few routines the prisons have going for them. Morning and evening roll calls are also routine but these are mandatory if you don’t want the prison to go on full lockdown. The rest of the routines such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, work-out and even showering isn’t mandatory but you will need to get that energy back you’ve spent on working out or trying to break out.

Conclusion

While having only six prisons available and a few extra as DLC’s, The Escapists provides plenty of hours of gameplay. The game also offers enough variation given the fact that there are several ways to play, hundreds of items, ten different jobs and other things to do – other than attempting to escape. Overall The Escapists is a great game with a fun concept that is well executed while offering plenty of challenges.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Escapists - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Drydwen
Drydwen


Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

1 Comment

  1. […] more information about the game itself, head to http://3rd-strike.com/the-escapists-review/ for a full review of the title. Meanwhile, here’s a trailer for the Xbox 360 […]

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