This is not a gritty exploration of prison life and how, with a little love, people can redeem and reinvent themselves.
Nope, just like the first Escapists game, it’s a cheeky, cartoony open-ended game about prison life in which doing errands to earn cash and contraband can lead to a cobbled together escape plan of your own choosing.
Except this being a sequel, everything’s been expanded and enhanced, with more ways to escape and more types of prison to leg it from. There's even a multiplayer mode that allows you to plot alongside a pal.
But before you make your daring escape, there are the rhythms and routines of prison life to attend to. Miss roll call, breakfast, dinner, work or shower time and you’ll raise suspicions among the guards. The Escapists 2 is about bending those rules – by gobbling down lunch before dashing off to rummage around another cell for items, for example.
In your ‘free’ time you can get even more done, completing errands for other prisoners or just casing the joint for potential escape routes.
Gather together the tools to craft a shovel and you might be able to dig your way to freedom. Or maybe you’ll snip your way through that weirdly unguarded strip of perimeter fencing with some handcrafted cutters. Or, Shawshank-style, you can gradually chip through a wall, covering it up with a poster when the guards come calling.
It’ll all go wrong at some point, of course. If the guards dish out a beating you’ll need a bit of time to recover in a hospital bed. Get caught doing something really naughty and you’ll be put in solitary for a while to cool off. But then it’s back to the old routines: roll call, breakfast, work, workouts, dinner, shower, bed. And time to start plotting again.
The Escapists 2’s greatest trick is how it makes you feel like a criminal mastermind – it rewards you for hustling and bending every rule you can bend in a really satisfying way. Cunning, crafty players shouldn’t hesitate to download.