11 January 2018 (released)
25 January 2018
Quick note: I have not played the first Escapist. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
The Escapist 2 is a game that needs little explanation. You (and your friends, if you play in co-op) are a prisoner in one of many prisons. Escape using any method you can think of. Sounds simple… right?
Yeah, right. From the off, this game gives you a barebones tutorial on how to operate it, and then leaves you to figure out the rest. This is by no means a bad thing; the game is challenging you to think of your own ways to escape, rather than be guided through the ‘best’ way to do it. The only parameter for your escape is that you need to reach the edge of the map, beyond the jail walls.
How you get there is up to you, and there are many ways you can do it. It’s not just a case of getting lucky, either; you can spend time planning out your execution. Maybe one of the other prisoners has what you need? You might need to pull a few favours for whatever item you’re looking for. Perhaps you need to craft it yourself, but do you know how to craft it? Escapist is less a game of searching for that one good way out, and more a game of exploring your options.
The game’s sound and graphic design is pretty familiar to those who have played indie games with a slight retro styling to them. Still, the levels are each made with their own charm and appeal. They are all prisons of course, but Escapist 2 still manages to get creative with them, taking you onto a train, an aeroplane and even a moon base, to name a few. The variety also helps to add an extra layer of strategy to your escape attempts, as what worked in one prison might not be good enough in another.
As mentioned earlier, this game allows for co-operative efforts as well. Any of the prisons in the game can be attempted by yourself, or with a friend. However, because coming up with a plan requires communication, this can hamper attempts online to a certain extent, due to the Nintendo Switch’s lack of proper chat functions, though not the fault of the game makers. But if all you have is preset chat lines such as ‘follow’ and ‘cut’, rather than an actual chat function, then making good plans is going to be tough. Another issue I had was with the online matchmaking system. There isn’t an option to view a list of available games, so if you lack friends who play this game, you may have problems finding a game in the prison you want.
Overall though, Escapist doesn’t suffer too hard for its online issues, and the game itself is still fun. It’s a rare gem that can be a lot of fun while asking you to use your brain a little. The game has been out for a while now on other systems, but if you don’t mind playing it on your own from time to time, then Escapist 2 is a welcome addition to your Switch library.
++ Open-ended gameplay
+ Good stage variety
- Lack of proper chat
- Poor online matchmaking