We bet most of you have not played a game that looks so simple and yet is so rich as The Escapists.
Behind the 16-bit style graphics lurks a challenging, engrossing adventure that sees you try to break out of prison. But this isn’t a linear story. Instead it’s scripted like a soap opera in which each level involves controlling a different character, in a different prison.
You start off in a pretty lax, low security place. But, we have to admit, we found even this escape pretty tricky.
First you have to learn the ropes: when you need to do your job in the laundry, when roll call is, when to head to dinner and so on.
You’ll then start talking to fellow inmates, stirring up trouble or sourcing contraband to earn extra cash. Maybe you’ll beef up in the gym to make yourself more useful in a scrap.
Then, you’ll learn about crafting in the prison’s internet room, find out how to make fence cutters out of nail files or copy guards’ keys using putty. It all starts to sound strangely real for a game that appears to be so cute.
And what really brings this home is that (virtual) days of planning can be ruined by one misstep. Miss roll call, try to cut the wire fence too early or even block your toilet with too much contraband and you can end up in solitary confinement. All your tasty contraband is then confiscated.
You need patience. But, wow, when a plan comes together, escaping in The Escapists is a real thrill.