Join Stinky, Curly and Moe in this One Escape review, from Bug Studio and Ratalaika Games, and make Tango and Cash look like a couple of cretins. I can’t remember the Three Stooges’ actual names – it was before my time and a different continent.
Instead, it’s Dook, Gor and Hog, and aside from Dook looking like Howard the Duck on roids, they aren’t comic relief, but hardboiled cons looking to escape the slammer. Alas, this is a one-sided event, and you have to get each crim out of 20 enclosed stages on your own. Despite the line-up, it’s a one-player game.
But as you progress through each claustrophobic stage, it makes sense that One Escape gameplay is a one-player experience, as working with someone else would be a ballache. Besides, each of the characters has their own abilities that may make the others feel inadequate and leave them behind.
Void of any backstory other than a job that went wrong, each individual in One Escape has to form their own prison break without any maps or MacGyver tools. Dook, the duck, can crawl through air ducts, Gor, the gorilla, can climb particular walls to elevated positions, and Hog is a warthog (a little like Bebop from TMNT) that can punch through brittle walls, guards, and move boxes. He used to work in IKEA.
There will be foot patrols with a familiar optical cone, so you know where they’re looking, as well as cameras that do the same thing. Throughout are multiple switches that turn off some of the cameras, or laser-infused traps, as well as colour-coded key cards to open doors, and several hazards such as exposed electrics.
Stealth is of the utmost, and that typically means staying out of sight. If eyeballed by security, your character can hide in the shadows until it’s safe, though you should have used that method in the first place, you fool. There aren’t that many guards on a single level, but there will be several more that appear through some security doors when the alarm goes off. Make a mental note that they won’t disappear until you drop some heat. A gauge appears on screen, and the only way to remove it is by hiding in the shadows. Simply staying out of sight does not reduce it.
Each character has a slightly different playstyle that mixes the game up a bit due to their specific skill. Still, it’s predominantly the same goal of avoiding the waves of enemies and jumping and double jumping to safety. The latter takes a little bit of getting used to as it’s pretty common to misjudge a distance and land on something you shouldn’t. If you die, you repeat the stage.
That’s easily the worst part of One Escape. In the early Dook stages, the levels were pretty short, but there were lots of backtracking moments to pick up keys, and I’m sure I counted three or four repeat runs from one side of the screen to another. If you make a mistake, or one of the guard(dogs) see you, it’s back to the start. It’s a bit irritating, but the relatively easy difficulty means you’ll stick with it. In fact, I finished Dook’s ‘saga’ in one go, but missed a couple of collectables.
When you have finished a stage, you can jump back in; the only caveat is you don’t know which levels hold the collectables you missed. There are ten for each character in One Escape, and they all have twenty levels apiece.
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In short, I intended to play through ‘a little bit’ of One Escape to get a feel, then when time permits, a bit more, and so on, until finishing/gaining enough material to provide some thoughts. What happened next was completing one third in a short space of time, telling the family to get stuffed – they can watch The Fon-demand The Winter Soldier later, it’s on demand – as I’m bustin’ outta jail in One Escape. A surprisingly enjoyable indie title that probably isn’t high up on the replay list once you’ve finished all three parts, but well worth the time investing in it
- The special abilities of each con is unique.
- Pretty engaging and hard to put down once you start.
- 60 levels in all.
- Arcade-like charm, where you don’t have to pump in a wad of money.
- Pure and simple gameplay!
- Some backtracking to pad out a level.
- Easy trophies also mean not much replay value.
- Double jump can be a bit inaccurate.
- Return to the beginning of the stage upon being caught!