Escape Plan tells the story of two gooey black things – Lil (the small one) and Laarg (the big guy) with round white faces trying to escape from what appears to be their place of work, drawing inspiration from the single-area-per-puzzle feel of, among other things, Abe’s Oddysee and Exoddus.
The scope here is obviously slightly larger than those games however (well Abe’s original adventure did come out 14 years ago), with the game being rendered in real time (as opposed to Abe’s pre-rendered style). Additionally, many of the levels allow the player to scroll around with the right stick to view the level beyond where the player is located.[drop]The key mechanic of the game requires the player to swipe the front touch screen to direct Lil or Laarg (some levels you’re one, some the other, and in some you must switch between the characters using the shoulder buttons) to the room’s exit.
In addition, the player must use both the touch screen on the front to push objects away from you, and the touch pad at the back to push objects towards you. In doing so, you clear obstacles in the path of Lil and Laarg and enable them to escape to safety (or at least to the next hazard-filled room, you’d think someone would tell health and safety about this place).
Needless to say, escaping isn’t easy; falling, getting electrocuted, being crushed or shot at are all apparently valid methods of keeping employees from leaving (someone should call the union), and it’s down to your sense of timing, and playing with different areas of the environment to keep our guys from getting hurt.
Occasionally, there are gas machines around, some of which allow your guys to fart (by pressing them on both the front and the back of the Vita, obviously), giving them a speed burst to get passed the faster obstacles.[drop2]Others allow you to inflate your character (I only saw this in action upon Lil) and controls then switch to using the Six Axis tilt to control where he floats off to. It mixes things up nicely and keeps the game from getting too repetitive.
At the end of each room you’re given a score, and awarded from one to three stars for your efforts (fans of mobile gaming will already be more than familiar with the system by now) which gives the player the ability to go back and replay levels they didn’t do so well on.
The main mechanic of the game is so far the most innovative use of the back touch area (with possibly the exception of Little Deviants) that I’ve seen so far; knocking things back and forward from both sides of the device takes a couple of minutes to get used to, but soon becomes second nature.
Overall, the charming black-and-white aesthetic, innovative controls and quirky gameplay left a rather pleasant impression – I think it shall be one of the first games I get for the Vita.
Original article by Kev Adsett.