The Escapists is a game about escaping prison. You play as one of the prisoners in a variety of different prisons. Despite its initial appearance, the game has an extreme level of depth and even the prison listed as Very Easy (Center Perks) is hard enough that I have yet to escape.
Speaking of escaping, there are many methods of doing so, but almost anything you do can be traced back to you by the guards. You can steal plastic knives from the cafeteria and cut the vent open in your cell - but they'll trace it to you. You can climb onto the roof - but you'll get sniped by the guards in the towers. You can dig a tunnel towards the outer fence - but you might leave dirt lying around and the warden will have the hole caved in.
You can perform favors for other prisoners to get money, which can be used to buy things from other prisoners. Favors might involve beating down another inmate or taking an item. Many items are illegal (red name) and you will be sent to solitary confinement if you are found with one or one is found in your desk during a cell search.
Life in The Escapists is all about keeping the guards off of you, and to do that, you must follow prison routine. In the monring is roll call - you must
attend this or the entire prison will be put into lockdown. You also have a job that you must do. The following is the routine on the first prison, Center Perks:
- Morning Roll Call
- Free Time
- Work, or Leisure if unemployed
- Evening Meal
- Evening Free Time
- Evening Roll Call
- Lights Out
You also have skills that can be used. Speed determines your attack speed, strength your attack damage, and intellect is your crafting smarts. You find crafting recipes through notes you can buy (or steal from others), and these stats can be raised in different ways but degrade over time.
But this review is getting long, and I don't want to explain every
aspect of this game, so let me list off some pros and cons.
- Very in-depth; great variety of items
- Large variety; many ways to escape
- Flavorful; lots of chatting and makes the prison seem real
- Complete feeling; feels like a full game even in early access
- Buggy; sometimes there are bugs, like guards shouting at you to get to work while you are at work or people you can't interact with whatsover, i.e. infirmary staff or the warden
- Solitary; if something is traced to you, you go into solitary regardless of current position or state - basically instant, with no opportunity to escape it
- Unclear; the game only has a vague tutorial and you must learn on your own, which CAN be fun
Let me tell you a story.
I was a prisoner at the first prison. During the first three days, I made quite a hideout. I made paper mache out of toilet paper and super glue, which I made a fake vent cover out of so I could freely climb up and down the vents without fear of leaving it open. I had a massive storage of illegal supplies, a bludgeoning weapon made out of a sock with soap inside of it, and an outfit with metal plates beneath the cloth. Most of the inmates liked me, and I constantly went around bruising people for pay/
One night, I decided to explore the vents more. I left a dummy made with pillows under the covers of my bed to fool the guards into thinking I was asleep. WIth some floss, I cut through slats in the system and saw a stash on the other side of a vent which I could not bypass. I figured I could cut through the vent and go across.
I fell into the infirmary office. The door was locked, and I hadn't had the foresight to make a key from a mold. In other words, I was trapped, and the infirmary staff always lock the door when they came in. I searched all night for a way through the vent, started chipping through the walls with a screwdriver (which broke), and as the sun rose I resigned to my fate and hid in the supply closet. After morning roll call, the prison went on lockdown. As the confused inmates reported to their cells, I received a notice that the military was on their way to the prison.
After a minute and a half, I was found and thrown into solitary.
Very in-depth, great fun, and feels complete though in early access. However, it has some standing flaws and errors which interfere with gameplay.
I rate The Escapists 8/10.