Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Escape Plan for PS4 and PS Vita

I imagine that it’s more than a little frustrating for loyal PS Vita owners to see a large number of the console exclusives re-released for the PS4. As a non-Vita owner however, I’m very happy. Escape Plan is a fun little game, but one than never feels like it realises its full potential.

The protagonists of Escape Plan, Lil and Laarg, have been captured by the evil Bakuki. They must make their escape. Err, that’s it. As I said recently in my Teslagrad review, I do like it when simple games like this give context to your actions without over focusing on plot. Escape Plan does this well, and Lil and Laarg are charming enough for there to be some investment in their fate.

Escape Plan is a puzzle game, made up of several dozen levels. The objective is to get the character in the level, or both, to the exit without dying in a comically gruesome manner. The characters are started and stopped then set off on their way, Lemmings style, while the player moves a curser around the screen tapping items away or pulling them out to get Lil or Laarg to the exit. This starts out pretty simple, such as just tapping tripping hazards out of the way or pulling out platforms over chasms, but it gets more complex as it goes on, with dangers such as electrical circuits or foes with blowguns that must be blocked. The levels involving both are interesting, with Lil having the ability to drink coffee and activate a mini-speed boost and Laarg being able to smash through obstacles or pound the floor. It’s fun, but never particularly challenging or as complex as I was expecting it to. Just as I thought Escape Plan was going to open up with some larger and more challenging levels, the game ends. That’s not to say what was there wasn’t fun, but it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity. The controls are a little fiddly too; it’s very clear this is a game designed for a touch screen, and although the PS4 trackpad does a decent job of substituting for it, I imagine the Vita original would still be the definitive version.

Where it slightly lacks in substance Escape Plan makes up for in style. The game is black and white, with Lil and Laarg bursting with personality despite the limited story. The soundtrack was my favourite part though, with a laid back jazzy feel to much of the original music. My favourite element was the use of popular classical pieces during certain levels, which made them feel a bit more exciting.

Escape Plan is a lightweight game which could have been more than it is, but that doesn’t mean that what is there is bad. I’m probably biased because I got it for ‘free’ with PS+, but I enjoyed Escape Plan.download

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