You may consider yourself a lone wolf. Someone that needs no help from anyone, as the world presents no problems for you to overcome. What will you do when that day occurs? When you can’t overcome the hurdles in front of you. Will you swallow your pride and ask for help? Or will you attempt to fix the issue yourself and fail miserably? These are the questions that are presented to you in Escape from Life Inc.
Developed by PowerBurger and published by Sometimes You, this old-school 2D platform game has taken influence from the much loved game The Lost Vikings. Escape From Life Inc is all about teamwork, communication, and problem solving. It’s not a game that will punish the amateur player, but it contains enough challenge to keep everyone entertained.
Escape From Life Inc is all about the best animal for the job.
The puzzles present themselves in many weird ways. You must; flick switches, move boxes, activate pressure plates, turn on buttons and more. Each of the tasks requires a certain animal to achieve it. Your team is a mismatch of creatures; a stubborn and blunt Eagle, a failure of a reindeer, and a genetically modified fish.
The game opens with Bob; he begins as a normal fish. He starts his day off like any other and he swims off to school. It then flits to Ern, a master pilot bird who joins the Eagle Air Corps. And finally, you pan to Rick the stuttering reindeer. He doesn’t make the grade for Santa, and here you discover Rudolph is an arse. Each of their days takes an unexpected turn when the spaceship of Life Inc swoops in and grabs each of them with its claw. You are now prisoners of this alien lab, and your only way to survive is to escape from Life Inc!
A game with familiar mechanics.
With 5 chapters to play through, and a maze-like world to explore, you’ll easily get lost on your way to the headquarters. You will encounter some odd creatures on your path to the exit, some will be friends and others foes. This surreal environment is easy to explore, but leaves you confused and laughing at what you discover. Your first bout of laughter will come at the expense of little Bob. For reasons unknown, the aliens have genetically modified him to have legs. This innocent fish’s life has changed forever.
For all its unusual imagery, and weird creatures, the gameplay feels familiar. The core mechanics are tried and tested and will be a comfortable experience for veterans of the genre. Rick uses his antlers to flip switches and smash through cracked walls. Bob is the only creature who can touch the water. And Ern soars high in the air, collecting gold rings and activating otherwise unreachable switches. As the game progresses, you will be blessed with further skills that allow you access to secret areas.
Every element of Escape From Life Inc is a pleasure to experience. The well written and comical text based dialogue will make you chuckle. The odd creatures will leave you frowning with confusion, but smiling with joy. And each of the simple puzzles was a joy to solve. However, the straightforward gameplay takes a twist in the latter segment of the story.
It’s no longer about your own survival.
The unlikely team of three heroes starts out as a selfish bunch. Their survival is all that concerns them. This is until their plan is thwarted by the alien leader. You must enlist the help of others to fulfil their desire to escape from Life Inc. The second act follows the same mechanics as the first, but you are now tasked with rescuing 20 animals. These have been visible at all times, but to this point they were part of the scenery. You must revisit every section you have been to, collecting every animal you come across.
It’s a wonderful twist to the gameplay and reinforces the teamwork theme. There are approximately 40 creatures to find, alongside several pieces of fruit. These form the collectable parts of the game and act as a welcome distraction from the platforming action.
Retro looks and a colour explosion.
Using a simple pixelated style, the sprites and the environment have a basic retro style that is pleasing on the eyes. Every part of the world is filled with bright colours and you won’t get bored with looking at it. It doesn’t use the power of the current gen of consoles, but it matters not; the game runs smoothly and is a joy to play.
If you consider that the artistic approach is garish and in your face, it was surprising that the audio didn’t follow suit. An upbeat and classical soundtrack accompanies everything you do. This uplifting audio fills you with hope and is at odds with the situation you find yourself in. You will identify each of your characters’ personalities through the noises that they make. Each has their own sounds for when they speak, and though they are slightly annoying, it works well with the old-school approach.
Escape From Life Inc is easy to master.
Even though you have three different creatures to control its surprisingly easy to master. Each has their own abilities that must be understood to progress. Within 10 minutes you will be an expert in handling each animal and every action will come to you naturally. The simplicity of this title is down to its familiar mechanics and its uncomplicated approach. This is a family-friendly game that can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages.
I’ve already mentioned the collectables that add an extra layer of complexity to the gameplay. This vastly increases the replay value and ensures you want to return. I enjoyed every part of this, but was disappointed by the lack of co-op play. The PC version allows for multiple players to take each role. Including it would be a welcome addition to the console edition. As a solo player, you’ll be expected to take on a small achievement list that asks you to explore the alien craft. If you wish to obtain the 100% status, you’ll need to set aside around 5 hours. At £7 this proves to be good value for money.
Will you want to help the animals escape from Life Inc?
From the moment you switch this on, you will vie for the animals to succeed. Their comical ways and strong desires are infectious and will make you smile throughout. It’s no nonsense approach and familiar mechanics make this a pleasure to play. With nice retro graphics and uplifting music, you will have an enjoyable time solving each puzzle you encounter. I loved my time with this and recommend that you buy it here! Can you help the animals escape their new prison? Will the aliens continue to steal animals and succeed in their evil plans? Leap the platforms, and rescue each creature. You must become the hero of the hour!