Developer: Fun Bits Interactive
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Available On: Vita
Escape Plan is the only PS Vita launch title that tries to make sole use of the system’s unique abilities without the aid of traditional controls. Whether it is the gyroscope or the front and rear touchscreen, the developers have the bases covered in this touch-heavy title. However, does it even work and is it fun? The game’s basic premise is to help the two main characters, Lil and Laarg, navigate their way through a series of rooms that are booby-trapped. To do this players have to swipe their finger across the screen to create a path for the characters. The gyroscope is used at one point when the characters are inflated and you tilt the system to float them around the room. You also have to tap obstacles to interact with them or to move them out of the way.
Failure to react in time has severe consequences for the game’s characters: an immediate, gruesome death. The traps in Escape Plan can vary from unimposing bricks on the floor to giant rotating blades. Thankfully the developers made Escape Plan’s levels relatively short and simple in design. It takes a lot of trial and error to complete, but when you do it can feel quite rewarding. There are seventy-eight different puzzles to solve in the game overall. They generally have a single concept behind them such as using caffeine in coffee to make Lil run fast across a platform that falls quickly. The game scores you on a three-star scale based on time and the number of gestures that you use.
The great thing is that you can immediately retry a level for a better score, putting your experience with the level to good use. Escape Plan is a gorgeous game with its moody black and white graphics, which complements the rather dark tone of the game. That being said, the developers did not make this to be an overly violent game. It’s done in a playful style. They actually use a laugh track whenever your character dies. It reminds me a lot of an early cartoon from the 1930s. Likewise, the music is somber and the characters only make guttural noises.
I doubt that most people reading this would have given Escape Plan much consideration prior to reading this review. It’s a unique take on the puzzle world with its charming approach of black and white graphics without any voiceovers. They took risks and it paid off for the most part. It will probably only take you about five hours to beat and the controls can be a problem at times, but it mostly evens out in the end. The fact that Escape Plan is only $15 negates any gripes to near irrelevance.
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.2 out of 10