All Vita owners should consider adding this game to their PSN cart[/quote-left]Escape Plan is a perfect example of the games that the Vita needs if it wishes to compete with the iPhone. Sure it costs $15 and not a buck but Fun Bits’ greyscaled puzzler is fantastic in short bursts and just might replace the likes of Tiny Wings as your go-to train game.
In Escape Plan it’s your job to guide a duo ink-filled creatures (Lil’ and Laarg) through a series of hazardous rooms and ultimately help them escape the clutches of their evil capturer. The game is controlled entirely with the Vita’s touch screen, rear touch panel and sixaxis sensors with the analog sticks merely being used to control the camera.
The most striking thing about Escape Plan is the game’s gorgeous black & white visuals and silent film aesthetics. Fun Bits have created a visual masterpiece and the classical score in conjunction with theatrical sound effects truly compliment the visuals.
As mentioned earlier, the game primarily uses touch and motion controls. You can direct Lil’ or Laarg by swiping the screen, command them to interact with objects by tapping on them, push and pull objects using the rear touch panel/touch screen respectively and much, much more. The game then rewards you with up to three stars at the end of each level based on your completion speed and the amount of gestures you’ve used (the less the better).
Some levels only involve a single character while others have you trying to rescue both simultaneously. As well as being shaped differently, both Lil’ and Laarg have their own unique abilities. Lil’ can drink from coffee machines for a speed boost or siphon gas from pipes for some sixaxis floating. Meanwhile large can crash and butt stomp through boarded up doors and patched up holes in the ground.
Figuring out how to escape each room and realizing solutions for some of the game’s more difficult puzzles will fill you with a great sense of accomplishment. Escape Plan can get very tricky at times and conquering all 78 levels will take roughly half a dozen hours. Trying to earn three stars in each level or some of the more difficult trophies will lengthen your play time significantly but that’s mainly due to the game’s less than stellar controls.
Sometimes getting the characters or interactive objects to perform how you’d like them to is more difficult than the puzzles puzzles themselves. Having to swipe the duo two or three times before they respond is deeply frustrating especially since the game penalizes you for every gesture you make. I also found it difficult to use the Vita’s rear touch panel with the level of precision that the game requires simply because its hard to tell where your fingers are in relation to the screen. Settling for one or two stars when you know in your heart that you could have done better if the controls were tighter is very discouraging and eventually made me stop caring about stars altogether.