I went into this game wanting to love it. I was a HUGE fan of Limbo, and many comparisons have been made between the two games. Which is a complete sham because aside from both games using the same color scheme, they’ve got nothing else in common. The worst part that they don’t have in common is that Limbo was fun, while Escape Plan is so dull, it couldn’t even provoke my famous gamer rage.
The premise, like most indie games, is very simplistic. There’s an evil guy, and he wants to kill your characters. The game breaks fourth wall to reveal that you will be the silent accomplice to these two “lovable” characters. Without you to guide these simple creatures, they’d otherwise just stand around and wait to be killed. And that would be a real shame, that idiots die when someone else could save them and let them breed future idiots. Why doesn’t anyone think of the shallow end of the gene pool, huh?
Anywho, let’s start with the biggest problem, the scoring system, which requires an extremely low number of gestures to get a positive score. This despite the fact that your fingers will hit the back touch pad or the front screen all the time in your efforts to find some way to hold the Vita for best effect for each level, resulting in false gestures. In theory, I could go back and replay these levels to get a better star rating, like on Angry Birds. But that assumes that I had fun playing the level once and care to try for a better score. This was true of Angry Birds, but since I didn’t like the levels in Escape Plan the first time through, I see no reason to try for a better score. In fact, I’d rather masturbate with a cheese grater than play any of these levels over. It’s really that dull.
Next, let’s talk about levels that require pinching a tiny character the size of a housefly to make them fart and speed across trap-rigged areas. (Side note, the sound effects in this game suck. From the canned audience to the machinery sounds, everything sounds like it came off a low grade sound effects CD.) I can’t see my finger through the device, obviously, and the tiny size of the character Lil means I spent more time trying to get a hold of the character than I did navigating the courses. Even when I was sure I was pinching the right spot, my finger wold be off a micrometer, resulting in two extra gestures, and still no movement from the helium-bloated Lil.
Then there’s the levels where you must tap items in the front, and then the back in rapid order. There’s no comfortable way to hold the Vita to accomplish this, and since the items that must be taped from the back are so small, you can count on killing your character with your inaccuracy more than any of these so-called diabolical traps.
AND THEN there’s level where you must herd sheep by tapping the back “wall”, move electric rods by tapping the front, shepherd your sheep safely through a long fall AND operate the screen camera using the right stick. Even if you somehow manage all of this, your right hand is forced to hold the whole weight of the unit on three fingers. This is so, so not comfortable. And, did I mention that the game regularly shifts the camera back to the characters, even if you were across the level trying to herd the world’s stupidest sheep?
About halfway through the game, I found the skip button, and afterward just made a few attempts at levels before skipping them. Every level idea that the designers must have thought was clever is instead clumsy and a poor use of the Vita’s hardware. I said on Twitter, about the only reason I think you should get Escape Plan is to see the WORST implementation of touch controls for a Vita game. About the only other thing I can think to mention is, the fat guy, Laarg, got off real light in the game. At the end of my playing for real, (before Skipopalooza started, that is) Laarg had 25 deaths to Lil’s 68. So, clearly the folks who made this game hate skinny people. They also may think fat people are mentally retarded. Or, that’s the message I’m choosing to take away from this game.
I really can’t think of anything nice to say about this disaster. Oh wait, I liked the selections for background music. Also the end credits song is a personal favorite of mine, the remake of Lean on Me by Club Nouveau. Oh, and during the credits, you can bounce the characters into each other, which was more fun than most of the game. Yeah, that’s about all I can think of that’s nice about this miserable pain in the ass. (That pain is my wallet complaining, by the way.)
Dull, uninspired, and a complicated mess to play, I give Escape Plan 1 star out of 5, and I’d recommend it only to people I don’t like.