Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Escapee GO!

Escapee GO! is exactly the type of game I want to see more of. It's simple, fun, and has high replay value. You play as Claire, a woman who wakes up in a room next to a dead body with no memory of anything but her name. A mysterious voice starts speaking to her from inside her head. It serves as her guide during the escape process, telling her exactly where she needs to go and what objects she needs to find. The first room is simple, you collect a red keycard, walk a few steps, and open the door. This is the general format for every level. Find an item or flip a switch and make it to the exit. It sounds like a simple game because it is, but it's the parameters the developers put in place that make it fun.

Stamina is the main resource, and should be managed well. There are a number of pursuers searching for you throughout each maze, and without stamina, you can't run, and they'll gain on you. Claire's vision is also limited. The game only allows you to see what Claire sees, not the entire field. Every corner turned is a risk. Spend too much time in a long corridor and chances are you'll be spotted from afar. Like Pac Man, it helps to turn corners often.

There are sixteen levels in all, with the early ones featuring fairly simple mazes, enemies that do no more than run, and no powerups. As you progress, various new enemies join the mouse hunt, and powerups are introduced one at a time. Claire's pursuers include an FBI agent, a soldier, and the huntress. FBI agents are the fastest of the bunch and I suspect they're also better at tracking, though I haven't played the game enough to be sure how sophisticated the AI really is. Soldiers will shoot nets to stop you in your tracks, and the huntress can stun you with her psychic ability. Claire is also psychic and can use a number of abilities by collecting powerups. These temporary powerups strengthen her vision, slow down all pursuers, teleport her to a random location on the map, stun pursuers with a screech, give infinite stamina, or increase speed.

Time is the other major resource that needs to be managed. Sure you can save time by running, but will you be able to escape the pursuer right around the corner once your stamina's depleted? It's a constant juggling act, and it kept me on edge the entire time. I actually jumped the very first time I was spotted. The music is frantic and really drills in the feeling of urgency, making it that much more rewarding whenever you successfully guide Claire to the exit.

The game features the standard three difficulty levels of easy, normal, and hard. It took me around an hour to play through it on normal. The later levels are fairly large and complicated to navigate, and some took me nearly half a dozen tries to complete. After escaping the sixteenth level, the game records your final time, inviting you to try for an even better one. Also, Survivor mode is unlocked. Here you can choose to play at any one of the sixteen levels, but instead of going for the exit, your goal is to survive as long as possible while collecting orbs to increase your time and avoiding the multiple trackers on your scent. The game supports four player local wireless play, but each person has to have their own copy. This isn't a big deal seeing as the game only costs two bucks. Even if you have nobody to play against, there's still plenty to do in single player. 

Released: 2010-01-25
Publisher: Gevo Entertainment
Developer: Gevo Entertainment 


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