|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Fun Bits|
|Release: February 22, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Blood Suggestive Themes Violence|
The control scheme here is gimmicky, yet incredibly functional. The game takes advantage of both the Vita's touchscreen and rear touch panel, as well as the gyroscopic tilt controls. Mostly everything will be accomplished through tapping or swiping, though you'll need to tilt the Vita during a few segments. Additionally, the right analog stick can be used to move the camera around the 2D stage layouts, while the left stick zooms the camera. You probably won't be using the sticks during the beginning portion of the game, but later on when the stage layouts become longer and more complex, you'll be thankful to have them. It's all surprisingly intuitive, and should feel pretty natural to anyone who's ever played games on an iPad.
Now, I did have a few minor nitpicks about the level design. There were a few instances where a character will have to be escorted to a platform that is simply too small, or where the game is overly finicky in its design. Lil, for example, tends to back up slightly when getting up after a fall, and there were places where a platform was so small that he'd back himself off the edge into a spike pit due to this animation. Instances like this can get frustrating, especially when they come at the end of a fairly lengthy stage. Thankfully, these are pretty rare, and I can only think of two or three places off the top of my head where it actually became a problem.
Escape Plan has a very clever method of keeping track of how many lives a player has spent. Lil and Laarg each have a number painted on their chest, and this shows you the amount of times you've died. For example, if Lil has died five times and is thus on his sixth life, he'll have a 6 painted on him. However, there are only room for two digits, and once you surpass 99, your character's number will be replaced by a skull and crossbones. I absolutely love this. It gives players a way to keep track of their lives without cluttering up the UI, and it fits in perfectly with the game's already quirky visual style.
Escape Plan is a puzzle game that, if not for the rear touch panel and analog stick controls, would have been very comfortable on iPads. In fact, it's a little odd that the developers chose the Vita platform over iOS. Still, it feels great on the Vita, and the art direction is enough to get lovers of puzzle games excited. There's just a cleverness to the whole thing that completely sells the experience, even if it may be a tad short for the fifteen-dollar price tag.
Editor / News Director
Date: February 17, 2012