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Escapee Go! - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Escapee Go!

DSiWare | Gevo Entertainment | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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5th November 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

It's funny how even the $2 offerings on the DSi Shop can match or even exceed the quality seen in the more expensive titles. I never get tired of seeing how some developers can take seemingly simple concepts and flesh them out to the point that they even come close to trumping retail experiences. Escapee Go! is one such game. Not only is the game very appealing and fun to play, but it so happens that it's also one of the best $2 titles released for the service. 

    You take the role of Claire, a protagonist shrouded in mystery. As you begin Story Mode and the screen fades in, you'll awaken and discover that she has been endowed with psychic powers. Now, she must use these powers to escape from a lab full of goons and beyond, whilst also uncovering the true extent of her new-found abilities. The game's action is narrated to you by means of dialog boxes where an unknown voice will brief you in on the situation at hand, and guide you to your escape. The entire plot is quite vague and mysterious, immediately capturing the player's attention.

    The goal in each stage is to get to the Exit as quickly as possible. In order to get there, you'll need to first find an item to grant access to this spot. Anything from a crowbar to a keycard will be hidden somewhere in each area, forcing you to go on a brief, yet dangerous, search. Guiding Claire to her escape won't be easy - there are tons of enemies running around to stop you from fleeing the scene. You must avoid all contact with said troublesome fellows should you have any hope of escaping. And because you don't have a map, you'll need to be vigilant, preparing yourself for the unexpected as an enemy suddenly appears on the screen.

Your range of vision will largely depend on two things: the path you're on, and the speed you're moving at. As you walk along various pathways that make up an entire stage, light beams will shine along the horizontal and/or vertical axis that you're travelling along. The distance to which this range covers is dependent upon your moment. If you stand in place, you'll have a wide area to survey, but as you begin to walk, this gets smaller, and when you begin to run, it'll shrink to the point that you'll be at a slight disadvantage as you make haste.

    No matter how hard you may try to avoid confrontation, it's bound to happen. And when it does, you'll need to know what to do to prevent capture. Essentially you have two secret weapons at your disposal. The first was touched on already, the ability to sprint or run. On the touch screen is a Stamina Meter which affects Claire's ability to run. If you have energy in the meter, by holding the B Button, you can begin to make a mad dash. Whenever you're walking at a steady pace, the energy will gradually fill up in the meter automatically. However, if you're not careful and you use this feature carelessly, you can run out at inopportune times. Thus, wise use of this ability is important if you hope to gain some ground when you’re being chased.

    The second involves the aforementioned psychic powers that Claire has. Within each area you’ll find one or two items that can be collected to give you an edge when you need it most. Once you grab one, you can press the A Button to activate its effects. Depending on the pick-up, you'll be able to slow down enemies, teleport to a random spot on the map, stun enemies temporarily, or acquire expanded vision. These are all great items that you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for as you make your daring exit. There's quite a bit of thinking involved in terms of knowing when to use items or sprint and when to let up to recover. As a whole, both of these aspects help shape the game very much, giving it a strong strategic element.

The levels in the game are based off of familiar environments you'd expect in a city. You'll travel to a warehouse, the downtown core, a sewer, and more. In addition, each area also features environmental obstacles such as hedges, and crates, situated in such a way that evasion is both encouraged, and necessary for your survival. As enemies give chase, sometimes running around a building is just what you need to get them to lose their trail.

    Escapee Go! looks quite nice, I'd say. It plays much like an arcade flash game that's been done quite well. The game is viewed in top-down format, with visuals that look fairly polished and detailed. The music in the game is pretty suspenseful, suiting gameplay almost perfectly. As you break out of the confines of the lab and beyond, you'll be treated to brief cutscenes that develop the story a bit. In addition, Claire will sport new outfits so she can "fit in" better.

    Completing the Story Mode won't take too long, but the entire romp is fun and even quite tense at times. The last level in particular was pretty tough, and a modest conclusion to the game. When you reach the final escape point, you'll be done, prompting the Credit Roll to begin. Afterward, your Escape Time (i.e., the overall amount of time you spent to clear the mode) will be recorded on the high-score leaderboard. You can feel pretty motivated to go through this adventure a second time, either for the purpose of beating your old time, or desiring more of a challenge by playing on a harder difficulty. 

Once you make it to the last level for the first time, you'll unlock Survival Mode. Here you can play any of the levels you encountered in Story Mode and aim for an impressive time. This time, though, there's no exit spot, so you'll need to dodge capture as long as you can. Plus, your record will only count if you survive for a minimum of 1 minute, which is actually harder than it might sound.

    There's also a Multiplayer component for those who own the game. You can organize a match for up to 4 players, where one player will take the role of the Psychic Huntress, giving chase to capture the other players. There are 3 different maps to play on, and 7 different characters to choose from. Even some of the enemies that chased you in the normal game appear and can be used for play, which I thought was a nice surprise. Sure Download Play would've made this even more accessible, but for a budget game to even have multiplayer is very commendable.

    Overall, Escapee Go is easily one of the best ways to spend 200 Points on the service because you get such great value for your money. There's a lot here that will keep you busy if you're feeling motivated, and given how enjoyable the mechanics are, chances are that you will feel that way.

25/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Fun gameplay mechanics, power-ups add variety to gameplay, strategy and quick thinking involved in avoiding capture
Presentation 8/10 - Looks really good, suitable music, nice environments, fairly polished visuals, brief cutscenes
Enjoyment 4/5 - Lots of fun, engaging gameplay, feel very determined to see the game to its completion, has its challenging moments as well
Extra Content 5/5 - Story Mode will take some time, Stage Select, Survival mode, wireless multiplayer (no download play, though)

Equivalent to a score of ??% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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