Review: Escape Plan

Escape Plan is a puzzle game for the Playstation Vita with a unique sense of style.  Escape Plan has a dark yet humorous atmosphere that quickly grows on you.  It is not a long game but it is a fun one that uses the Vita well.

In Escape Plan you control Lil and Laarg as they try to escape from what seems to be a mix of a prison and factory.  The game is broken into 78 levels. These levels vary from less than a minute to about 3 minutes at most, with most being right around a minute to a minute and a half.  You guide Lil and Laarg through these levels by simply dragging your finger over them in the direction you wish them to go.  To make them stop just tap on them.  There are many things in the environment you can interact with as well using the touch controls.   For example you may need to move a box out of Lil or Laarg’s way.  Just tap on it and it will slide backwards.  Maybe you need a platform for them to stand on.  Tap on the back of the screen to make pillar slide forward from recesses in the back wall.  All very simple and intuitive controls.

Lil and Laarg each have special skills as well.  Laarg can do a ground smash that lets him break through wood barriers.  He can also slam forward to break through weak walls.  Lil can drink coffee, which allows him to do dashes to get through things quickly.  Lil can also inhale gas and blow up like a balloon so he can float upward as you twist the Vita to guide him from side to side.  You can propel Lil forward by pinching him, squeezing him on the front and back screen together.  He will then fart and get propelled forward and yes, fart is the actual name given to it in the instructions.

There are also enemies you can distract by tapping on the back screen to make them run over and look at.  There are also sheep you can herd and use to activate pressure plates.  All of this plays together to make puzzles in which you guide Lil and/or Laarg from one part of the room to an exit in another part.  Often you will die, which there is no real penalty for in the game.  The level reloads quickly and restarts the timer for the level so you can still earn the top score for the level.  This is good since a few levels will take a bit of experimentation to get through.  You can see how many times you have killed Lil and Laarg by looking at the number on their chest.  This represents what incarnation of them you are on.  I ended the game having killed Lil 60 times and Laarg 53 times, making me glad I am not them.

The puzzles vary from simple to more complex with none being too difficult.  The levels can be as simple as just pushing out platforms for one of the characters to walk on, up to having to guide them up and down using an inflated Lil and herding sheep to trigger plates so you can float away through a hatch.  The biggest challenge I had with the puzzles was often my own fingers blocking the screen, as you had to do several things at once.  At one point you have to press on the screen to block four holes in pipes.  This is very awkward and makes it almost impossible to hold the Vita as you do it.  I had to put it on the arm of my chair so I could press on all four holes and finish the level.  This is probably Escape Plan’s biggest flaw, making you block the screen with your own hands.  The other big issue I had was the screen scrolling as I was holding something so that I was no longer holding it.  This was frustrating and often lead to me redoing the level.

These are minor issues overall and do not hinder Escape Plan from being a fun game.  The sense of humor is great and the atmosphere very well done.  The puzzles are easy but still engrossing.  The short levels make it easy to pick up and play for just a bit, making it ideal for the Vita.  Overall if you are looking for something different to download and try out on your Vita I recommend giving Escape Plan a try.

 

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Playstation Vita
Time to completion: 3 hours
Trophies Earned: 7/13
Price Bought at: $14.99
Current Price: $14.99 via PSN
Recommend Purchase Price: $14.99
Why you should buy it: You can enjoy a dark sense of humor and enjoy puzzling through things.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You can’t stand thinking even a little and feel that killing characters made of pixels is evil.

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About Shawn Gardner

I have been playing video games since I was a kid. My family owned a Pong and I even bought the original Nintendo, with R.O.B., with my confirmation money. I have played games through many console generations. Currently I enjoy playing games mostly on my PS3 and PSVita. I enjoy many game types but prefer coop modes or single player