We all know that nothing could go wrong when three criminal animals attempt to rob a high-profile bank. Somehow all hell breaks loose, and the police are called. Cooped up in a jail cell for the rest of your life just won’t do, so it’s time to break free from these walls, it’s time for One Escape.
Developed by BUG-Studio and published by Ratalaika Games, this retro 2D side-scrolling platform game follows all the clichéd classic mechanics. You control each of these thieving animals as they attempt to escape from the confines of the prison. Ironically, you never control all of them simultaneously, so this should have been called Three Escape, not One Escape!
One Escape is filled with nostalgia.
There is one thing I particularly love about indie gaming, and that is the twangs of nostalgia that run through each one. This is no different as every element screams old-school and will have you gripping the controller from start to finish. There are no shock moves from BUG-Studio, and they follow the traditional recipe to the letter. This makes for a familiar, albeit well-travelled gaming experience.
The three criminals are; Dook, Gor, and Hog. A duck, gorilla, and hog, who appear to have been working out as their beach bods are on point! Their plan to rob the bank went horribly wrong, and once they get incarcerated, they are on their own. Each of them has 20 unique levels to play through (quick maths: 20*3=60). 60 levels of increasingly more challenging stages unfold before your eyes.
The fundamentals stay the same for each animal, though Gor and Hog have a special power; Gor can climb cracked walls, and Hog can smash walls and push boxes. The aim of each stage is simple; leap platforms, unlock doors, avoid guards and escape.
One Escape seems simple, but is it?
On paper, One Escape sounds simple. Yet, it has a minor Metroidvania twist. Key cards must be collected before returning to unlock doors, where switches are flipped off and then back on to progress in different directions. All of this before you consider that being caught by a guard resets that level.
It’s all about planning, patience, and stealth. This is no clearer than when CCTV is introduced. If you get caught in the line of sight, alarm bells will start ringing and all hell breaks loose. Hide in the dark or be captured, I know which I’d rather happen, but sometimes it’s out of your control.
You must further account for; electric cables that will shock you, and pulsing and permanent laser beams that burn. It’s at this point you realise that this prison means business, and they don’t want you breaking out.
Pixelated, gritty and great to look at.
Though each of the stages appears similar, they all have a unique design. It would be harsh of me to criticise BUG-Studio for their lack of creative flair, after all, how glamorous can a jail be? They allowed their creativity to flow with the character design and the several traps you’ll encounter. The game contains a reasonable amount of detail, but is limited because of its retro nature. It’s nice to look at and has a generous mix of both vibrant and earthy tones to help pique your interest.
The visuals were on a par with what I expected, but the same can’t be said for the audio. A quiet and tense soundtrack plays out in a minor tone. This adds a suspenseful atmosphere to the proceedings. It gives depth and meaning to your sneaking around in the dark, and I enjoyed it. What was also great was when you got spotted by a camera. The music would stop and sirens will blare out. Adrenaline pumps and you desperately start searching for somewhere to hide. The mixture of the two is fantastic.
Classic platform style.
Like most platform games, this one is easy to pick up. Jumping, double jumps, wall climbing, activating switches and more. None of it a challenge, but your timing and accuracy must be thought out. Failure to complete any task will probably result in death or capture, and loss of progress. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
With this risk of failure looming over your head, you’ll be retrying stages repeatedly. There are 30 wads of cash to find and 60 levels to complete, so there is a lot to make you want to return. Its core concept is repetitive, but this is overcome with the level design and different character skill sets. An easy achievement list will take you less than an hour to complete, with the game taking 4 hours to finish. At £4 this proves to be good value for money.
Is One Escape worth your time?
If you love retro games, platformers, or a casual challenge, then you’ll adore One Escape. There are enough levels to keep you busy, and ample challenge to maintain your focus. This is one old-school title that should be added to your library, so buy a copy here! Can you break out of prison? Jump, smash and climb each stage, eventually you’ll make it to the great outdoors.