Published on February 17th, 2015 | by admin
The Escapists XBox One Review
Summary: The Escapists is easily one of the most original games in a long time that successfully recreates a prison environment
Platforms: PC & XBox One (Reviewed)
Developer: Mouldy Toof Studios
Publisher: Team 17
Release: February 09, 2015
Reviewer: Kyle Sudukis
The Escapist is the latest retro indie title from developer Mouldy Toof Studios that harkens back to those classic 16-bit games of yesterday in this entertaining sandbox game which requires the player to escape from jail. The game also has some parallels to the crafting system of Minecraft (slightly) and I guess the graphics which have the player creating a plethora of different items in order to escape their confinement. There are also six prisons to escape from for the player.
Playing this game brought back memories of the TV series Prison Break and the film The Shawshank Redemption with the theme of escaping from prison as you explore the jail while going about your daily activities in order to reduce any suspicion that you are trying to escape.
Given this, it does create a sense of realism as you go about your day to day routine in the prison, all while trying to plan your ultimate escape. There is also an element of timing involved which is just as important as all the items that you create and how you dispose of any items that may lead the guards to discovering your escape route.
There is even an element of role playing involved that requires players to build statistics like their fitness and intelligence that is done through exercising or studying to increase your prowess to escape. On the physical side, if you increase your strength, it allows you additional strength to interact with the environment and more importantly, help with those all too common prison brawls. Intelligence on the other hand allows you to craft more elaborate items which basically increases the chances of performing a successful break.
You can even perform side quests for other inmates and do prison jobs to keep not only the guards appeased but also access to other areas where you may find the right piece of equipment to help with your escape. In terms of controls, The Escapists feel just right on the XBox One controller which makes exploring this world quite easy, especially when it comes to creating items to help your character escape. However crafting is where the magic of The Escapists is found and allows you to turn a common prison item into a weapon or even a shovel to help you dig your escape route.
By completing side quests and engaging with other prisoners, you can purchase additional items that cannot be found in your usual patrol of prison so it’s a careful balancing act as you need allies but don’t want them to know too much. Allies can also be used to distract other prisoners, guards and form a pseudo jail posse. So yes, there is a form of micromanagement involved in the game that does add to the realism of the title. Compared to the PC, the XBox One version is missing the prison editor which would have been a great additional to the console version.
Another highlight of the game is that there are a plethora of ways to escape the prison such as old school tunnelling digging to disguising yourself as a guard. The developers give you all the tools and people required to escape. Whether you want to be a lone wolf manipulator or more a group player, it’s all available to the gamer. With that said, the game can be quite difficult at times, especially when you get busted carrying the wrong items or when one of your plans don’t go according to plan. It’s definitely a cat and mouse element involved as you slowly push the boundaries of the prison system.
Graphically, the title does look retro but it suits the crazy theme of this game of performing the ultimate prison break. The 16-bit atmosphere pays homage to the games of yesteryear and there’s some neat effects included in the game with its sprite-like graphics. Sound effects also assist with the overall immersion factor. Overall, graphics and audio really compliments the whacky nature behind this game.
The Escapists is easily one of the most original games in a long time that successfully recreates a prison environment. I love the inclusion of the RPG factor as you explore the prison, looking for the best escape paths possible. Character interaction is another highlight and you really need to use both the people and the environment to your advantage. The retro graphics are really stylised and suit the premise well so if you’re looking for something unique, than The Escapists game definitely fits that category.