Escape Plan Review
Escape Plan Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Fun Bits
Pub: SCEA
Release: February 22, 2012
Players: 1
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.

Escape Plan Screenshot

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.

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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.

By
Josh Wirtanen
Editor / News Director
@joshuajwirtanen
Date: February 17, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
The whole game is black and white, but the incredible art direction makes it work wonderfully.
4.5
Control
Gimmicky, yet incredibly functional. My only complaint is that the rear touch panel didn't feel as accurate as it could have.
4.1
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A great mix of music paired with some delicious sound effects. There are no real speaking parts here, but Lil and Laarge's grunts and cries are a lot of fun to hear.
3.3
Play Value
You could probably get through the entire game in a few hours, and there's very little incentive to go back and replay the puzzles once they're over. That said, the first time through is an absolute blast.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Guide Lil and Laarg to safety by using your influence, skill and brainpower to help them escape from a dark labyrinth of irreverent puzzles and traps.
  • Help these two hapless heroes by using the front touch pad, rear pad, motion sensor and more to find a plan of escape.
  • Breathe a sigh of relief as they scrape through to freedom...and giggle if they come to a deliciously messy end. Luckily, helping Lil and Laarg is as fun to play and watch in victory as it is in the hilarious agony of defeat.

  • Screenshots / Images
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