Like any good thief or con artist, the key to success is always a well thought out plan. However, in most circumstances a good plan won’t always result in a perfection execution. This rings true in The Escapists, in that even if you’ve planned out exactly how you’re going to escape and when to do it, you can’t always expect that you won’t run into any big hiccup that derails everything you’ve worked hard for.
After streaming the game for the better of 9 hours during my 3 playthroughs on Twitch, I hadn’t escaped the first and easiest prison, but I was determined.
Determined to sacrifice hours of my life, deprive myself of sleep, all to complete one section and entertain those who were watching. Spending an hour just figuring out what the hell to do, I came to the conclusion that Team17 had drawn inspiration from, FromSoftware. Thrown into the deep end after a very short tutorial on the basic game mechanics, and are expected to escape.
Running around performing daily tasks as to not raise suspicion with the guards, helping out other inmates to gain their trust, working out, stealing from inmates desks and more. Crafting items that will aid you in escape, hiding contraband as to not have them taken off you if you get knocked out or thrown into solitary confinement.
For a simple top down 8-bit game, it is extremely difficult and quite addictive.
After figuring out what to do and crafting a shovel, when I started digging in my cell at night, I had forgotten to cover the hole with my desk, thus being caught and losing all my items. The next time I dug, I had acquired a guards outfit and a strong shovel through crafting, only to dig right in front of a guard tower as they hadn’t gone to sleep yet. Scrapping the digging and going for cutting the fence, I had all the tools needed to simply cut and escape, however again I didn’t think to wait for the guards in the outside towers to fall asleep.
All this over the course of 9 hours and even then I still hadn’t discovered the other ways I could have escaped the prison. Crafting duplicate coloured keys to open certain locked doors or climbing through vents to easily move around the prison at night. The possibilities were endless and I still needed to go about my daily routine. Working my job to earn cash, fulfilling tasks for other inmates to gain trust and have the ability to purchase items off of them.
Being in line for roll call morning and night, attending breakfast, lunch and dinner, exercising, and also shower time. Of course, during some of the tasks a player can choose to shakedown cell desks, and steal items with no penalty unless caught. Just don’t deprive yourself of the ability to increase your intelligence, speed and health as they are required for harder prison if you wish to escape.
It’s crazy how a game like this can be so addictive, but it’s a testament to the fact that no matter how many times you fail, it makes succeeding that much sweeter. Like watching others player Super Meat Boy or Spelunky on Twitch, they might not be good at the time or take ages to complete a section but it’s the journey that matters. Being there through the tough and intense times makes for a great experience and even interacting with the person you’re watching giving them advice and hoping they succeed makes for great viewing.
I’m really happy that games like this are available on consoles, because I can come home after a day of work or gym, sit down turn on my Xbox One or PS4 and relax for a few hours in frustration. With in-built Twitch apps in both consoles making it easier for gamers to share content, it can get very time consuming watching others try to complete prisons you took hours to do.