For anyone who played the original game, The Escapists, back in 2015 there has been a decided lack of challenging escape themed games during the last two years.
Developed by former roofer, Chris Davis of Mouldy Toof Studios, The Escapists was a hugely successuful Kickstarter project which raised just over £7000 and led to the creation of a critically acclaimed game that has, to date, had over 4 million download.
Luckily developers Moldy Toof Studios and Team 17 decided to revisit their cult classic with the unveiling of The Escapists 2 available now on next gen consoles.
As in the previous outing, The Escapists 2 casts you in the role of an inmate incarcerated in ten different prisons. Each prison has its own unique layout and routines, so most of your time will be spent in getting the lay of the land. Despite the fact that your goal is freedom you’ll have to make sure you take part in scheduled events such as roll call, meal times and breaks if you want to avoid the suspicious eyes of the prison guards.
Outside of the enforced activities, the rest of your time will be spent probing the prison for weaknesses in its security, memorising prison guard routines, rummaging through boxes for items to craft (which will aid your escape bid) and, of course, planning your big break.
If you’re not too keen on hunting down craft items you can usually make some spare cash by doing jobs for other inmates.
If you’ve ever played an escape game before, you’ll know that the key to beating the system is patience. There’s a lot of trial and error here. Some may find it frustrating to fail at a prison break for the umpteenth time and have your contraband confiscated for the zillionth time. Others will find it a practical reminder that, even in prison, we grow through what we go through.
When you first boot up The Escapists 2 you’ll be given the opportunity to play through a tutorial prison. This is presented as a flashback story narrated by your character who walks you through the mechanics of the game.
After the tutorial you’re left on your own to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and piece together all the elements that will help you liberate yourself. Often this will entail tunnelling through a wall, cutting through a fence or, if you’re really good, breezing out of prison wearing a disguise.
As we’ve said before The Escapists 2 requires a lot of patience and trial and error. A successful prison break can take anywhere up to an hour and a half to pull off. To balance this steady pace Moldy Toof Studios have also included three short and very focused levels where you’re tasked with escaping from a prison transport train. There are no routines or other inmates in these levels. Just you, the guards and a number of desks containing items you’ll need to help you escape. These are timed levels so thinking and acting quickly are absolute musts.
For those of us who prefer playing a game with our mates, The Escapists 2 also includes a robust and versatile multiplayer option for both on and offline play. In these options you can play co-op with up to four mates or compete to see who can break out of prison the fastest. Excellent.
Graphically The Escapists 2 is huge improvement from the old school look of the original. The sprits are sharper and cleaner, the UI more intuitive and the prison designs are far more detailed and imaginative. The sound and music also blend in well with the game and help immerse you in the challenge of The Escapists 2.
It’s obvious that The Escapists 2 will not appeal to everyone. Its challenging game play may well alienate anyone hooked on spray and pray first person shooters. But for those of us who relish a mental challenge, The Escapists 2 is probably the most rewarding and entertaining game of its type. Definitely worth picking up. Go buy.
8 out of 10